Listmember's Ecologies

John Cropper j.cropper at
Thu Dec 13 22:24:11 EST 2001

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----- Original Message -----
From: <permed at>
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at>
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 22:09
Subject: Re: Listmember's Ecologies

> 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
> 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
> ---
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