No more desert for you!

Would it be possible to get rid of deserts?
Somehow make it land productive to growing plants?

If you irrigated the Mojave, it’d grow stuff - it’s very fertile. I’m not you’d want to - I bet it’d be bad ecologically, but that’s not the question you asked.

Most deserts, though, I bet that wouldn’t work - they’re sand with not much else. Stuff doesn’t grow in sand so well.

Global warming may eventually get rid of the Antarctic deserts.

Interesting question. Desert sand is virtually devoid of organic matter. A major component of “soil” is organic matter. Without organic matter, plants cannot get the nutrients they need to flourish (e.g., nitrogen, organic carbon, etc.). It would take hundreds, if not thousands of years to transform desert sand into soil fit to grow crops.

Overworking the soil can turn an area into a dustbowl - the soil is stripped of organic matter, leaving little but dead dirt behind.

Cultivatible soil in an otherwise sandy environment is usually found around floodplains, like those bordering the Nile. Crops can be planted and harvested after the yearly floods because of the influx of organic materials in the river silt, but that thin layer of soil is exhausted after one planting. Over the thousands of years the narrow strips of land bordering the Nile have been cultivated, the land remains mostly sand.

I am a desert lover and I do not consider them in the least to be wasteland. I am strongly pro-preservation of these beautiful and ecologically rich systems. Turning them all into farmland is not a good idea IMHO.

Note that the intermountain western US where I hail from looks quite different from 150+years ago due to overgrazing. Humans tend to make deserts worse rather than better.

Not to mention the devastating effect it would have on the weather system of the whole planet if you got rid of such a large air heater as the Sahara.

What would happen to the weather, then, were there all farmlands and no deserts?

Well, the question is really what would happen were someone to suddenly, over several years or tens of years, get rid of major deserts. In answer to the question you asked. I don’t think there would be much difference as the air currents would be settled, but if you were to remove a desert already in existence the effect would be catastrophic. Take the Sahara for instance. Were it to suddely vanish or drastically decrease in size, its reflective solar properties would go with it. That area would have a climate similar to other areas at that latitude. The desert climate would no longer be sucking moisture out of the air over the Atlantic and, due to thermal updrafts, jetting it up where the jetstream can catch it and dump it on the cooler latitudes to the north. i.e. the UK, Britain, Ireland, etc. . .
More globally speaking, air is constantly being cycled from the surrounding areas into the desert where it is heated and rises to the stratosphere where it circulates over the whole globe, thereby stirring weather patterns everywhere.

Irrigation Guy checking in here.

One major problem with desert irrigation is salt build up in the soil. Water used for irrigation contains a small amount of dissolved salts. When the water evaporates the salt is left behind in the soil. For the first few years this is usually not a problem, but it adds up over time.

Leaching the salts out with large amounts of water is the “cure”.