Araucaria's habitat.

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by Curramore1, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Property in decline, lots of citrus dying and deficient (10-15 years old), pasture and blady grass in control. Deco soil with declining OM, dries out hard and fast, bamboo on upper slopes drying out and eating nitrogen in significant areas around them.

    2 hard years, not on-site, can't work out what kangaroo, wallabies, cattle or deer will eat until it's too late. Cattle and deer can't be stopped.

    Planted Choko under lantana thicket on fence, died in the dry. Killed Choko and Comfrey here in Brisbane too in dry (hydrophobic soils) after the rains stopped.

    So far, Casuarina cunninghamiana establishing on eastern boundary, Leucaena not getting head past guards, Acacia fimbriata doing ok, Albizia lebbeck (lost one to frost) growing slowly, Crotalaria grahamiana naturalised and germinating ok if the rain comes.

    Visible stumps in grass from previous owners employing neighbour to cut out trees to make mowing easier, burning all the biomass to keep it clean, no idea what the stumps were. One large Acacia remains, harbours best Citrus and one Olive in its canopy though they are suppressed. Find out that the Acacia also had a target on it (and still does from neighbour), can't point out the obvious.

    Discovered it's easier to work backwards with zones when not on-site, Zone 4 (which is where a lot of my photos stem from of caged trees) is made up of hardy bee fodder natives and sliding back up the hill from there, frost smashed a few which was a long time inbetween. Vetiver goes in wherever I deem un-growable. Planted hardy fruit trees (mostly Acerola cherry cuttings), not really a drop of rain since and lost most. Black Mulberry cuttings constantly hacked back by stray cattle.

    Will try A.fimbriata again, sowed a lot of A.lebbeck, some M.alba cuttings and will try some Hovea acutifolia to fill gaps. Scattered a lot of C.grahamiana seed further than existing range, waiting on rain. Bought some Cajanus inoculant, and rotting in fridge waiting for soil moisture.
     
  2. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    View attachment 2870
    Sounds like a case of progress depression to me. The last couple of years of late or low summer rains have drained us all, lucky we are resilient folk.
    Electric fencing cheapest and most effective way to keep the livestock out. Spray a mix of chook eggs and used vege. oil let go rotten on tree seedlings every couple of weeks stops the cattle and deer from munching. Start small, water storage higher up the hill on drainage lines together with associated swales, key-line or similar ripping and contour banks. Tree guards-I used old 10-100-20 rag truck tyres for mine cut with a chainsaw with a water hose running on the bar to keep the bar cool and the smoke down, then drill holes around the edge of the tyre sidewall and wire in a 1800mm high circle of sheep and lamb or hinge joint wire. Then attach a hot wire to the top, joining the tree guards to the energiser. I will attach a diagram. The energiser is solar powered and the battery has to be changed every 2 years or so. This will work for 100-200 tree guards providing you keep the grass around the tree guards from shorting the mesh. I only plant seed like now when the ground is wet and there is a good chance of follow up rain in a couple of days. I also use coated seed with the inoculant and some fert already around the seed, dearer, but more cost effective in the long run. I have also fed some legume seeds to cattle like Wynn Cassia and Shaw Creeping Vigna in a home-made molasses lick block, some hard seed survives the digestion process and is ready planted in a moist dung pat, trouble is it comes up mainly where the cattle camp to chew their cud, lie down and rest.
    Sounds like a low fertility site, just keep on bringing nutrients in and building up the OM. Third world folk graze animals far and wide and fold them at night to fertilise their soil with nutrients gathered from off farm. Why don't you just shoot or trap the deer and he cattle if the owners will not stop them straying and you have tried all sensible avenues, great fertiliser!. You might just have to fence off the start area and work your way out from there.
    Two years is a relatively short time span, do not be disheartened and try small goals within your overall plan to be achieved first rather than an overall attack on too many fronts? If it makes you feel any better I have been doing this for over 25 years on over 500Ha and in some cases the progress seems very snail pace, the next generation or property owner can carry on if they wish.
    Remember you are suppose to be having fun and enjoying the fruits of your labours, I regularly take a couple of hours off for a dip in the dam or a swim in the surf after doing a hot, dirty mornings work with the family.
     

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  3. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Perhaps being short and succinct appears depressive? Not at all. I love it, I love busting my arse to the point of physical exhaustion and then I will get up and do it again.

    We live and work in Brisbane, family lives on the property. I can't be there every weekend, sometimes months inbetween. I know if I was there every day things would get so much easier, even a 20 second watering can be the difference for a dying plant in a tough spot. I spend my time here, propagating plants for moving up to there, that way I feel like I'm still working on it when I can't make it. I can't capture or even shoo the cattle as I've only ever seen them make an incursion once (I meant shoo and not shoot), they are classed as wild cattle kept by a wild neighbour. Having dry weather means one needs to come up with interesting ideas on how to maintain trees in pots:

    [​IMG]

    I do like the hot tree guards though! That's not something I would install unless I was on property, I did consider just single or double stranding cattle/wallaby height sections and just concentrating in them. Or a chooknet and building a chook tractor for clearing. I took out all the 20 year old fence, recycled the star pickets (and might plant Dragonfruit on the narrow-leaved ironbark corner posts) as it was dead grass and Glycine, swapping for Vetiver as delineations for farm vehicles and slashers to reduce compaction in tree protection zones. Like so:

    [​IMG]


    Planting Vetiver on dry banks:

    [​IMG]


    Growing Tithonia for biomass and Inga for shade, litter and firewood later. You can see my hardy natives in the background with recycled fencing material:

    [​IMG]


    There is good litter in places, though Bamboo tends to take more than it gives to other trees:

    [​IMG]


    And I paid through the nose to mulch a load of Bamboo with a posi but it is great at killing grass:

    [​IMG]


    Without lashing out on irrigation, I just take gambles with planting and will wait till I can be onsite permanently . Tried Wynns inoculated and direct, drought killed it. Cajanus potted up at home, needs full protection from animals but just hanging on planted out, will pick up with the rain.
     
  4. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    I like to read https://www.facebook.com/groups/Regrarians/ , which I suppose is a Facebook for large-scale integrated farmers like you. Doesn't need an account to view.

    The solar links I sent you a while ago stemmed from there reading about not skimping on energisers and making sure it has a high joule output (from memory) to teach the animals that it really will hurt. When the day gets near, solar energisers/pumps/batteries will go to the top of the list.
     
  5. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    S.O.P,
    I use Australian made energisers costing under $500, one per property made by Country electronics at Mudgee brand Thunderbird model MB1750R which power up to 135km and can run off the mains or a battery and can be turned on and off by remote control. They last on average 10 years. The biggest threat is lightning strike , followed by vandalism and theft, but I have IR remote trail cameras set up which email me a picture on my smartphone of the feral animal or human intruder which cost about $200 each and the rechargeable batteries need recharging every 3 months and last about 2 years. Electric fences were the first things I invested money in before doing anything else like planting vegetation. The next was a tractor with a blade and a Yeoman's plough, followed by a chainsaw and surveying gear.
    I never thought of myself as large scale integrated farmer in my dotage, just the same as any other permacultural system, just on a larger scale. Looked up your link and joined the regrarian group, interesting enough. I started with my first rough and remote unpowered 50 acre, largely timbered block at 18 in the late 70's and went from there. Back then I had a revered collection of "Grassroots" magazines, bushcraft books, Yeoman's Water for every farm and other "hippy" tomes and studied ecology at Uni and was very naïve, idealistic and zealous. I first read Bill Mollison's manual in 1988 and my book is one of the first print run of 15000, and remember thinking at the time his overall philosophy a bit too socialist and found his attitudes to land ownership distinctly challenging. I think I have mellowed a bit and have even sold off land, then leased it back to have the cake and eat it too. Still guided by the ethics of Earth care, people care and reduced consumption of resources. Still committed to increased biodiversity and increased forage farming, still caring for surviving natural assemblies and the rehabilitation of degraded land while creating a rather too complex living environment. Even though some of the elements of the farm system are more widely spaced, each still supplies the energy inputs for others. Each farm block is an entity of it's own with it's own zones 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4, and sectors, although some zones 0 and 1 are occupied by other family members, relatives, lessees or caretakers or the owners of the land. Some of the blocks are owned by others and zones 0 and 1 largely occupied by them with me leasing the remainder. Some blocks I have had leased from their resident owners for over 25 years. I suppose that I just have a series of five main sites, my residence in the centre and the others within 15 km, sort of like a cluster or private village , each with a different set of social, physical, soil and climatic conditions. Some are right in town, others 15 km away. All are elevated from 300-500m above sea level and are now well watered, most with one or more creek systems and also with 3 or more large, elevated dams. Some face the NE, some the SW. When one has rain, the other may be dry, one might be flogged by a fire or other weather event, the others unscathed, one may be the main source of hardwood and firewood for the others, another softwoods for harvest and sale. One has native fish placed in the dams for harvesting, another feral deer for hunting. One is set up for residential ecotourism, another has no permanent residence other than an overnight humpy. They are all in different stages of evolution, some in the very early stages, others more advanced. You never really own land, you may have paid for it and possess legal title, we are here for such a short time we are all just in effect really custodians and caretakers. I am preparing now for the transition to some of my children, some nephews and nieces and the children of friends over the next ten years, which may continue the process in their own way. I find that I am concentrating on completing the transition of the farm where I reside mostly, working mainly to increase the integration between zones 2 and 3. It really is a very complicated system overall to manage, but many sites are pretty self regulating by now and I only visit them once every few months, others twice a week. I am really lucky to have an extremely large family which has been here for more than a century, so there is a large support network with a gazillion "cousins" which are really the children of my mother's cousins etc. My Mum alone had over 200 first cousins here. Lucky we have TV and electricity Huh. I may not have a great deal of direct monetary wealth to show for it, but I would not exchange it for millions of dollars, you can't take cash with you when you are dead can you?
     
  6. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Assorted plant curiosities of the spring

    Coffee in flower View attachment 2872 Just finished harvest and in flower already, wonderful scent
    Natural pot plant in old tree stump View attachment 2871 Rose gum or a Sydney Blue Gum E.saligna or an E.grandis self seeded in old rose gum/blue gum stump
    Queensland lace flower in bloom View attachment 2873 In the bottle tree family, velvet like flowers. Brachychiton discolor
     
  7. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    That's helpful, I'll have a look later. I think the ones I saw recommended were a brand and a re-branded copy called Speedrite (can't remember the name of the copy or if Speedrite is the copy).

    https://www.thefarmstore.com.au/ani...e-3000-unigizer-mains-solar-battery-energiser

    Thanks for the history lesson and the insight in how you manage, I don't suppose that there is any spot in that area of the world that you haven't gazed upon. And to others, this isn't the first history lesson that Curramore has given me, the previous based upon a series of photos I took on a farm during a random visit.

    I suppose animals are the key to managing large (or even small spaces) efficiently and will definitely try and manage to squeeze them in on the small scale. Water is partially covered with 2 large dams just off the property, a reticulated water supply and tanks. I will increase the capacity of the tanks, perhaps with an inground concrete or similar later on. Applying that water to the soil is the difficult part for me. I don't have the family, the sons, or the help so I am glad to keep it to a micro-scale. Perhaps I should have been born into a different family as I can't shake the interest. Not enough time in the day to learn everything.

    The place here was an ex-permaculture property but following management took it from food forest to pasture and strips of dying trees. Remnants of swales slumped over, stumps, tumeric, galangal, comfrey, ginger, arrowroot push up through the grass in full sun places until the brush turkeys found the arrowroots and destroyed them all.


    I hope that all your legacy continues on in a manner befitting the manner you intended.
     
  8. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Just wondering if anyone has any more of these lying around?
    I am also looking for another Billabong hydraulic ram pump, or better still a Glockemann pump?
    View attachment 2877 Another old dinosaur!
    Old piston pump Forrers 5"x5" made in Ipswich, Queensland mid last century, has sat out in the open for over 60 years already, coupled to a Lister ST1 single cylinder diesel circa 1970. Motor and pump refurbished in the shed on the recent hot days. Weighs an absolute tonne but pushes 6000L of water an hour through a 50mm delivery pipe 600m and uphill 70 metres and uses 1 litre of diesel an hour roughly. This dam and setup is my 2nd backup in the drought weather and for fire prevention water storage. I never thought I would need it. Works like a charm, will have to pour a slab to sit it on and a roof to keep out the sun and the rain.
     
  9. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Billabong Hydraulic Ram pump

    View attachment 2878 This is a Billabong Ram pump, Australian made, I think from the early 1900's to the 70's. Made in various sizes, this is a number 6. It works by the downward fall of water on the 50mm upside entering the pump, compressing the air in the chamber which causes the shutting of a valve and a "water hammer" effect and valves push water from the pump out the delivery pipe. Cycles about one per second, a bit noisy and only about 5-10% efficient, but pumps water for free with the energy coming from the gravitational energy of the water falling above it, just need flowing water and a few metres of fall. I have taken this one out for a clean, a paint job and a rubber gasket replacement as the creek has ceased flowing in the dry. Last time I had to service this one was on 2006 and only had to restart the clack valve twice in that time. If you see one anyplace, please pm me.
     
  10. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Keyline ploughing and legume seeding

    View attachment 2886 The long range rain forecast for the summer here is less than a quarter of the normal wet season falls here, we've now had about 70mm all up over the past three weeks or so of the 120mm predicted, so using the Yeoman's plough to reduce runoff down the gullies and redirect it to the ridges to allow more infiltration, plus planting coated and inoculated Wynn cassia, Shaw creeping Vigna and chicory at the same time into the 350mm deep rip lines. Normally I would be hesitant to do this as if we received our normal 1000mm or so over the summer as we would possibly end up with a mass earth movement. After many months of hot, dry weather it is good to see the dung beetles working their tails off as well. I am also planting at 3 metres or so spacing along the keyline every 30 metres elevation a triple row of mixed Pittosporum undulatum and rhombifolium, Diploglottis australis, Illawarra Flame tree, Queensland lacebark, Stenocarpus sinuatis, Kurrajong, Macadamias, Harpullia pendula, Podocarpus elatus, ( locally occurring natives, grown from seed of the property), plus some Inga edulus, black mulberry, Carob and a few Chestnuts and English Oaks as the foreigners, that is when we get a few more showers of rain to make survival more likely. Have nearly finished fencing them off to allow establishment for a year or two. View attachment 2885
     

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  11. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i'm so glad to see something green and growing this time of year. : ) i sure hope your plans go well and all of those trees survive. do you spot water them during the dry season?
     
  12. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi Songbird,

    No extra water, they will have to establish in the wet season such as it is and they will be heavily manure plus straw mulched from the residues that the beef weaners currently are leaving in the yards as well after planting, then it's just a matter of keeping the competition of other plants and the bloody kangaroos, wallabies, hares, feral deer, wild pigs and my livestock at bay through the dry winter and spring. Most are native species propagated from seed of remnant trees on the place, so they are not so hard to establish. Probably the biggest problem is that the predicted poor wet season follows a very dry winter and hot spring with no moisture profile in the soil and I would normally have done this in October with the first storms, so the seedlings in tubes are getting a bit pot bound and some are probably J rooting now.
     
  13. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    does it help to trim the roots?

    the mulch will help. : )

    i agree that natives should mostly do ok, but with severe drought i would hate to lose all the trees and would probably break down and spot water some of them.

    we have deer, groundhogs and rabbits here (along with many other critters, but those are the most persistent herbivores that we put up fencing to exclude from the gardens and some of the other trees) so i know how much fun it can be to try to get desired plants past the "too tempting" stage.

    piling brush around seedlings so the animals have a challenge to get to them does help and is better than nothing. poking sharp sticks in the ground, putting rocks around far enough away that the deer have a hard time walking or standing, etc.

    every day i wish we had wolves back.
     
  14. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Thanks for your reply Songbird,

    The deer are not too much of a problem, when they appear I generally make up a rotten egg spray solution made of vege oil and old hen eggs and spray the foliage, they won't eat it then! Hares I generally spotlight at night and shoot them and put split 100mm poly aggregate pipe or tinfoil around the trees they really like to gnaw like Flindersia australis or Crow's ash. Also there is 10000Volt electric fencing wires around the perimeter at 150mm and 900 mm off the ground. It would take me all day and half the night to water a couple of hundred trees every year, the deep straw mulch is the secret. I just replant if they are a no go, generally get about a 90% survival rate to 2 years. I don't even water the fruit trees unless we haven't had rain for a couple of months, even then only once or twice, just mulch them deeply with sheep manure and the lucerne hay litter from the cattle yards after weaning twice a year in the late spring and late autumn and when I mow in the summer, the pinto peanut and grass growing between the rows and gets side thrown under the canopy.
    We have more than enough wild dogs and feral foxes here, but they are no match for a red deer or a mature feral pig. Every year we lose about a dozen calves and fifty or so sheep to the wild dogs, also the wallaby population is in inverse proportion to the wild dog numbers, but you hardly see a bandicoot, possum, red-necked wallaby or a swamp wallaby here now, before the recent wild dog population explosion and the dry weather were here they were in moderate numbers and did little damage and were very welcome in this district. Believe me, you do not want the wolves back Songbird! I even saw a wild dog pup in town in the grounds of the local High School last Friday raiding the scrap bins they are that bad.
     
  15. Frank Woolf

    Frank Woolf Junior Member

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    Curramore1, You seem to be growing a lot of the same and similar things to me like coffee but also growing things I seriously doubt would grow here like rhubarb. Do you have a chill season or cold winter there? The temperatures here don't change a lot all year round.
     
  16. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi Frank,
    we definitely have a cool season. The December to February period here is when we usually get some monsoonal influence from the North with cyclone years bringing low pressure systems that can dump up to a metre or two of rain, minimums 20 C max 33 C with high humidity and lots of overcast and Northerly winds, followed by autumn where the rain generally eases to drizzly showers right through until the end of May, early June Min 12 C max 25C, then the showers decrease in frequency and then dry weather July to late September with dry, cold South westerly winds up to 75 km/hr for periods of days in August and early September min 6 C max 18 C minus wind chill factor. I am too high up with too much air movement to frost in winter, though the lower gullies and pockets may get 10-20 mild frosts a year. The dry Spring warms up with warm NW winds with early season storms electrical, sometimes with hail, but little rain volume. These increase in frequency through late October into November with min 15 C max 30 C with exceptions, associated with heavier storm rains until the system of low pressure systems kick in over Christmas. Average annual fall here is 2100mm, mostly in mid-late summer, early autumn, easing up to Easter. You have a more tropical climate than here I assume with greater monsoonal influences. Have the big rains and winds affected you very much?
     
  17. Frank Woolf

    Frank Woolf Junior Member

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    Your climate is much cooler than mine. Your hottest is close to our coldest. Most of the year our days are 30C and sunny with nights between 20c and 25C and more often than not thunderstorms. Mostly we get little to no wind. December to February get cooler with light winds and daytime temps at around 25C and night time down to maybe 15C. Still with most rain at night.

    For the last three years we have had very heavy rain most nights and some days with just occasional dry periods of about a week with no rain but I am expecting a drought period of unknown length. We used to have definite wet and dry seasons but its all unpredictable now. I have just about perfected our excessive water management systems. Now I am preparing for drought.

    When I saw you were growing coffee, and other things I grow, along with rhubarb that I serious doubt I can grow I got really interested thinking maybe I can grow more things I miss since I left the UK over 40 years ago. I am very fortunate that our climate allows me to grow a very wide range of fruit and veggies all year round but I do miss some things from the UK temperate climate.
     
  18. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Just have to make the most of what you have I suppose. I wish that pawpaw, pineapple and mangoes would grow better here and that I had enough chill hours to grow some temperate fruits and berries, and that at times a more meditt. climate would be good, but you can't have it all. I am really lucky climatically and have a sub-tropical climate with a temperate edge, so many things do well here with little watering and no frosts.
     
  19. Frank Woolf

    Frank Woolf Junior Member

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    I agree. I too am lucky where I am to be able to grow all year round almost everything that will grow here. Also I am fortunate that at our altitude I can grow everything that grows at sea level plus a lot of things that will only grow higher up. I do grow a lot of temperate climate veggies but anything that needs a chill period will not bear fruit.
     
  20. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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