View Full Version : N-fixing shrubs for cold climates - N-fixing shrubs for cold climates
20-04-2004, 06:41 PM
I'm on holiday in sunny(!) Demark (Europe, not WA!) and doing some Wwoofing with some lovely people who are starting up a PC system on a small property. It may be cold, but oh the soil! It is a shame to see some of the farms around here are suffering from over tillage and some patches of their paddocks are getting sandy patches.
There is some howling wind that blows across the neighbours' treeless paddock and we are wondering about a suitable fast growing legume that would be good for a windbreak for the main vegie garden. Our other option is planting xmas trees as they grow quickly and can be used for fence posts, but would like something that is n-fixing and we can use for sheep & rabbit food.
Enjoy the autumn sunshine,
21-04-2004, 10:39 AM
I planted some siberian pea shrubs, littleleaf peashrub, and black locusts this winter for N fix and sheep browse...Also Red Alders (and maybe other Alnus spp?) work well.
The siberian P shrub gets 18', in about 6-10 years. Is that tall enough / fast enough? You didn't say how much cover you need.
21-04-2004, 04:50 PM
Thanks for the reply Rich.
We are looking at about 6' of coverage, so the pea shrub sounds good, as we could hack it to keep it lower, otherwise it may shade out the vegie garden too much (although apparently nothing grows here in winter, so blocking what there is of the low sun will not be too much dramas!).
Forgot also to mention that the winter temperatures average at around -5 deg C, but can get down to -20 deg C on the odd night, so what ever we plant needs to be able to withstand this. Iøm sure any plant with 'Siberian' in its name should be able to cut the mustard! We'll have a look to see if we can find it.
23-04-2004, 01:40 PM
You might also try lucerne trees (tagasaste). They grew just fine on our farm and withstood snow and frost and temps to -5. They grow fast, and hacked off bits make good stock feed.
29-04-2004, 03:13 AM
yep, we're giving Taga's a go. The guy i'm Wwoofing for tried it a couple of years ago, but lost them during the first winter. We have just put some seeds in to germinate, and the plan is to keep them in the greenhouse over the 1st winter, then put them outside when their trunk has hardend up a bit.
Stumbled on some Pea Tree seeds too, so putting them in as well.
I have a 5 acre block in the High country of victoria in SE Australia at about 800 metres ASL. It gets very cold with frost any day of the year, down to -17 degrees C, but we generally expect frost between end April and beginning November! Then we get 30 degree days through summer but can have zero at night... We also have light snow a few days a year. I find that I'm fairly successful with most temperate fruit trees - apples and pears, quinces, crabapples, cherries and the like although the frost often kills the almond flowers before I get fruit set:(
The taga sounds like a good idea as a nursery tree?
I'm interested in constructing a relativelt large and cheap greenhouse - i don't particularly want to heat it, though I could probably achieve a reasonable result with solar using black poly piping?
I would have thought you'd be able to grow lucerne or clover for nitrogen fixing? It grows well here anyway.
11-05-2004, 03:18 PM
if you are still interested. we are interplanting outr orchard with a native n-fixing shrub/tree - acacia retinodes (wirilda) in central vic (certainly cold climate)...on the recommendation of Darren Doherty...
have heard many good reports and while 'tag' is a permaculture fav and listed in all the books - i think we all owe it to explore as many possibilities as possible.
so - we are giving that a go.
11-05-2004, 07:20 PM
just in reply to Neil....
at the farm i am on they have just built a greenhouse out of recycled timber and recycled glass. Its pretty big and took quite a while, but has been much cheaper than any commercially bought one, and much larger too.
They will be gettting a bit more heat into it using 3 large plastic drums (old detergent drums from a farm I think). These drums will be filled with water, and placed next to oneanother, and with a few bits of timber on top can be used as a bench for raising seedlings. The large volume should help moderate the temperature during freezing temps. Iøm not sure, but poly pipe might freeze due to the water being more exposed in the thinner pipes?
Waiting for the Tags to germinate, (fingers crossed!)
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