Listmember's Ecologies

permed at nor.com.au permed at nor.com.au
Wed Dec 12 21:09:55 EST 2001


The philosophical banter is starting to bore me - seems like too many of 
you guys MUST have the last word....
So for something different here's a bit on my little ecosystem.

I live in a volcanic landscape in the humid subtropics of Northern NSW 
(250km south of Brisbane) on the southern side of the Mount Warning 
caldera. My local volcano had its spectacular 20 million years ago and 
where I live in the valley I'm sitting on a solid heavy clay deposit 90m 
deep covered with a 20-30cm deep layer of loamy clay top soil. The clay 
soil presents challenges re-drainage and opportunities for interesting 
water systems, ponds and dams. 

Here in the subtropics we have the dual influences of tropic and 
temperate seasons. The tropical wet/dry cycles with wet season summer & 
autumn, dry season in winter and spring, plus theres a 'temperate' 
difference in temperature and daylength (5 hours) from mid-summer to mid 
winter. Winter frosts settle in for a few hours from just before dawn til 
sunrise, mostly -2 to -4 deg with an ocassional -5 to -8. Relatively easy 
to create frost-free microclimates for the sub-tropic and tropical fruits 
and keep some areas more open where frost is desirable (e.g. for stone & 
pomme fruits).

I love the climate for the diversity of microclimates and plants it 
supports and the joy of harvesting fresh food from the gardens 12 months 
of the year. Basically I consider I enjoy 3 summers throughout the year.

Cold Temperate Summer - late autumn through winter, sunny days around 
18-25 degC, cold nights and ocassional frost - like a European summer 
with short days and cooler nights. This is my opportunity to grow 
cabbages, kales, broccoli and all the brassicas, spinach and siverbeet, 
carrots, parsnips, peas and so on. The citrus is abundant throughout 
winter, yet it's cold enough for deciduous trees to go into a short 
dormancy. 

Warm temperate summer - late winter, spring to early summer - the peak of 
the dry season with hot with dry winds from the desert - best time for 
zucchinis, squash, green beans, corn sunflowers, peppers, tomato and 
eggplants, pumpkins, cucumber and other classic mediteranean and dryland 
vegies. In the orchard/food forest there's peaches (low chill) and 
mulberries in abundance.

Tropical summer - late spring through to late autumn - the wet season 
begins around summer solstice - hot, humid and wet - from January to May 
we can have get 1500mm of rain. Rampancy sets in and you can literally 
see things growing including the weeds!. Any vegies surviving from winter 
and spring simply melt into blobs of slime from the heat & humidity so 
this is the time for taro, cassava, ceylon spinach, kang kong, snake & 
other tropical beans, ginger, yams and other tropical wet season vegies 
and spices. In the food forest there's jakfruit, Brazil cherries, 
jaboticaba, star fruit and its mango season - yummm. Outdoor work happens 
before 9.30am and after 5pm and the heat of the day is spent indoors on 
admin and creative pursuits or wallowing in the dam.

As you can imagine the site is great for teaching pc as students can 
experience examples from all these different climatic zones. Anyway 
that's enough for now. you can see more about what we do here on the web 
site www.earthwise.org.au
Robyn 

 

Djanbung Gardens Permaculture Education Centre
home to: 
Permaculture Education
ERDA Institute Trust
Nimbin Eco-Village Project Office
Robyn Francis - permaculture designer & educator
PO Box 379, Nimbin NSW 2480 Australia
Ph 02-6689 1755 Fax 02-6689 1225
permed at nor.com.au  www.earthwise.org.au




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