What I've done recently.

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by S.O.P, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

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    That made me cry real tears.
    I'm not sure what to say ...
    Thank you, & I'm terribly flattered to be compared to any aspect of you - let alone your heart!
     
  2. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Harvesting Willow for rooting hormone from Angelo's article. Chickens ate their fill on the leaves:

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  3. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

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    Thanks! I have plans to try rootings come spring and this information will come in handy. :)
     
  4. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Pruning the only thing that is growing in probably the most disgusting weather I have ever experienced. The last storm missed us and we are really struggling now. The grass is green because I'm letting the street down by not mowing for the past 3 months (forgoing my societal requirements):

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  5. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    3/4 of half the worm bathtub, mixed with Baz's biochar (mixed as bedding, not afterwards). Silt on the left, hence the jelly-like consistency:

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  6. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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  7. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    My favourite thing to do, trying different methods of Vetiver propagation. In the first picture, you can see differing tillers doing different things. A single tiller on the left putting out roots (these need to be planted with other single tillers or a double to ensure survival). A multi-group of tillers putting on long root growth. And a double tiller just putting on new shoots and barely any root growth. Interestingly enough, the double tiller adding more new tillers reflects this study (https://www.journal.au.edu/au_techno/2008/jan08/journal113_article09.pdf) that theorises 2 tillers are better than 3:

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    And this is how they are being grown. The air pump is superfluous as I've grown them in a still body of water (one of those clam shells) just fine. The water is the soil the clump was originally in, a splash of seaweed and Charlie Carp:

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  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    You really can grow vetiver in dirty water after all!
     
  9. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Building garden beds on the drier, compacted easement. Vetiver for mulch and to catch any excess water (doubtful). This will be a primarily Moringa bed (not planted yet). Planted are 20 Leucaena and probably 25 Pigeon Pea. The Vetiver that stick out are on contour and add more "edge" for mulch creation (and that hole in one of the photos has been filled with more Vetiver). Hot day today so I nearly died planting (not wise to plant in that temp but Leucaena and Pigeon Pea wouldn't care). Mulch is from the turkey's nest and some weeds:

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    And a quick fence to stop the Wallabies/Kangaroos. Not my finest work but not bad for 20 minutes either. Note the one panel that is in the Vetiver (it's temporary):

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    New Vetiver running down the hill to keep vehicles off the Jaboticaba TPZ (Tree Protection Zone - Arboricultural term):

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    Vetiver hedged a couple of weeks ago:

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    Leucaena have shot up, over 8ft now. Not bad for an October planting that has had barely any rain:

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    Mostly native bee planting with a Vetiver hedge. Added a heap of bare root Vetiver plants to this so it's slowly creeping along. The plan is to have the Vetiver shaded out by the end and will replace with Lomandra:

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    Will become a twin row of Vetiver to retain a small steep bank. Planted a couple of weeks ago:

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    Two photos of dry periods. Before the 2013 Jan rain (probably taken in Nov/Dec 2012) and this year before any rain. Mostly Popcorn Cassia, some Leucaena and 3 White Mulberry. Residents are cheating on the Comfrey watering though:

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    And a Black Mulberry comparo. Jan 5 to Feb 14:

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  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Looking great! It was a stinker today wasn't it? Here's hoping that there's some actual run off sometime before Easter….
     
  11. altamira55

    altamira55 Junior Member

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    Vetiver Propagation

    It's really interesting to see the various areas where you're using vetiver. I have difficulties with pocket gophers in my sandy soil. They are especially fond of asparagus and don't like to eat or even nibble on vetiver. The vetiver's roots extend down below the gopher tunnels, so I'm going to try surrounding a new asparagus bed with vetiver. Since it will take the vetiver a while to fill in, I'll start the asparagus crowns off in poultry wire cages. I have to plant all trees and perennials in cages and hope that the root system grows large enough to tolerate some gopher pruning by the time the wire rusts away. So anyway, the plan for the asparagus is for the vetiver to make a solid barrier of roots surrounding the asparagus bed by the time the wire cages rust out.

    Vetiver doesn't seem to mind being cut back, so I can cut it back on south (sun) side in early spring when I want the asparagus bed to warm up.

    I propagate vetiver by always keeping some in containers and periodically dividing it. That way, I always have plenty of plants ready when I need them. We had an unusually cold winter this year. The vetiver that's planted in the ground is fine, but the plants in containers suffered. I should have moved them into a warmer area on the nights when it got cold. However, even though the tops look quite dead, there is still life in the roots. In the pic below, you can just see a tiny bit of healthy green coming up from the roots.

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  12. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    How cold did you get? Full death on the top and a crown revival? You believe the in-ground plants were better insulated against temperature extremes? I tend to gloss over temperature extremes with Vetiver as I live in what is usually a fairly mild climate. We have a long Winter lack of growth but no die-back (purple stems and leaf indicating cold). This year, no rain but the Vetiver is still growing.

    My areas are fairly basic, what amazes me are the mountains or stone they cover in developing countries. I just feel that I'd rather use a plant with a deep, non-interfering root system that is storing large amounts of carbon as opposed to a drought-finnicky pasture grass in areas where I don't need a pasture grass.

    As I've learnt, to get the most from your specific grass species such as Bamboo and Vetiver, regular maintenance is key to prevent fire risk or awkwardness in reduction or management.

    One of my Vetiver hedges on the footpath easement:

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    And cut down as absolutely low as I could get it for fence installation and it's growing back:

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    Hint: Remove the l before the .jpg to get full-size on those photos.
     
  13. altamira55

    altamira55 Junior Member

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    Vetiver

    I'd guess it got down to around 28F (-2C) at my home in San Antonio, which is on a south (sun)-facing slope that stays warmer than the region in general. At the country place it went down below 20F, probably to something like -7 or -8C, and the vetiver in the ground is fine there, as well. There is frost damage on top, about 1/2 die-back of the tops, but still plenty of healthy green. It's been there for years, suffers frost damage on top each year, but always fully recovers. I give it no help at all. It catches its own nutrients, finds its own water.

    I think the reason the tops of the vetiver plants stay healthy even when the air freezes is that the plants themselves create a micro-climate around themselves. The reason the container plants died on top is that they were too small to create a sizable microclimate, but it didn't stay below freezing long enough to feeze the soil in the containers and kill the crowns. These plants are tough! Mine have survived freezing temperatures, droughts, floods, searing summertime temps 100+F day after day. Vetiver ranks right up there with mesquite in my list of Most Loved Plants.

    Another thing I use the container vetiver plants for is the fragrant roots. It's so much easier to harvest the roots when they're in containers than to dig them out of the ground.

    In both the city and country locations I'm using vetiver to stablize slopes. My house in San Antonio is built on a gentle but pronounced slope (2% - 3%) and when we bought the house there had been a problem with water running under the house during heavy rain storms (the foundation is pier and timber). The engineers recommended putting in French drains, but instead I sloped the land away from the house for a distance of about 15 feet and made berms about 2 feet high to catch the water running down the slope toward the house. The vetiver stabilzes the berms and slows the water flow enough for it to soak into the ground (the soil is silty with good water absorption). In addition to stabilizing the berm, the vetiver makes a very beautiful privacy screen. It's working very well -- no more water running under the house, and the 15 foot area of slope away from the house has remained stable during the 3 years we've been here.

    I agree, I very much prefer vetiver to concrete for stabilizing slopes.
     
  14. altamira55

    altamira55 Junior Member

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    Here's what the in-ground vetiver looks like here at the house in San Antonio. Since it functions as a privacy screen, as well as a berm stabilizer, I left about 3 feet between each plant. I've found that if I space them out more, they grow taller than if they're planted closer together. This has worked well for me on gentle slopes. I don't cut the tops back but rather just leave them alone, and eventually the dead parts of the tops fall down and form a nice protective layer of mulch around the plants. View attachment 2353
     

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  15. altamira55

    altamira55 Junior Member

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    Here's a contrast between the way I have dealt with the water running down the slope and the way my next-door neighbor has dealt with the same situation. He chose to use concrete. His yard is, in fact, almost entirely concrete. To the right of the driveway pictured here is an open concrete drain that empties onto the street. Close to 100% of the water that falls on his roof and yard ends up in the street and thence into the storm drains, ultimately to flow into the Gulf of Mexico after sometimes causing flooding at various points along the way. In addition to causing all the water to run off the land, the concrete makes his yard like a stove-top in hot weather, causing the air conditioning system to use more electricity. The concrete does absorb some heat during the day in winter, and releases the heat at night; but since it's on the north side of the house, away from the winter sunlight, the benefits from the concrete in winter are minimal. An additional benefit of the vetiver berm is that it was MUCH less expensive to install than the concrete. The cost in money was close to zero since I already had plenty of vetiver plants in containers. It took a small amount of time and work, but exercise is healthy, and the work was fun. The open space in the vetiver is where I had planted canna lilies that were not able to withstand the drought. I decided cannas were wrong for that location anyhow and will put in a couple of vetivers to fill in the gap. View attachment 2355

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  16. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    That is a contrast!

    Did your berm settle after a while and did the Vetiver take over the duties? Part of the reason I'm using more Vetiver is to reduce the digging out of swales/berms with a more permanent fixture. Not saying swales/berms are bad, it's just that they tend to disappear after a while in our applications (not sure how many years but the other place has the remnants of many swales, just minor marks on the landscape now and the trees have either died or been cut out). I'd also assume that the Vetiver would disappear too if trees established above or below them so nothing is ever permanent (just like nature).

    Thanks for sharing your Vetiver application!
     
  17. altamira55

    altamira55 Junior Member

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    Yes, the berms have settled a bit, and the vetiver has taken over most of the function of keeping the water from running straight down the slope. Unlike the concrete curbs my neighbor installed, the vetiver does not redirect the flow of water toward the edges of the property. I'm not sure of the mechanics, but it looks as though the root mass absorbs water and holds it -- I'm seeing no evidence of water seeping through the vetiver in the direction of the house, and the vetiver and weeds stay green even during the extremely hot and dry times of year. They must be getting water from the soil. The area in between the house and the vetiver has reatained its slope away from the house, in the opposite direction of the general slope of the land, and there is no washing on either side of the berm either; so it looks as though the water is going down into the soil rather than across the land.

    I'm on a limestone ridge, and the soil is mostly silt filling in the spaces between chunks of stone. There formerly was a spring in our back yard, in fact there were numerous springs in the area. Now only a few of the largest springs still flow, but if enough people would keep the soil in the ground rather than running it out to the street, we might be able to get the springs to flow again.

    I think the disappearance of the berms on the uphill side may be as much a result of silt building up behind the vetiver as of the berms settling. I'm keeping a close watch on the area between the house and the vetiver, to make sure there's no washing. There's a volunteer ground cover of various weedy plants next to the house, predominantly cat's claw vine (Macfadyena unguis), an invasive vine native to southern Mexico. Although it has lovely yellow flowers, I'm not overly fond of the vine, because it does tend to be very invasive to the point that it smothers other plants. But for right now, I'm leaving it, until I can find time to plant a more useful ground cover. A gutter that would carry the water to a cistern would probably be ideal, instead of allowing the runoff to hit the ground next to the house.
     
  18. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Cut a hedge with a linetrimmer/whippersnipper today:

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    And here is a quote as to where the water goes:

     
  19. altamira55

    altamira55 Junior Member

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    Interesting! Thanks!
     
  20. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Went on a planting trip today. Rather than address each picture Ill mention the points of interest.

    Rain, obviously.

    Bamboo been mulched and used in a few places.

    Pigeon Pea and Leucaena going well. Moringa haven't broken the soil yet, hoping seed still good.

    Approx 155 Lomandra planted today on the steeper banks to get rid of the pasture grass menace. Who wants to whippersnip on that angle? Nobody, that's who.

    When I planted down the back, I planted some trees with 5 Lomandra. In some of the later plantings, I put perennial Greek Basil. As you can see, it's filled the tree guard and the bees are very happy. Most of the plants there are bee plants when mature so Basil is the first one flowering for them.

    Deer attack, most trees trimmed back. The Mulberry that was going so well is down by half.

    Wynn's Cassia and Lablab planted by finger on the edge of beds in groups. So much dirt under the nails I am in pain.

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