Year 11 Property Plan Assignment-Salinity
Ive been a quiet reader of this forum for a year or two now and I also do Senior Agricultural Science as a subject at Corinda SHS. So we have to do a property plan on a property across the creek (oxley) from us (the old DPI research centre) including map overlays and a report suggesting how the use of the land can change from cattle/sheep grazing to cropping (any type, from forage, cereals, perennials)
The property is a very low with the highest being 10m above sea level, with brackish groundwater. At the moment, the lower areas are waterlogged, acidic and salty The property has also had some ditches/canals (not for drainage) dug by past "community" groups in the attempt to create some kind of birdwatching "wetlands". The pastures consist of mainly salt tolerant summer grasses with large areas that have been scalded and hold surface water. In the paddock im doing only has a few stands of native trees.The soils range from heavy clay loams to silty clay loams (based on elevation). Rainfall is around 900mm a year and the property is frost free all year.The area is quite suburban and is just a few hundred metres from Rocklea Markets (Brisbane’s main fresh produce markets)
With a very high table, my mind first went to pioneer species followed by long term forestry trees for the lowest/saltiest areas and some deep rooted perennial polyculture on the higher slopes.
All strategies also have to be "industry accepted". Now I know this eliminates alot of permaculture concepts and ideas but I know you guys a HUGE wealth of knowledge and was wondering if you could give me any ideas you may have.
Notes about the attachments:
-the yellow lines are internal fences
-the highest point is about 3m above sea level so the property is prone to flooding (but i think my teacher said not to take this into account just for the sake of not making the assignment impossible)
Thanks All in Advance,
PS. sorry about being so vague with the site info. i can get more if needed.
The range of vegetables and fruit that can be grown in salty conditions is pretty big, but it is always best to choose the most salt tolerant species. Most of the onion family, garlic, onions, shallots and chives grow well, as do tomatoes, curcubits, Kohl Rabi etc
There is a lot of plants plants that can be grown in salty soil to supply fruit for a poly culture garden.
Lots olive varieties are successful, as are many varieties of figs and some grapes, .
Almond and pistachio nuts, black mulberry, Chinese dates and the carob can also be grown. For pioneers Glauca (cassurina sp) Melalueca (sorry about spelling) lots of fungal rich compost and fungal dominant compost teas and heaps and heaps of mulch building mounds for you trees will help too.
As far as permaculture goes industry does accept the practice now and thats why they subsidized by the farm ready scheme so your teacher will just have to wear the new practice.
The range of vegetables and fruit that can be grown in "salty" soils, but it is always best to choose the most salt tolerant species.Capsicums, chillies and aubergines are very successful because they can be grown in the hottest part of the garden. Most root vegetables, especially red beet and carrots grow satisfactorily, as does silver beet. The brassicas, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi grow extremely successfully, as well as broad beans and peas.The brackish water sounds like tannins from eucalypts,or melalueca?Just chuck alot of sedge and rush in the really wet section dianella lomandra etc etc and get a wet land/riparian established again.Greening Australia is your one stop species selection place with an excellent database it does that work for you.
Please tell your teacher to wake up and smell the coffee,I say hit him with a big species list, swale the hell out of the place and chuck a little Natural sequence farming at him as well,just call it sustainable poly culture most of these guys wont know the difference anyway.
My grand father used to say to me Fe Fe you little bastard Fe Fe, you will never dazzle them with your brilliance so just baffle them with your bullshit.
Good Luck Young Man
WB to the Forum.
Awesome! Sounds like a plan...
Originally Posted by alex s.
Don't tell them ('industry') it's permaculture. Instead, come at it from an 'economically viable' viewpoint, a 'business plan', if you like. 'Industry' will love it, and you.
Originally Posted by alex s.
I can help you with tree cropping. Others, I'm sure, will help you with grasses, sedges, herbs, groundcovers, etc.
First things first - work with what you have. Others (your fellow students, your teacher?) may be thinking about drainage works (see: image below), but not about the expense (both economically and environmentally) associated with this option. Leave the site mostly as it is. You will thus already have an advantage because your up front capital costs will be reduced.
Image source: http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/a0021e/a0021e0f.jpg
Secondly - site assessment. This will include contour mapping. This is a very important stage, because later it will form the basis for your species selection and plantings layout.
Thirdly - species research. You already know that the water table is saline and high (exposed scalding) in some areas. You may not be able to do a lot about this on your site in terms of recharge planting, because the area where your table is being recharged from may very well be offsite, and kilometers away. However by thinking and working 'up', and by 'mounding' the beds (see: image below) instead of working 'down' (cutting drainage lines, as in the first image), you will broaden the spectrum of the species that will grow on your site, for a fraction of the groundwork price, and at the same time reduce the overall risk of failure. 'Risk mitigation' is another term that is very 'industry acceptable'.
Image source: http://www.dnr.nsw.gov.au/salinity/i...-saline-ar.jpg
You will need to think about rotation - short to long. Short rotation (10-15 years) are usually 'pulping species', and could include salt-tolerant (in the sense that you can now source seedling stock specifically cultivated for highly saline conditions) and very much 'industry acceptable' crops such as Blue Gum (E. globulous). Medium rotation (15-50 years) might be something from the locally-indigenous species list, such as any of the saline-loving Grevillea sp. Long rotation (50-250 years) might be selected from the same list, but think about some of the more sought after structural timbers that you believe will be of benefit to society in 50-100 years time. The last is a bit of a harder sell to 'industry', because they want a 'quick return', but we are talking timber crops here.
Next - species selection and planting plan. By now you should have a list of plants with attributes ascribed both short to long rotation, and very salt tolerant to mildly tolerant. Build a matrix. This will be the start of your planting guide. Create your plan. For obvious reasons (because these will be your 'highest risk' plantings), the most salt tolerant PLUS the shortest rotation species should go on the contour in the lowest areas of your site (planted into the mounds, if need be). Try to keep the species alike on individual contours at this stage, as this will aid come harvesting time. The easier the trees are to harvest, the less cost, the more profit. Remember we are talking to 'industry' here. Gradually build up your planting plan, moving from the most salt tolerant and shortest rotation, to the least salt tolerant and longest rotation as you move up the contours. As you start to move up the contours with 'higher value, longer rotation' species, you can start to mix them up a bit. Most likely, these will be selectively-felled in time to come, rather than clear-felled, so harvesting concerns are not really an issue. Plus, you will being making the place more bio-diverse (at least in terms of upper story species).
Finally - pulling it all together. I realise I have outlined (and not very well, I am afraid) what can be a pretty daunting task. So I have provided you with a few links below that I think you should try to study, just to make the above points a little more clear:
QLD DPI - Tree plantations
QLD DERM - Managing salinity factsheets
Work hard, have fun, and stick with permaculture - even if 'industry' is a bit slow to catch on, it is the way of the future, Alex. The world needs more permies, and I hope you will join us in helping to make the world a better place.
Let me know if I can help any further.
Last edited by ecodharmamark; 17-08-2010 at 10:19 PM.
Looks like you have everyone working on this Alex!( we love puzzles and problems!)
Have a look at these threads too if you haven't already
Have you drafted anything/first thoughts yet?
"You can fix all the world's problems in a garden. .Most people don't know that" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohI6vnWZmk
Music can solve all the world's problems. Not many people know that- MA 2005
"Politicians will never solve 'The Problem' because they don't realise that they are the problem" R Parsons 2001
First of all, thank you soooo much for all your replies, youve given me alot to work with. Secondly, im sincerely sorry for the late reply, school's been quite hectic at the moment.
I had a discussion with my teacher, and this is what I can settle for:
-deep ripping to aerate the waterlogged/anaerobic soils either on contour or keyline
-he is kinda confused about not putting drains in, but hopefully ill win him over
-to demonstrate what ive "learnt" in class, im applying lime and dolomite (not sure about rates yet)
-Ive chosen asparagus and figs as my main crops, mainly because of the (restricting) climate and soil type and the fact that there's government literature that states their salt tolerance. Winter asparagus also fits into a niche market, so that makes my teacher happy. I also have a word limit on the report so I cant include more major crops without outlining certain benefits, issues, etc
-Ive been suggested to plant "cash crops" (onions/beetroot) between the asparagus during the winter (when theyre dormant)
-Ive chosen cowpea as a living mulch for the asparagus during the summer, but I need to do more research as I kinda just chose this on a whim
- I have taken ecodharmamark's advice and made a list that Ive quickly made and will add to (and edit) My teacher likes the rotation thing though,
-Also contemplating tea tree oil production as well (being melaleucas), but i know there wouldnt be any stills around (They are all on the NSW coast, right?). I dont know, my teacher seems to be fascinated by "cash crops". I was thinking this could replace some of the smaller tree species once theyve been harvested. I might not go with it though.
One question, does anyone know a perennial pasture that i could incorporate into the fig trees? Salt tolerant would be ideal.
Dominant Timber Species
-Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis)
-Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus grandis)
- Red River Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)
-Grey Box (Eucalyptus moluccana)
-Broad-Leaved Tea-Tree (Melaeuca quinquenervia)
-Prickly-Leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca nodosa)
-Weeping Paperbark (Melaleuca leucadendron)
-Swamp She-Oak(Casuarina obesa)
-River She-Oak(Casuarina cunninghamina)
-Coastal She-Oak(Casuarina equisetifolia)
-River Tea-Tree(Melaleuca bracteata)
-Golden Wreath Wattle (Acacia saligna)
-Swamp Wattle (Acacia retinodes)
-River Club Rush (Schenoplectus validus)
-Sea Rush (Juncus kraussii)
Ive also done a quick sketch of a possible property overlay. the trees arent really to scale but act more as a key. My main concern right now is that I dont have enough large trees in the recharge/transition zones of the paddock.