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starter trees

2017/01/10 deej 0

We’ve hit the new year with all the right energy, planting trees. There are all these sayings about trees, like “the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago; the second best time is now” and “a society grows wise when [people] plant trees in whose shade they will never sit” (implying planting trees for the benefit of future generations), and it all boils down to: trees taker a long time to get established. Start them as soon as you can.   Trees (and shrubs, and other deep-rooted perennial plants) are essential for a food forst, or any […]

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plant profile: rosemary

2016/11/30 deej 0

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) grows brilliantly in Perth. It’s commonly planted as a hedge, and can easily be collected (in Perth, it’s a great urban foraging target, because it’s planted so widely, and grows so enthusiastically). Rosemary is very strongly flavoured, but it can be used in salads as well as for flavouring food, and can also be used to make a caffeine free tea (technically an infusion). Rosemary is also a fantastic bee plant, with a long flowering period.   Although often used to flavour lamb or mutton dishes, rosemary works equally well with goat, pork, rabbit, fish or chicken. […]

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Olives for integrated livestock-orchards

2016/11/14 deej 0

I’ve been doing an awful lot of research, recently, into integrated agroforestry and pastured livestock farming systems. Specifically the system of pasture and productive woodland common to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) which is commonly called  dehesa, or montado in Portugal.   Although the traditional dehesa forests are primarily made up of cork oak (Quercus suber) and holm oak (Quercus ilex), the system could work with any number of tree species. It’s basically a Mediterranean silvopasture system, with scattered tree cover (using trees which produce some sort of commercially valuable product) with pasture and animals grazing underneath. Traditional dehesa […]

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June 30: honeybee gardens

2016/06/30 deej 1

It’s the last day of June, the end of #BlogJune for this year. It’s been a challenge to keep up with a post every day, and we haven’t (as originally intended) managed to complete a farm or house task every day, but it’s been fun anyway. Today’s task has been using some of the kumquats I picked on the weekend, making most of them into candied kumquats, and some (along with some limes) into lime-and-kumquat-jelly (not marmalade, as I’ve sieved all but a few decorative strips of zest out of the jam, but basically lime marmalade flavoured – hopefully it […]

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June 29: Peach Palm (Pejibayes)

2016/06/29 deej 0

The peach palm or pejibaye (Bactris gasipeas) is native to the lowland tropics of South and Central America. It was domesticated during the pre-Columbian era by the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and both the fruit and seeds have been used as food since then.   The texture of the fruit, raw or cooked, has been compared to a firm sweet potato, and the flavour is similar to squash, buttery potato, or roasted chestnut. Undamaged, raw fruits will keep well, gradually dehydrating, in a low humidity environment with good airflow. Bruised or damaged fruits, however, will ferment in only a […]