Need help selecting legume trees for Texas Zone 8

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by DanD, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. DanD

    DanD Junior Member

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    I want to start a food forest, but need some help with legume support species.

    What trees can I grow here in Texas zone 8 that are short, medium, and long term nitrogen fixing trees? The only trees I know of are mimosa trees and mesquite trees. I dont think mesquite will grow in east Texas, but mimosa is growing here wild already.

    I cut a small water catchment into my hill (swell?), and am now mulching and planting fruit trees and peas and beans. There is a lot of water that used to run over this area when it rains. Now this water will be soaked into the land and over flows into a pond at the far end... But Im getting off topic.. I really really need help finding the support species that I can plant here. Thanks, Dan
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  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    That's a swell swale!
    Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemingway has lists of useful plants for American growers. You might be able to get a copy from the library.
    The mimosa would be a good bet because if they grow locally they'll do well, and your soil should have the bacteria to complement it to fix nitrogen.
    Here I use pigeon pea, acacias and cassia. Further south (colder) tagasaste does better than pigeon pea.
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Your swell swale looks swish Dan. Local pioneers are excellent as Eco suggests.
     
  4. SueUSA

    SueUSA Junior Member

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  5. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    read Tree crops a permanent agriculture

    the best book in the world (bill used it for much of his yield data)
    i would try Gleditsia ,Robinia Psuedo acacia ,some of the aussi acacias may do well
    go for the ones that have tasty seeds
    leauceana
    and many more that my small brain cannot recall at this stage
    peace on
    andrew
     
  6. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    dont forget cheap ground cover soybeans ,clover ,,cowpeas,etc
    throw them about liberally and cover with straw /compost/ greenchop etc
    this will provide a good microclimate for the little buggers
    goodonyamateavabloodygoodone
     
  7. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    hmm i'm not so sure that the water will be soaked into the land. If you get a heavy downpours you can expect a lot of it to run off down the drain if if its on a slope itself. If its not, the swale will just over flow and the water will continue on down the slope.

    I'm saying this as one who lives on less sloping land than yours but has seen how ineffective in a heavy down pour a swale like this is. If the rainfall is not very heavy it should be ok. The swale will just fill up and store it but its not a very large swale.

    Sorry to rain on your parade.

    I think a better solution is to make terraces. Especially terraces with a back slope. Its been done that way since farming began. The down side is its very labour intensive but if i had your land, i'd consider working towards that in some areas at least.

    Consider a terrace a wide swale.

    Alternatively make a lot more swales as you go down the slope. Because of the fairly steep slope of the land, make a quite a few of them. But my father always says about catching water this way. It just goes down. Straight down. That's why a gently backwards sloping terrace is a better option.

    I wish our place had been properly terraced. I guess its costs a great deal of money to do it with machinery. Otherwise its just a great deal of back breaking work which is made worse by no longer living in extended family situations.
     
  8. Tegs

    Tegs Junior Member

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    I got a bit over excited one day and planted out my food forest before I had collected my support species seeds and seedlings. I was a bit worried that the system would suffer but nature stepped in and provided them for me. I have a couple of tree species, small bushes and ground cover volunteers! Some are native, some are weeds but I don't care, they are all there to do a job. It has opened my eyes and now as I walk around my property I keep a look out for legume type leaves, check the root system for nodules and if they are there I collect some seeds and throw them randomly over the forest. So far it has worked really well with very little effort from me.
     
  9. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Tegs that's brilliant. You should get a permaculture badge for observation and using small solutions!
     
  10. Tegs

    Tegs Junior Member

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    Thanks eco!! I think mother nature provided a better selection than I could ever pick out of a catalogue :)
     
  11. DanD

    DanD Junior Member

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    I know that I can not hold all the water, but I can catch what I can. My little swell overflows into a pond that can hold around 1000 gallons then that one overflows into a larger pond that can hold 3000 or so gallons, then overflows down an existing wash. So, are you saying that swales do not work? Would I be better off damming in to edge of the hill and letting the whole growing area flood?
     
  12. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    No i am not saying they don't work at all. And i am not saying to let your who area flood though i guess it does sound like that is what i am suggesting. A lot would depend on the rainfall you get - how much? and how often?

    But the swale will hold water right? And when the water being held in the swale runs down the slope it will probably be underground rather than near the surface where you'd like it to be.

    I guess its a good thing that your swale empties into ponds.
     
  13. macey

    macey Junior Member

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    sorry to cut into the thread with a question, it's on topic as far as the swales part but unforunately doesn't have much to do with legumes or nitrogen fixation:blush:

    previously mentioned is that the water collected in swales will obviously continue downhill (albeit at a slower rate with a time delay i'd guess?) and that the water will be underground rather than on the surface, or near the surface? How deep are we talking? I know soil types etc. will come into play but is it really so deep as to be unavailable to the plants sited below. I ask as I was considering a swale above my vege's assuming that the water would run subterraneanly but not so deep as to be of no benefit to them??
    regards
    Macey
     
  14. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Well i think its worth looking into further from soil experts/ a geologist or some of that kind, but think about it. The water will take the path of least resistance. When its on top of the ground, it will run over the surface. When its in the soil, if it can, it will go straight down. If it can't, it will slide down the underground slope of soil.

    There is a farmer here in oz who did good work on his property which is in a dry area by slowing the water running off through his creek by placing logs and such in the way.

    But macey, try it and see. But how far above it are you planning to put it? If the swale is close to your vegies, it might help it.
     
  15. TonyG

    TonyG New Member

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    For sure. Thousands of years of evolution make the master :)
     

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