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Thread: Making a permaculture food forest

  1. #21
    Jon Muir
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    Don't forget that by growing your own, you are significantly reducing your global footprint.
    Cheers
    Bloffy
    How can I ever get lost when everyone is always telling me where to go?

  2. #22
    Malcolm Douglas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickldo View Post
    Thanks for the reply, not sure I fully understand about the inoculating the seeds with the specific type of Rhizobium bacteria for the species of plant. Can you explain that to me a little bit better or show me a link to an external site?

    I have a few acacias in this garden already but I want to add some more nitrogen fixers.

    Building organic matter is my number one priority right now.

    I originally wanted the annual veges to be in among all the rest but I am thinking that I might add a couple of no-dig raised garden beds to the lawn next to the food forest where it is a bit sunnier. I will run the chicken tractor over the area a few times to prepare it a bit first. The added benefit is it is a bit closer to the house too. Making the veges zone 1 and the food forest zone 2.

    I will still try to cram as many perennial food trees into the food forest though. That list of fruit trees you gave is a small portion of my wish list.
    Rhizobium is the bacteria responsible for nitrogen fixing, it lives in nodules on the plants roots and converts the nitrogen from air particles in the soil into a plant available form of nitrogen.

    Green Harvest includes inoculant with their seed packets but you can purchase it separately if you need to. It consists of a sterile media (usually peat moss) inoculated with the required bacteria, you add this with a bit of agricultural lime and a splash of water in a container to form a wet paste and then you coat the seeds evenly with this mixture (you will need to keep the inoculant refrigerated before use or the bacteria dies).

    You then plant the inoculated seeds as you would normally and the bacteria hopefully survives. Rhizobium prefers an alkaline environment so if you have highly acidic soils it is unlikely for you to have nitrogen fixing unless you correct the soil PH before.
    Last edited by Nomad; 05-09-15 at 02:26 PM.

  3. #23
    Ray Mears

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Forager CQ View Post
    Hi Mate, it seems there are a few of us on the permaculture journey! I have all of the above things on my list to learn about and practice with. There has been a bunch of great info added above. I would also recommend greenharvest as a source for edible plants and seeds.

    My zoning and planning has still got a long way to go, lately though I have been hitting the vege gardening pretty hard and really trialling out things that fit into a few categories for me.*

    - Hard to kill and able to cope without regular watering.

    - Pest and disease resistant.

    - Easy to propagate*

    - Good storage ability with in reason

    - Good calorie in and out options

    Here is a bit of a list that I will be focusing on for now with the above in mind. Interestingly alot of the tropical staples have shone through which makes sense.

    Taro
    Yam
    Cassava
    Jerusalem Artichoke
    Sweet potato
    Yacon
    Pumpkins
    Pidgeon Pea
    Turmeric*
    Kang Kong
    Bok Choy
    Warrigal greens
    Surinam spinach*
    Brazilian spinach
    Okinawa spinach
    Egyption spinach
    Ceylon spinach
    Okra
    Luffa

    Keen to see how everything comes along for you.
    Hi Mate,

    It's going to be a while until I get much in the ground. I have the chook run and chook tractor finished now and have organised to get 10 chooks next weekend. My sister-in-law is a "crazy chook lady" so she is hooking me up with a few fancy ones. I want to get the chook tractor working the soil over for a bit to prepare the soil ready for the garden beds. Once they are done I have a heap of compost ready to go and all the soil out of my old vege garden beds.

    The fish pond is over half way dug. Another week or two and it will be all done. I am going to set up a pump on the pond so it can irrigate the food forest when it is in drought time. Obviously I want it to be self watering by installing swales, etc but until it is established it will need extra watering. The only water source we have apart from this is the rain water tanks on the house. Normally water isn't a problem for us, except for when it drought time and then we just let the garden die. Hopefully having a bit extra in the pond will save the plants during the harshest times, even if the pond level goes down a bit temporarily.

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  5. #24
    Ray Mears

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloffy13 View Post
    Don't forget that by growing your own, you are significantly reducing your global footprint.
    Cheers
    Bloffy
    For me this is one of the most important reasons for doing all this. Also one of the reasons why I am digging the fish pond by hand rather than using a fuel burning machine to do the job.

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  7. #25
    Ray Mears

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendanvz View Post
    Rhizobium is the bacteria responsible for nitrogen fixing, it lives in nodules on the plants roots and converts the nitrogen from air particles in the soil into a plant available form of nitrogen.

    Green Harvest includes inoculant with their seed packets but you can purchase it separately if you need to. It consists of a sterile media (usually peat moss) inoculated with the required bacteria, you add this with a bit of agricultural lime and a splash of water in a container to form a wet paste and then you coat the seeds evenly with this mixture (you will need to keep the inoculant refrigerated before use or the bacteria dies).

    You then plant the inoculated seeds as you would normally and the bacteria hopefully survives. Rhizobium prefers an alkaline environment so if you have highly acidic soils it is unlikely for you to have nitrogen fixing unless you correct the soil PH before.
    It is definitely a case of the more you learn the more you realize what you don't know. Sounds interesting. Your reply has cleared the fog a little for me, thanks for that. I see though that I need to do a lot more research.

    I have been looking at mushroom growing a little bit too. Inoculating logs with the right strains of fungi, etc. Does anyone know if tinder fungus (Chaga) is available in Australia to grow?

  8. #26
    Russell Coight

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickldo View Post
    I have a few acacias in this garden already but I want to add some more nitrogen fixers.
    Gday first post here, I'll be definitely keeping an eye on this thread.

    Trifolium spp (clover) grow at different times of the year depending on the specific sp. Something that i want to establish around my trees (but haven't got around to it yet) that you could apply to your setup is growing Trifolium spp as a ground cover/living mulch and with clever sp selection, you could have year round nitrogen fixing capabilities. I was thinking something like T. repens and T. pratense which gives you one that is more active during the warmer months while the other in the cooler months. The flowers also attract bees and parasitic wasps too which is always a plus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mickldo View Post
    Building organic matter is my number one priority right now.
    One of the things to consider is the weeds you might already have growing in your yard or that you can naturalise yourself.

    I'll use my fruit trees as an example. Like nearly everyone in Australia I have Medicago spp growing all through my yard, mainly arabica and polymorpha. They're in the Fabaceae family (nitrogen fixers) and because they're a "weed", they grow fast without any care (water, extra nutrients) and everytime i slash around my fruit trees, they decompose recycling nutrients and adding to the fertility of my soil and the health of my trees.

    Another weed I have growing around them is Borage (Boragro officinalis) which is a fantastic annual herb. I introduced this plant to my garden by broadcasting seeds I bought and its now naturalised. It self-seeds just like the Medics and requires little attention. It has a wide variety of uses as a companion plant and both the flowers and leaves are edible. The main reason I grow it is because itís a dynamic accumulator of potassium (2nd most used plant nutrient element).

    Those 2 weeds combined with an annual green manure planting of Lupinus alba which is a deep rooted nitrogen fixer that accumulates phosphorus and youíve got your basic N.P.K. generally sorted with little work.

    Cheers. NB

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  10. #27
    Ray Mears

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    Quote Originally Posted by nbear247365 View Post
    Gday first post here, I'll be definitely keeping an eye on this thread.

    Trifolium spp (clover) grow at different times of the year depending on the specific sp. Something that i want to establish around my trees (but haven't got around to it yet) that you could apply to your setup is growing Trifolium spp as a ground cover/living mulch and with clever sp selection, you could have year round nitrogen fixing capabilities. I was thinking something like T. repens and T. pratense which gives you one that is more active during the warmer months while the other in the cooler months. The flowers also attract bees and parasitic wasps too which is always a plus.



    One of the things to consider is the weeds you might already have growing in your yard or that you can naturalise yourself.

    I'll use my fruit trees as an example. Like nearly everyone in Australia I have Medicago spp growing all through my yard, mainly arabica and polymorpha. They're in the Fabaceae family (nitrogen fixers) and because they're a "weed", they grow fast without any care (water, extra nutrients) and everytime i slash around my fruit trees, they decompose recycling nutrients and adding to the fertility of my soil and the health of my trees.

    Another weed I have growing around them is Borage (Boragro officinalis) which is a fantastic annual herb. I introduced this plant to my garden by broadcasting seeds I bought and its now naturalised. It self-seeds just like the Medics and requires little attention. It has a wide variety of uses as a companion plant and both the flowers and leaves are edible. The main reason I grow it is because it’s a dynamic accumulator of potassium (2nd most used plant nutrient element).

    Those 2 weeds combined with an annual green manure planting of Lupinus alba which is a deep rooted nitrogen fixer that accumulates phosphorus and you’ve got your basic N.P.K. generally sorted with little work.

    Cheers. NB
    Hey NB, welcome to the forum. Thanks for the tips. I'll have to look up these species and look into this.

  11. #28
    Ray Mears

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    Update time.

    The fish pond is about 3/4 dug, not far to go now.

    Last weekend we got 6 baby chicks and 6 pullets. They are a mix of breeds, some Silkies, some Pekins, some Frizzles, some Polish and some cross breeds of these. I have the 6 pullets in the swingset/ chicken tractor and the 6 chicks in a box in the bathtub of the spare bathroom. I've only had them a week but they have grown so much already.

    I have also started collecting trees ready to plant out later. The front verandah is starting to fill up!

  12. #29
    Ray Mears

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    Ok. Time to update and old thread. It has been a while since I have been on here, you know life getting in the way and all that, but I'm back and thought I would catch up.

    As I said, life has a way of interrupting plans. Weather, health, family, career, time and money have all played a part but I have been getting back into it all lately.

    I did finally finish the pond. OK, it isn't "finished" as such. The hole has been dug, the pond lined and it has been filled with water. I still need to tidy up around the edges, plant some water plants and stock it with a couple of fish. The birds and frogs love it, so that is a start.

    I planted a heap of trees but the drought/dry spell we had killed quite a few of them. I didn't have any water spare to keep them alive. I have now plumbed in some extra irrigation pipes and we are getting a couple of new water tanks in the near future so hopefully the water issue will be a thing of the past. I built myself a small greenhouse and I have been raising a heap of new trees to plant out.

    My compost heap has come along in leaps and bounds. In the past I always struggled to find enough stuff to put on the heap. That has changed now as the daughter has taken up horse riding and we are currently leasing a horse from the school. I am getting about a wheelbarrow full of manure each week. This combined with sugar cane mulch I put in the chook pen and then gather back up with the chook poo has really kick started the compost. The microbial life in the compost now is unreal and it is breaking down really fast. I am spreading this compost with a lot of mulch out in the food forest area. The trees that did survive the dry spell are now leaping to life. I have also been buying in a bit of mushroom compost from a local guy and spreading it around too.

    The chooks are doing great. A few died and we have breed a few (mostly roosters though, Lol). Currently we have 10 assorted hens, 1 Silky/Frizzle rooster, and 2 new additions a pair of Plymouth Rock pullets. I have the 2 Plymouth Rocks out in the chicken tractor and the rest in the main chook run out the back.

    My plan is to eventually start a agroforestry farm and see if I can make a living from it. That will probably be a long way off and it is long term project anyway but I am making a start getting trees in the ground now so they can start growing. Even if it is only something my daughter gets a benefit from then I think it is still worthwhile. I should have started 20 years ago. I have a few plans for a few ways of making an income off the farm before the major trees grow to maturity way off in the future. For now I just want to start small and slowly expand as I can. I have been doing a lot of research on the subject lately, reading books and the interwebs, talking to people, etc.

    Anyway, that is enough of an update for now.

    Cheers

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