Temperate Food Forest in Tasmania

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Luke C, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. Luke C

    Luke C New Member

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    First a big hello to all the Permi people across the globe, sharing and helping each other to create a sustainable planet. You all keep me going and keep me positive that we can make a difference and rectify the problems we have inherited.

    I've been hugely interested in Horticulture all my life as a hobby, and more recently a profession. I've always been really into Organic Gardening and Self Sufficiency, growing up on a small hobby farm. I discovered Permaculture about 10 years ago and have researched exhaustively online everything I can on the subject, and implementing what ever I can where ever I can during this time. I love the fact that learning about this broad subject seems to have a never ending wealth of knowledge, and I love to learn.

    Anyway, to the point...

    I've spent the last 5 years working in the tropics of Darwin and have now returned to my home pastures where I grew up in NW Tasmania, where I have the chance to develop our small 10 acre property which has so much potential, but is totally under utilised. My parents have gotten old and lazy and just aren't as interested as they once were, which happens to most people I realise.

    I'm currently preparing my annual vegetable garden which has been left fallow for 2 years now. So the I've put the chickens to work cleaning up the site while I plan the swales, beds, plantings etc.

    I'm also planning a small perennial food forest on an unused area of the garden to show my parents what can be done, and hopefully convince them to surrender more of the property to more food forest with the huge variety of Perennials and fruit and nut trees we can grow here.

    I was really keen to include Sea Buckthorn in the mix but have had no luck locating these plants in Tas. I found that there is an Italian Buckthorn which has become an invasive weed in southern Tasmania with the Hobart city council putting plans in place to eradicate the plant. And with our strict quarantine laws I doubt they would let the Sea Buckthorn into the state. But if anyone in Tasmania does have some of these plants please hook me up!

    Fortunately though I've found there are quite a few great native Tasmanian edible and useful plants suitable for a food forest, with a similar plant to Seaberries: Coprosma quadrifida, commonly called Prickly Currant. I am still doing a lot of research on the various native plants and other perennials to include and trying to source some useful nitrogen fixers.

    If anyone has some good ideas on useful plants I could use (and more importantly source) here in Tasmania, including edibles, nitrogen fixers and bird loving plants, or knows of some good links for info on food forest plants available in Tasmania I would be most appreciative.

    I'll put up a list of the plants I have in mind along with some plans soon. Thanks all and keep up the great work!
     
  2. Luke C

    Luke C New Member

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    Ok, here is my plant list for my mini temperate food forest so far. There may be changes made of coarse but this is the general plan. If there is room I may add some Annual herbs and vegetables also. Now that I have my plant list organised I can start the design and draw up a plan which I'll post up here in the next few days.

    I haven't chosen too many large trees because the site is quite small so I don't want to create too much shade. Also about 1/4 of the site is shaded by the house, so I have chosen various shade loving shrubs and plants for this space. There will also be some other natives such as existing Tasmanian Tree Ferns occupying the shaded area and a couple of other plants which already exist on the site, but mostly I have a clean slate to work with.

    I've used a lot of herbaceous plants and ground covers because I want no room left for weeds and grass to grow. Almost all the plants I've chosen are Perennials so hopefully the system will be able to take care of itself with as little input and care as possible.

    The idea is to not only have an edible food forest for the people living here, but also create habitat for the local birds, lizards, frogs and insects, so I also plan to have a small pond with native and edible plants.

    If anyone has any other suggestions for good plants I could use in a Tasmanian, zone 7 climate food forest that would be great.

    Mini Temperate Food Forest - Plant List

    Canopy / Windbreak
    Tasmanian Natives
    Tasmannia lanceolata - Native Pepper Tree
    Baeckea gunniana - Alpine Baeckea - (Lemon tasting, aromatic leaves can be used fresh or dried.)
    Banksia marginata- Banksia - (Nectar can be used for teas, great for birds & bees.)
    Callistemon spp. - Bottlebrush - (Nectar can be used for teas, great for birds & bees.)
    Grevillea australis - Southern Grevillea - (Edible flowers.)
    Acacia sophorae - (Edible wattle seeds, Nitrogen fixer)
    Support Legume Species
    Cytisus proliferus - Tree Lucerne - (Great fodder crop. This will be the largest tree, planted on the back boundry which borders a cow pasture.)

    Understory Trees & Shrubs
    Fruit & Nut Trees
    Plums (European), 2 or 3 - Damsen, King Billy, Coles Golden Gage
    Hazelnuts, 3 or 4 - mixture
    Cherry - 1 tree, still choosing type. (There are some old cooking Cherry trees in the cow pasture next to plot)
    Morus nigra - Black Mulberry
    Phyllostachys pubenscens Or P. bambusoides - Edible temperate clumping bamboo
    Tasmanian Natives
    Coprosma quadrifida - Prickly Currant Bush
    Coprosma moorei - Blue-berried Coprosma
    Gaulthiera hispida - Snow Berry
    Sambucus gaudichaudiana - White Elderberry
    Berries
    Rasberries, Red Currants, Honey Berry, Boysenberry, Goosberries – (What ever I can fit in)
    Support Legume Species
    Caragana arborescens - Siberian Pea Shrub - (If I can locate seeds I'll plant these as support plants, although they may die back in the winter)
    Acacia myrtifolia, A. pataczekii, A. stricta – (Small native Wattle shrubs, Nitrogen fixers, birds & bees)


    Herbaceous Layer
    Tasmanian Natives
    Tetragonia tetragonoides - Warrigal Greens or NZ Spinach
    Bulbine glauca- Rock Lily - (Seeds can be eaten like peas. Roots can also be eaten.)
    Viola hederaceae - Native Violet – (Ground cover with edible flowers.)
    Perennials
    Helichrysum italicum - Curry Plant
    Asparagus officinalis - Asparagus
    Strawberries - (Companion for Asparagus)
    Cynara cardunculusvar. scolymus - Purple Globe Artichoke
    Melissa officinalis - Lemon Balm
    stachys officinalis – Betony
    Allium tuberosum – Garlic Chives
    Symphytum officinale – Comfrey
    Hyssopus officinalis – Hyssop
    Indigofera australis – Indigo
    Lavandula angustifolia – Lavender
    Levisticum officinale – Lovage
    Origanum vulgare – Oregano
    Salvia officinalis – Sage
    Satureja montana – Winter Savory
    Rumex acetose – Sorrel
    Helianthus maximilianii – Perennial Sunflower
    Tanacetum vulgare – Tansy
    Thymus vulgaris – Thyme
    Diplotaxis tenuifolia – Wild Rocket
    Galium odoratum – Sweet Woodruff
    Achillea millefolium – Yarrow
    Support Legume Species
    Trifolium pratense – Red Clover
    Trifolium repens – White Clover
    Medicago sativa – Lucerne 'Sequel'
    Medicago truncatula – Barrel Medic
    Lupinus - Lupins


    Climbers
    Tasmanian Natives
    Billardiera longiflora - Climbing Blue Berry
    Support Legume Species
    Phaseolus coccineus – Scarlet Runner Beans (Perennial, last around 7 years)


    Pond – Mainly natives & Edibles
    Deep Water Plants
    Triglochin procerum - Water Ribbons – (Native aquatic plant, tuberous roots can be pan-fried or roasted.)
    Aponogeton distachyos - Water Hawthorn – (Edible flowers.)
    Nymphaea nouchali – Blue Lotus – (Water Lilly, edible flowers, shades water, creates habitat.)
    Pond Edge
    Eleocharis dulcis – Chinese Water Chestnut
    Nasturtium officinale – Watercress
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
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  3. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Nice work Luke! That's a well thought-out list.
    While our Siberian Pea Shrub lose their leaves in winter, they do just fine over winter and flourish again in the spring in our cold winter climate. I think yours will do just fine.
    Thanks for the tip about strawberries as companions to asparagus! We'll give it a try.
     
  4. Luke C

    Luke C New Member

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    Thanks for the reply Bill.

    Yeh I'm hoping the Siberian Pea Shrubs will survive the winter like you say as they would be a good little support plant for the the other trees while they get established. I was also thinking of inter planting a few Tree Lucerne's along the border where the wind comes tearing through as these are fast growing and make a great wind break. Then when they get too large I can chop and drop them for the first couple of years and then probably remove them after the natives are established and can take over the job as windbreak.

    I read that strawberries make good companions to Asparagus and it makes sense to inter plant them as they will be using different space. Asparagus have a deep root and Strawberries having a shallow root, and will also create a ground cover to keep out the weeds. We'll see how it goes. I'll have to try and find the toughest strawberries I can though to ensure they can survive our cold winters and bounce back in Spring.

    I have to admit though that we don't have too many vicious weeds here which is good and many of the weeds we do have I've found are edible such as Mallow. It's mainly the grass I'm worried about, as the site is basically a lawn at the moment. So after I've setup all the swales I plan on sheet mulching with cardboard, then adding compost to the garden beds then laying down a suitable wood chip mulch to the entire plot. Got some work ahead of me but I'm looking forward to it. I'll be taking photos of the entire process so I can post here.
     
  5. Japangardi

    Japangardi New Member

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    Hi Luke,

    Just thought you might like to know that you can buy seeds for Siberian pea tree (Caragana arborescens) at Phoenix seeds in Snug (Huon valley). They aren't in the catelogue but just email the guy. $3.30 per packet + $6.00 postage).
     
  6. Luke C

    Luke C New Member

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    Hi Japangardi. Thanks I already sussed that out and will be getting some seeds off them with my next batch. I've already got a heap of herb and veg seeds off them and so far they are going well. The weather here has been overly wet at the moment so my garden has been set back a little. My hoop house is starting to kick off though and I should have a bumper crop of tomatoes, eggplants, chilli's and other assorted foods this year which is great.

    My food forest will most likely be a slow step by step creation over the next 2-3 years as I really need to get a decent wind break happening first before I go putting in the fruit trees. I will aim to post stage by stage photos of it here as I remember.
     
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  7. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Good for you on getting stuck in. All the best with it.
    I hope you let us kno how you get on with it, I'd love to have acreage to play with so I am feeling quite envious right now.
    I'm going to pinch your idea of the strawberries with asparagus.
     
  8. Weedkiller

    Weedkiller New Member

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    Hi Luke. All my strawberries are running wild wherever the seeds have been scattered by the birds. All survive year after year through frosts and covered in snow.
    What will most certainly survive, are 'Alpine or Wild ' strawberries. Much smaller fruit - but Oh my, what a taste! The littlies love them.
    Hazel nut trees. Try and get ones that don't produce as many suckers. Mulch around with pea straw - makes finding the nuts much easier.
     
  9. Luke C

    Luke C New Member

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    Funny you should say that. I just planted some Alpine Strawberry seeds about a week ago, along with some Siberian Pea Trees and perennial Leeks. Can't wait for them to kick off. They probably won't get any fruit until next year, but I found in this climate you have to be very patient. I can see the food forest taking some time to develop but I know it's going to be worth the wait.

    In the meantime my hot house is really starting to kick off and I'm almost done setting up my annual veg garden, which has taken a while to dig all the swales in the terrible weather we've had so far. Garlic is going well and I have spuds coming up, carrots and spring onions just popping up too. Just waiting for the corn, beans and peas to pop up so I can fill in the gaps with other companions most of which I have growing from seed in the hot house. Can't wait for the weather to warm up so everything starts booming. I'll try and get some photos of the hot house and veg garden up here soon.
     
  10. Scott Foyster

    Scott Foyster New Member

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    Hi Luke. Your plant list looks great. How's it going? We are down in the Huon and was wondering if you had any success or inkling to try Tasmanian dogwood as a nitrogen fixing species. Would love to here back on how it's all going. cheers Scott
     
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  11. Luke C

    Luke C New Member

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    Hi Scott. Unfortunately my little food forest has been put off until next Spring. I have been growing some of the plants in pots from cuttings and seed in preparation though. I haven't heard much about Tasmanian Dogwood before but looking into it now, sounds like it could be a useful plant to add to the list as it has some good attributes; fire retardant, fixing nitrogen, and great for birds, insects... and bees! I also want to get some bees going next Spring too so am looking at planting as many flowering plants, trees and shrubs as possible for plentiful nectar all year long.

    Huon is a beautiful place I love it down there. It must be looking rather gorgeous at the moment with the autumn leaves changing colour.
     
  12. jack philson

    jack philson New Member

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    Hi Scott
    I am in the Huon also (Lucaston) and am very interested in your queries re using Pomaderis as a nitrogen fixer. It is locally endemic and It grows very easily in the Lucaston "black sand". I have just recently embarked on the process of transitioning an old established small orchard to a food forest, along with integrating permacultural principles into the management of my 1.5 acre property which is essentially your classic "old school" rambling garden with mainly exotics.

    I have also read quite a few places that Australian 'legumes' aren't great at fixing nitrogen and making it available to other plants, along with many of them possessing allellopathic qualities (I have a sense that blackwood is one such species). I would prefer to use navies wherever possible but I am considering mixing it up with known ' fixers' such as Gleditsia, Robinia and tree lucerne.

    I would be interested to hear what systems you have got cracking in your neck of the Huon.

    Cheers
     
  13. jasno

    jasno New Member

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    Hi guys im very new but want to do a food forest in tasmania Sorell.

    Is there somewhere i can get step by step information? Id b grateful for any info? Including purchasing seeds?
     
  14. Cass

    Cass New Member

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    Hi Luke a quick question. How are you protecting your food forest and other plantings from being eaten by possums, pademelons etc. My trees took a beating in recent years as did the understorey. All the plum foliage, some of the cherry..even the cumquat this year and the lemons, bay, rosemary. They even had a go at the rhubarb leaves this spring.
    I am netting a small area 7m x 7m but the food forest would have to be behind electric wire is my current thinking.
    I'm in the Channel area south of Hobart and have been trying to grow for 10 years. The animals ignore for a couple of years and then pounce. Heart breaking stuff.
    cheers
    Cass
     
  15. Penny L

    Penny L New Member

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    Hi Luke. How are things going for you in NW Tassie? Have you time to give an update on what has worked well and what has been a challenge?
    Interested!
    Penny.
     

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