Saturday, January 9, 2010


Bless the flowers and the weeds, my birds and bees.

I used to hate the way the Chinaberry just popped up everywhere, but now I just think of it as a wonderful source of bio-mass. A year ago I think I would be amazed that I would actually be happy to see a Chinaberry coppicing.

I cut it down now and it goes into the beds I am structuring. I layer different sources of bio-mass lasagna-style to build up the bed. I use the Chinberry as part of the greens, and also as mulch on top when needed. Those that have been chopped down seem to coppice so readily that they are an endless supply.

I read that Bill Mollison said that in order to completely destroy a tree you are to use road salt... I assume this means coarse salt... at the cut, and then cover with an old carpet to block out the light. I would need a lot of old carpet! But I will have to make a plan like this, in time, as I settle areas down to Food forest. For now they serve a welcome purpose. Everything that grows rampantly in this rainy season is used like this - if not specifically purposed to be there.

I have found that the Mulberry tree bouces
back very readily too; a real blessing. Such a useful tree. And the long leafy stems make wonderful fish food for my Tilapia. I will probably cut back a number of Moringa too to create coppiced limbs and increase forage for the animals when I get them.

I found sad littl
e sticks of Purslane down near the river and brought them into the Food forest too. Now they are the best looking Purslane I have ever seen! Large leafed and a good 40cm high. They have become forage food to me. I love nibbling on the leaves. It feels so good to reach out and pluck one leaf after another to eat. They are one of nature's richest sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Perfect to add to salads. I have also read that when thrown into a stew-pot they will thicken the sauce. I have not tried this yet... they don't make it past raw in my kitchen.

With all the recent rains the weeds are rampant in growth. I will have to pull hard in some places, but they are welcome mulch. Even the Khakibos has become a friend to me; added around young plants the strong scent repels predatory insects. Nothing wasted.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


“The yield of the system is limited by our imagination.”
Bill Mollison, founder of permaculture

I am now looking at the specific plants I want to grow in the food forest. I have already got a number of established Citrus and Mulberry trees in the area I am starting with, and have dotted some Moringa here and there between. The shade of the Moringa is very light and I needed to get them planted out from their bags before the summer had advanced too much. I have already harvested leaves to eat. They have really taken off. I think it has a lot to do with the lasagna style beds I have laid around them… greens… dry grass… manure… and then sifted topsoil. I have so many rocks in my soil that this was necessary to start with, I think. I have read that this is not needed but the difference in the plants grown in these beds in comparison to those grown in a less prepared area is almost incredible. Besides, I have a lot of use for the different rock sizes with all the pathways and building I am doing out of rock. It also allows me to assess depths for planting because some rocks are so enormous that it is best not to plant a tree over; and some rocks I like to leave uncovered to be able to access within the beds without walking over the soil.

So far in the Food forest I have Citrus, Moringa, Mulberry, Banana, Litchi, Apricot, Nectarine, Peach, Mango, Papaya, Pineapple, Almond, Raspberry, Spearmint, Sweet potato, Peanuts, Purslane, Strawberries, and Pumpkin. The Pumpkin was from seeds of a rotten Crown Prince Pumpkin that I threw out. They have taken off at a gallop. Any surplus growth will be cut back as mulch if they get too rampant; but in the meantime the half meter height under the umbrella effect of the leaves is serving a wonderful purpose for Papaya grown from seed and transplanted there - as well as off-cut from a box of Pineapples we have enjoyed; they fit so snugly under the leaves as though in a mini-greenhouse.

Until next time,