Listmember Ecologies

S.K. Harrison skh23ca at
Sat Dec 8 13:17:02 EST 2001

From: "len organicpc" <gardenlen at>

g'day sean,

we have not long ago purchased acreage in
south/east queensland downunder. the block is
68.9 acres in size it has been used as grazing
land since it was aquired by whom ever in the
last 150 or so years. the land has at one stage
been completely cleared of trees.

at present about 1/2 the block has a good cover
of new growth, the other 1/2 is still almost
treeless. the head waters of 2 creek systems
start here but these are badly silted from the
degredation that took place after the tree
most of the land is volcanic with basalt rock and
clay, about 1/4 is sandstone with sandy loam soil
very deficient in organic matter, hence no worm
life or not in any numbers.

this could get drawn out so maybe you could come
visit our site and read and see what we are doing
or planning to do?

our new section can be linked to from the site
index it is called 'our new block'.

following is a list of some of the tree plantings
that we have done:

Food trees:

Avacado ‘Persea americana’ [Sheppard] [Reed]
Bay Tree – ‘Laurus nobilis’
Black Sapote – ‘Diospyros digyna’
Bunya Nut – ‘Araucaria bideilli’ x 2
Burdekin Plum – ‘Pleigynium timorense’
Candle Nut – ‘Aleurites moluccana’
Cape Gooseberry – ‘Physallis peruvian’ x 2
Davidson’s Plum – ‘Davidsonia pruriens’ var
Jaboticaba  aka Amazon Tree Grape – ‘Myrciaria
Lilly Pilly  Purple Cherry– ‘Syzygium
Lilly Pilly Small Leafed – ‘Syzygium luehmannii’
Macadamia nut aka Queensland Nut – ‘Macadamia
species’ [A38 grafted] x 2
Mango Bowen – ‘Mangifera indica’ [seedling]
Native Lime – ‘Citrus australis’
Passionfruit  Norfolk Island Black – ‘Passiflora
Paw Paw – ‘Carica papaya’ x 20+
Plum Pine – ‘Podocarpus elatus’ x 4
Rose Apple aka Water Melon Tree – ‘’ x 2

Native habitat trees:

Calistemon linearis x 17
Gympie Messmates – ‘Cloeziana’ x 17
Hoop Pine – ‘’
Meleleuca trichostachya x 15
Red Cedar – ‘’ x  4
Silky Oak – ‘grevillea robusta’ x 8

our pluses and minuses so far, well we just can't
seem to get enough rain but
then we expect that there are quite a few areas
especially in southern
queensland with the same complaint.

we had major problems initially with blossom end
rot and bacterial wilt in our
tomatoes we think we can put nearly all of this
down to mushroom compost not yet
composted, a lack of micro organisms and worms in
our system. so we lost about
1/3 of the available tomato crop but in the end
we have more than we need. the
sweet corn did realy well, the capsicums are slow
and suffering sunburn.

in the melon patch the zuccinis did very well a
second crop now in, we have some
nice rock and watermelons coming along, the jap
pumpkins are doing their thing
along with a bumper crop of giant russian
cucumbers, the lebanese cucumbers look
more like normal green cucumbers, we have had a
good crop of crystal apple
cucumbers as well.

the brussel sprouts, cabbages and cauliflowers
got caught in the heat as we
didn't have the beds ready early enough but
looking forward to better results
next year. the cos lettuce did their job as chook
food i had the odd leaf in
salads and egg and lettuce sandwiches, we just
don't get to eating much lettuce.

other sundry things growing are as follows:

rhubarb courtesy fran
sorrel courtesy fran
horseradish courtesy fran
seeding comfry courtesy fran
mustard thanks to ted
fava beans thanks to ted
bitter melons thanks to ted
some of teds jap pumpkin
coriander also thanks to ted and some other stuff
we haven't planted yet never
seems to be enough daylight in the day, when are
you coming for a visit ted and

tree lucern
pigeon pea
pak choi
3 sorts of sweet potatoes
garlic chives
aloe vera

the chooks lay 4 a day can't find enough people
to give eggs to.

looks like the hares and roo's and wabblyknees
don't like tomato or pumpkin
plants, well at least they haven't raided my
plants yet.

we are preparing the area for our citrus and
stone fruit orchid, building will
start again soon, another 2 X 5000 gallon tanks
will have a new home soon.

also updated some pages and added another good
for some light enjoyment:

From: "georg parlow" <georg at> 

hi sean and others:

> rental house. I'd love to hear what everyone
else > is working with, whether material, social
or > otherwise.

hope you are reading german, so you can grok the
brief about my project. at least the species list
should come across (thats what the botanic names
were designed for, werent they?) warning: the
info about the project isnt a lot about physical
features, but mostly of the social situation and
my meta-approach to pc.

info: plantlist:

From: "Steve Bonney"
<sustainableearth.steve at> 

 We are establishing Field and Forest EcoFarm, a
research and demonstration farm on 63 acres in
Greene County (no zoning), 17 miles from
Bloomington (Indiana University), Indiana. We
wanted to be near Bloomington because it is the
most progressive (social activism, organic food,
food coop, great farmers' market, etc.) community
in our state. Although, on one of my first trips
to the area after purchasing the land, I met the
owner of the Laughing Planet Cafe who told me he
was moving to Portland, Oregon because he wanted
to live in a progressive community. Oh, well, it
will be a good market for us and a good source of
interest and participation in our development.
The land consists of 20 acres of clearing on the
highest elevation around (800 feet) surrounded by
mixed, mostly hardwood forest (white and red oak,
sugar maple, hickory and yellow poplar). The
cleared area where we are building is about 250
feet higher in elevation than the state highway
which borders one side of the property. There is
a 3/4 acre spring fed farm pond. The last
cultivated crop was corn grown in 1974. We
purchased the land 13 months ago and received
organic certification this year based on an
affidavit from the previous owner. We are
determined to built with natural, locally
available materials. These are just not readily
available here, and that has been a huge
obstacle. By the summer of 2002, we will have a
bandsaw mill set up and will build with lumber
from the farm. Meanwhile, it has been difficult
establishing the first building (one of many
"chicken and egg" situations on unimproved land).
We could have had a post and frame building (pole
barn) constructed for about $5.50/sq ft., but it
would have consisted of CCA treated timbers,
manufactured trusses (SPF), OSB and metal sides,
none of which are acceptable to us. So, we have
finally located two Amish farmers who have
standing black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
trees and also have bandsaw mills. They both are
cutting 4" x 6" timbers for me. It is very
troubling that there is such a dearth of black
locust in this region, even though its use was
promoted in the 50's and 60's. The tree yields
wood will last for many years in the ground as
timbers and fence posts, is a legume, provides
fantastic firewood which can be sustainably
produced through coppicing, provides filtered
light, the small leaves do not smother plants,
etc. Last week I purchased 2000 board feet of air
dried yellow or tulip poplar ( Liriodendron
tulipifera) lumber at an auction for 35 cents a
board foot. Bonus! That first building is going
up soon. Although there is a water line adjacent
to the farm, we elected to have a well drilled to
avoid industrial water. Yikes, they had to drill
through 320 feet of limestone bedrock to hit a
water seam of quartz and fractured flint at 370
feet depth. I am frustrated with the lack of
suitable materials for establishing a water
system. The drillers were not knowledgeable about
alternative materials. So they installed a well
casing of PVC, and I don't want PVC in our well,
so will have it removed. I have not located any
electrical wire for the submersible pump that is
not coated in PVC. The electrical utility wanted
me to sign a form that gave them rights, IN
PERPETUITY, to construct, trim, cut spray, etc.,
etc. Way too onerous. So we decided to build a
stand-alone energy system, starting with a solar
water pump. We will build a ferrocement storage
tank to get the capacity we need for the water
supply without using a monstrous pump.
Electricity will come from solar and wind
sources. The wastewater system will be an above
ground living machine a la John Todd. We will
build our farming system around the ecology of
the site. A 75 year old neighbor, whose father
used to own the land, told me she used to gather
native hazel nuts (Corylus americana) on the farm
when she was young. We are planting our first 200
hazels in the spring. Fortunately we are located
about 30 miles from one of two state DNR tree
nurseries and we can purchase a large assortment
of trees for $20-22 per100 trees. And they are
grown from native seed. In general, the largest
problems stem from the fact that scarcely anyone
knows anything about ecosystems and fewer who
view farms as managed ecosystems. Our land grant
university, in whose shadow I have lived for 24
years, is only very anecdotally helpful --
beneficial insects, forage plants, plant
diseases. For forestry information the special
publications of the U. S. Forest Service from the
1930's - 60's are very good. e.g. Silvics of
Forest Trees of the United States list tree and
shrub associations of each tree species; Native
Woody Plants of the United States (Their Erosion
Control and Wildlife Values) emphasizes Plant
Growing Regions and lists range and site
characteristics for each species. It also lists
78 species of willow (Salix) native to the U.S.
Imagine that. Our approach has been to maintain
the ecology of the land which very fortunately
has not had major disturbance in 25 years.
Examples of ecological succession abound in
field, forest and pond sites. Production from
desirable existing plants will be maintained and
expanded, including staghorn sumac, ginseng,
persimmons, morel mushrooms, golden rod, and
cattails. We have substantial amounts of
rainwater flowing down the wooded slopes. We have
determined a keyline, will build a swale and
plant baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) for its
rot resistant lumber, and basket willow (Salix
purpurea). A related goal is to increase the
infiltration rate and water holding capacity of
the field soils. I apologize for the length of
this description, but a holistic plan has many
elements. Regards, Steve

Steve Bonney Sustainable Earth a not-for-profit
membership organization dedicated to the
development of sustainable family farming systems
and local food systems 100 Georgton Ct. W.
Lafayette, IN 47906 (765) 463-9366 

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