Neal Spackman

Planting Days Are Here! (Al Baydha, Saudi Arabia)

by Neal Spackman This week the project started planting the swales with 1000 very hardy desert trees. The team is working in shifts of laying drip line, digging holes, manuring and mulching swales, putting in compost, planting, mulching again, and then adjusting the drip emitter.

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Al Baydha Water System, Part 1: Flash Floods

by Neal Spackman The most common way to die in the desert is dehydration. The second most common is drowning. Drowning in the desert may seem like an oxymoron, but it illustrates the tricky nature of dealing with water in desert climates; when it rains in a desert, the result is flash floods. Floods form in deserts because of the lack of foliage. In non-arid climates, plants’ root systems aerate […]

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Al Baydha Project, Saudi Arabia: Fence vs. Earth Berm

Editor’s Note: This is an update on the Al Baydha project we introduced here. In order to demonstrate our agricultural system, we need to keep goats, camels, and sheep off the site. Initially we were planning to build a standard chain-link fence, but decided we could do better. Instead, we are putting up a big earth berm — about 2.5 meters tall and between 4 and 5 meters wide, with […]

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