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June 13: study plans

2016/06/13 deej 1

As many people who know me are aware, I’m currently partway through studying towards a Masters degree in Sustainable Agriculture. I embarked on this particular project for many reasons. I love studying, learning and researching things make me genuinely happy. Agriculture and horticulture are long term interests, and we are trying to build a sustainable, commercially viable farming enterprise on this property – so getting some more-or-less hands on ideas about large-scale farming (as opposed to suburban gardening) is useful, since I don’t come from a farming family or have any background in large scale agriculture of any sort. And […]

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June 11: plant profile: mulberry

2016/06/11 deej 1

Mulberries (Morus spp.) thrive in Perth, and they are (in my opinion) one of the most under-utilised trees which grow well here. Not only are their fruit edible, both to humans and to most domestic animals (all poultry and most domesticated herbivores and omnivores, plus not toxic to carnivores such as dogs or cats), their leaves can be used to feed herbivorous livestock (rabbits, goats, sheep, cows, etc.) as a replacement for hay – i.e. as almost the entire diet of the animal if necessary. The leaves are also used in the silk industry, as fodder for domesticated silkworms.   […]

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June 4: dehesa australis

2016/06/04 deej 0

Dehesa (in Spain) or montado (in Portugal) is a type of agroforestry practised across the Iberian Peninsula. Traditional dehesa is an oak woodland, mostly cork oak (Quercus suber) but also holm oak (Quercus ilex), with various shrubs and grasses – and sometimes crops – growing under the tree cover. In many areas livestock are grazed under the trees; cattle and sometimes sheep graze on the shrubs and grasses, and pigs are herded through to eat the fallen acorns.   In an Australian context, a similar system of value-add agroforestry seems very plausible. The tree component could be any one of […]

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June 2: Seed Planting

2016/06/02 deej 0

Winter is here. Cold nights (and cold days, too, at the moment!), rain and wet, black soil. Every night there’s the smell of woodsmoke from wood-burning heaters in the neighbourhood, and the deciduous trees are all in the last stages of losing their leaves. The sweetgums are glorious, red and purple and gold. Everything is settling in for a good winter’s hibernation. Perfect time to plant tree seeds.   I’ve had some stone pine (Pinus pinea) seeds and cork oak (Quercus suber) acorns in the fridge for a couple’ve months, getting the chill they need to start germinating. They’re going […]

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plant profile: pomegranate

2016/04/15 deej 0

Pomegranates are a traditional Mediterranean fruit, along with olives, grapes, figs, plums, dates, and apples (yes, plums and apples are traditional Mediterranean fruit). It’s an attractive, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree, growing to be 6 – 10 m tall, with glossy green leaves and brightly coloured flowers which can be quite showy in some varieties. The fruit are quite large, between an orange and a grapefruit in size, and coloured pink to orange when ripe. There are multiple cultivars with slightly different fruit characteristics.   The seeds of the fruit are surrounded by individual ‘bubbles’ of red or pink, juicy pulp. […]