Observation practice, join in!!

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Pakanohida, May 31, 2013.

  1. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    When was the last time you practiced observing in the garden? Well, let's remember to practice. :) POST 1 OBSERVATION ABOUT YOUR PERMACULTURE & PLEASE LIST WHAT CLIMATE TYPE YOU ARE IN. Example:


    Redheaded Woodpeckers make mulch out of downed logs while eating. -Temperate Rainforest.

    Beetles kill slugs dead - Temperate Rainforest.
     
  2. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    When it rains, it pours.
     
  3. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    What geographical climate is that Grahame?
     
  4. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    The other day I was looking at the edge between a lake and the land. Many edges actually, in bands. The one that interested me was where the small green plants were growing - watercress in particular. They seemed to be optimally place to take the best advantage of the water and the shelter provided by the next band of plants (bracken, tutu etc). The shelter will be from both intense sun in the summer and hard frosts in the winter, but still with close access to the water. The number of species in this band was obviously higher than the bands either side.
     
  5. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Location:
    Curramore, Blackall Range, S E Queensland, Aust.
    Climate:
    Sub-tropical to temperate 2000mm rain, elevated 350-475m
    Straw-necked ibis and cattle egrets in the pastures here at this time of year as the day length approaches the winter solstice thingo in a fortnight or so, with overcast days and misty nights, low clouds drifting through around me now at ground level at 470 metres ASL, a couple of mm of drizzle each day. The birds are chasing army worm hotspots in the pastures and feeding up before they head north to warmer climes for a few months. The deciduous, native, sub-tropical trees like red cedars (Toona ciliata) and native tamarinds (Diploglottis australis) are beginning to yellow with a few leaves falling as the winter south-westerlies, which arrive now and leave in September replace the normal, milder SE winds. The Plum Pine ( Podocarpus elatus) fruits have all fallen and deeply litter the ground to be scattered by all the half grown scrub turkeys hatched in the summer. The grasses have all set seed, most of which is mature. The pacific black ducks and wood ducks can be seen along the edges of the dams stripping the seeds. We have a few vagrant hardhead ducks with a dark brown body and bright blue eyes in the deeper dams diving for water bugs, shrimps, crayfish and small mussels. These latter species are only seen here when it is very, very dry in western and north western Queensland. The last time was in 1990 here.
    The late season pumpkin vines and other cucurbits have died off and their fruit ready to store away for the winter. Pecan nuts and Macadamias shedding, but much being shared with hungry Sulphur-crested and Yellow-tailed black cockatoos and Yellow-footed antechinus. The feral rat populations have boomed accordingly so live capture and water traps have to be emptied out almost daily.
    In the orchard the leaf eating Lepidoptera larvae and leaf miners are lessening, while mealy bugs on the custard apples and wax scales and sooty mould on the citrus are increasing as their fruit fully colours up and finally sweetens as the weather cools. The avocados have lost most of their leaves and are laden with fruit, now ready to pick and to ripen.
    Climatic description: Subtropical region with temperate climate influence due to elevation. 2000 mm rain average, dry late winter-spring, Dec Jan Feb heavy rain monsoonal influence. 30 km inland from ocean. Red lateritic volcanic loam soil, with some remnant Wet schlerophyll forest, some sub-trop. vine forest and drier schlerophyll forest on aged metamorphics and plutonic volcanic granites. NE aspect on gently to steeply undulating topography.
     
  6. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    Groovy man!

    The cows here are free roming at the moment, the majority of 50 acres is open for them to graze. The herd is 20 at the moment, and the pasture is about as bad shape as this region would have. Heavily over grazed for the last two years, organic by default. But its cool to see them graze on bigger paddocks.

    O'Reillys Guest House, in the Gold Coast hinterland, had designed a whole heap of walking trails by the original pioneers of this property, neighbouring the Border Ranges National Park. He noticed that cattle generally dont walk up a steeper grade than 1:10, given the choice.

    The cattle here tend to do group sweeps of a paddock, in formation, across the contours. That seems to be their feeding pattern when they are really going for it in a new area. Then they tend to browse randomly for a bit till they settle in to chew the cud. 2pm is a constant, mornings around 10am but that does vary a bit. And if they are around the shed for any reason, they are chomping down at stupid oclock in the early morning.

    Because of the lack of management, whereever traffic is concentrated the slope really is no more than 1:10, sometimes quite neatly off contour. But generally the paths concentrate to the valleys and not the ridge... downhill that is. Lazy buggers!
     
  7. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    Monarch butterflies left some eggs on their way north. I have 20+ caterpillars and 3 chrysalis(that I can see), and my 6 milkweed plants are leafless. Those caterpillars sure do grow quickly too. Also the heirloom tomato cultivar that I hope to naturalize has finally flowered. I just hope I get something out of them since they are Amish paste and obviously intended for cooler climates. Even one early tomato could yield a second or maybe even 3rd generation this year, cutting down my time to naturalize it. I think something ate all my pepper plants since I see none that I planted. However, I have at least 2 jalapeno plants growing in the holes of the cinder block walls of the raised beds. These holes were filled about half way with lava rocks that I dug up from the soil while leveling. I'm assuming that the holes are trapping wind-blown nutrients since the plants are doing rather well.

    The trees next to the chicken coop aren't doing as well as I'd hoped, while the grapes and raspberries are doing very well. 2 of my chickens also seem to enjoy pecking at the banana plants. 6'+ tall sunflower plants don't do well in a wind storm of 60+ mph. Windbreaks can be difficult to make in a small suburban landscape, but I might have to look further in to it, though I suspect my bamboo will help when it finally grows out in a year or two.

    The corn that I planted in a bed with a lot of composted chicken manure are doing better than the other corn plants. Both were planted with beans and are doing better than corn that I planted by itself last year. Speaking of grains, I can grow oats easily enough. Now I just need to learn how to process them(I just cut them down and used them as mulch while letting the chickens pick through it).

    Since summer is here, big time, most of what I do in the garden is observe because of the heat!

    Southeastern Louisiana, warm and humid subtropics(zone 9a).
     
  8. juhill

    juhill Junior Member

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    The biggest observation I’ve made is everything is confused including me…
    We haven’t had the frosts we usually get usually we’d have had 6weeks of them by now, so the grass is still green and growing, some of the native grasses in the back paddock have started drying out I know this because there have been flocks of Budgerigars there along with Double-bar finches. The Tipuana have stacks of leaf right now usually bare branches at this time of year but the Galahs and Cockatoos are happily munching the seeds.
    Some of the fruit trees have blossom mainly a peach and plum, the buds are swelling on the apricots. Mulberries still have leaves, the Arrowroot is green and Cannas are still flowering. There are self seeded tomatoes coming up along with some missed potatoes.
    We’ve had some plentiful rain the past few years and the wallabies have bred up not unusual to see a dozen or two of an evening and if the wallabies are anything to go by they know that the rain will keep on for a bit more as the girls have a joey at foot and another in the pouch… in the drought we didn’t see any joeys.
     
  9. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    I thought i'd do a bit of an experiment on two rows of tomatoes I have growing, with a weed tea made up of Wild Tobacco (Solanum mauritianum). This tea, according to John Priestley helps unlock phosphorus in the soil. So at flowering time, I have done regular spraying of a diluted weed tea made solely of wild tobacco on one row and left the other as a "control". There is no signs of phosphorus deficiency in either rows, but the one that hasnt had the treatment has developed blossom end rot in some plants, whereas the treated row has escaped the malady. Research tells me blossom end rot is caused by inadequate or over-watering. There is some conclusions that phosphorus balancing can help avoid BER. Or was I just lucky?
     
  10. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi all,
    could it be that the S. Mauritianum tea contains tannins or phenolic compounds or similar which as a tea inhibit fungal growth ? Usually you might be worried that using other solanaceous plants as a tea may promote virals eg. tobacco mosaic virus and other fungals. In some plants, quote. Does this mean that the treated plants showed no sign of disease? Is the sample size big enough and the variables narrow enough to reach a realistic conclusion? I do not imagine that the P thingo has a lot to do with it speaking from experience, not from evidence or scientific research in this situation. Blossom end rot is a fungal disease with many environmental factors involved in it's biology. Cheers, Steve.
     
  11. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    Didnt know about the fungal inhibitors, and didnt think of the crossing of viruses, Steve! Cheers for that!

    It was there so I used it.

    It doesnt seem all that conclusive as to what causes BER, but both rows where treated the same with calcium, compost and mulching... I did however not train the "experiment plot" as well as the other because earlier on that was my experiment, which would grow better trellising, and which left to its own devices near a trellis. Oh im a terrible scientist, so no, the variables arent low enough. But suffice to say that trellising and tobacco weed tea does better than nought!
     
  12. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    Come to think of it... I should be planting on the southern side of the trellis here in Australia, because the plants reach north to the sun. Planted out all the tomatoes on the southern (downhill) side.

    Win!
     
  13. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    https://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/3000/3117.html

    While blossom-end rot is caused by a parasitic organism, calcium deficiency is the real culprit.

    And yes, I'd be worried about tobacco mosaic virus too since they are both solanaceaes, unless the processing of the tea kills the virus(boiling maybe? or does the curing process of the chewing tobacco kill off the virus?). I wasn't able to find any real information to back this up(tobacco mosaic virus doesn't JUST affect nightshades either https://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/dg1168.html).
     
  14. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    The Solanum mauritianum that I used was healthy, and I used the tea as a soil drench since I heard the effects of the weed tea were to invigorate the Phosphorus loving organisms in the soil.
     
  15. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    ugh..harsh lesson.

    Alarm clock wakes me & eldest chicken. Chicken wakes adolescent chickens & ducks to the point of antici----------------------pation of me opening the gate for them to go out.
     
  16. jacks

    jacks Junior Member

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    Hi Matto,
    I like the experiment. It's good you have that control row as well.
    How does the tea unlock the phos? Just altering pH?
    Wild tobacco (being the same family as the toms) couldn't pass disease on from the wild plants(just saying)or maybe this could work in some positive way?
    I thought B.E.R was from irregular watering (causing stress) or a boron defiency?
    Maybe adequate phos makes boron more readily available?
    Did both rows get even watering and use the same soil?
    Do you commonly see a phos defiency in your toms?
    Sorry about all the Q's (just interested).
     
  17. void_genesis

    void_genesis Junior Member

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    I just finished a crop of pumpkins that I tried growing in a different way. I had a lot of twiggy/leafy prunings from my flower gardens and decided to make one large pile of them. I layered a small amount of dirt and chicken manure through the pile as it grew. Then I sowed pumpkin seeds on the side of the pile so they could grow up and over the pile. The crop was decent and the plants grew well through a fairly wet summer (though I have had better on piles of more thoroughly buried manure). The pile made a relatively weed free space for the vines to dominate too. The organic matter has partially composted down into a leafmould type material. At some stage I will be moving the remaining organic matter to the next bed (probably place it on top of this year's prunings to kick start the decomposition).

    The other experiment in the veggie garden has been in selective weeding. I noticed when grass gets hold it creates dense clumps that are difficult to remove again, while most of the broadleaf weeds are soft and easy to hoe down. On this basis I decided to start weeding to eliminate the grasses (removed and killed) but broadleaf weeds that were soft and low growing were to be only knocked back with the hoe but not killed outright. The process has gone well in some ways- the grasses are getting very rare in the veggie patch and a mix of low soft growing weeds has formed a nice carpet. I can hoe through the veggie garden in about an hour for a 100 m2 space every fortnight. The worm activity also seems to be increasing (more than observed in previous green manure crops). The slashed weeds make an excellent addition to the compost heap. The veggie crops got off to a reasonably good start when I was keeping the competing soft weed carpet down, but I have been too distracted by other jobs lately to keep hoeing regularly, and the veggies are growing at a painfully slow pace despite getting generous application of liquid manures. The kale has been particularly affected by the competition, growing at about half the usual rate/size.
     

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