Too much land (for now..)

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by hagiography, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    kmob, sounds like you've been there!!

    I've never heard of Kakabeak, and I looked it up, only found in New Zealand! *cries* It is beautiful, and fixes nitrogen! *cries again* :)
     
  2. kmob

    kmob Junior Member

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    Hehe, well yes choosing land for this sort of thing is a bit of a mine field. My land is far from ideal (long narrow strip along one side of a steep to overhanging gully totally about 9.5 acres) but it was a good compromise between all the conflicting factors:)

    NZ is a bit lacking in (native) Nitrogen fixers, there's about four genera of native legumes here: Sophora (Kowhai), Carmichaelia (NZ Broom), Clianthus (Kakabeak) and Montigena (Scree pea) and a few other non-legume species with Actinorhizal associations. But none that are real standouts, the Kowhai is beautiful but poisonous, the NZ brooms aren't very fast growing (thinking of cut and drop) and none are edible. That said I've gone for some of the larger flowering brooms (Carmichaelia williamsii) and Kakabeak (Clianthus puniceus) as intercropping Nitrogen fixers. They look pretty good (especially the Kakabeak) and are bee attractants also some of these are actually quite rare in the wild here so it’s nice to increase the population some.

    I'm pretty sure Kakabeak is available outside of NZ, as I think Kew Gardens in the UK has some. :) oh and there's a white "sport" of the Kakabeak available too (they're usually red).

    Cheers.
     
  3. hagiography

    hagiography Junior Member

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    I'm not too concerned about where it would be. The appeal of the property and the feasibility of living there over and above that, are my current criteria. I've been looking at properties in the far north, and down to Canterbury.

    Yes, research in this area is a pain in the arse. When I was looking at properties in the far north, the first step was to check out what the general soil type in the area on an awkward 90's web map. Then there's the less awkward water level map that's online. And then there are the council web sites where you have to dig through numerous documents written in confusing ways. The whole process is interesting in a more challenging than it needs to be kind of way :)

    I did quite a bit of research about the far north, including council bylaws and what-not. Number of chickens before you need a resource consent, can your neighbours see your solar panels, can you cut down the native bush..

    Kakabeak sounds like a good tip. I'll keep these things in mind.

    Cheers.
     
  4. hagiography

    hagiography Junior Member

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    How would you go about planting these things, if you have a paddock which looks to be packed dirt with long grass cover mixed with dock and thistle?

    And do you know anyone who has eaten the Karabeak seed pods? I see lots of reports about them being human edible... but it's all people just making filler blog posts with no first hand knowledge.
     
  5. kmob

    kmob Junior Member

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    This is always a problem you'll read a lot about sheet mulching and there are loads of other ways (spraying, tilling, mowing etc) all with drawbacks and benefits. But it will come down to how much time you have and how much money you have. You could get the whole field tilled then sowed with lucerne, or you could start like Martin Crawford did (UK food forest pioneer) with small "islands" and gradually extend them as time/money allows until they join together.

    I'm going for the island method around my fruit trees.

    But there's no easy answer here. But do start, pick somewhere close to the house (think zone 1 type idea) and start planting.


    I've got a copy of Andrew Crowe's (excellent and surprisingly funny to read too!) "A Field Guide to the Native Edible Plants of New Zealand" - though for the life of me I can't find it right now, but I'm pretty certain he doesn't mention them. However they are rare in the wild. I'd err on the side of not eating them until there was some more certainty!
     
  6. hagiography

    hagiography Junior Member

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    This book and Simply Living by Gwen Skinner are sitting less than a meter away from me. :) Neither have index entries for kakabeak, or "clianthus maximus", unfortunately.

    The island idea I hadn't heard of, I'll check it out some more. It sounds like a realistic approach.
     

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