Just to update this one. When I wrote that article it was commonly thought that the maximum forage range of the stingless bee species in my area was approximately 500m. I made the above images based on this information.
The scientists behind the linked article below have now (well its over a year old) found that these little bees will travel 720m :)
Vetiver would definitely be the way I would go if the climate is suitable.
As Michael said above, propagation is simple and is as he described. I turned 30ish slips into 90m of hedge (at 10cm centres) in about a year.
Make your slip spacing 10cm, no more. I have used it a lot here and that works best for quickly establishing a hedge that will hold back sediment and slow down water. When I plant it I basically pull up year old plants, split them up and plant the slips. I cut the roots and tops off the slips to aid quick establishment. The cut off leaves are placed on the uphill side of the slips and so the hedge starts working immediately.
Go for it :) If you enjoy it anyway then no harm. From what I see, being consistent is very important for people finding/reading your stuff.
I have set myself the goal of writing something every week (and an extra post where possible) for a year. It’s just for fun but I have noticed my stuff getting click throughs from the search engines more. Of course your basic seo is important too.
William Bronson wrote: Thanks for sharing your work here!
Have you had any problem with quail a6tacking each orher?
I would like to keep quail in reset beds,but I've read horror stories about inexplicable agression,eyes pecked out,etc.
Thank you for your comments. No I haven't. I had also read about aggression but it has never been a problem here. I wonder if space, numbers or even the breeding line contributes to aggression issues? I wouldn't let it stop you Let me know how you go!
I wanted to share some videos at the site.
The first is of a busy stingless bee hive on a winters day. They were unusually busy and at first I suspected a takeover. Turns out it wasn't so now think that perhaps something happened to the queen and that hive and this was the mating swarm of the new queen. Unusual time of year for it!
I have black mulberry and red shahtoot mulberry. I think that one is called Pakistani mulberry elsewhere, it is actually a type of white mulberry. Harvesting has always been by hand. As said above you do get more mulberry with the long Pakistani ones but the black mulberry is more productive, at least here.
One thing I have found though is this. Queensland fruit fly is very common here (well it is Queensland) and there is a bit of a myth that mulberry are not targeted. I think what is actually happening is that mulberry just ripen so quick that you never notice them if you get what I mean. When harvesting I always freez the berries straight away to avoid the issue of them hatching and making a mess. I found this through experience. The berries don't last anyway and once frozen they can be used when needed for drinks, jams, cooking etc.
My dog destroyed every new tree she could get at when she was a pup and she had a plenty of space, she would go out of her way haha. She even pulled half grown bananas out of the ground (38kg dog) I built tree guards (a loop of sturdy fence wire) that I put around all newly planted trees to protect them. Once she was a little older and they had been there a while she would get over it and they were semi safe. The key now days is making her think it has always been there haha. Wire guard for a week or so and they are golden. May work for you?
Anybody have any thoughts on chickens vs quail? I did a little comparison, feel free to add!
In a nutshell I find quail to be really very awesome. Quail are more economical/productive for both meat and eggs and have a much quicker turnover than chickens. This kind of flies in the face of what makes sense to some but my experience and the research I have read supports the idea. Chickens of course have other uses such as preparing ground, processing organic matter and making compost. In a permi system they can also be less work. Quail are pretty useless for these purposes, though if you have found a way please share it with me! I keep both, they both have their advantages and I need the composting power of chickens. Quail really shouldn't be overlooked, especially by those who live where space is at a premium. I would like to try ducks in the future though not for any practical reason, I just like them
The quail tractors I currently use. These have automatic water (drippers) and are easy enough to move around. They have some downsides though. They are breaking down quickly in our warm, humid weather and I really need to fix the feed delivery. Mk2 will probably be welded steel frame and will have an external feed tube along the opposite side to the water.
I thought I would start a thread to share what I am doing on my just over half acre urban permaculture homestead. The site is named Boobook Farm after the common local owl species.
The aim for the site is to produce a lot of our greens and fruit as well as some of our meat. I also produce fruit trees and a little surplus food for others. I keep a blog of what we do and share information at my site http://boobookfarm.com
Climate - I am located just outside Brisbane, Australia. It is a subtropical climate with about 1100mm of rain a year.
Greens - I have beds in the ground and several edible trees and ground covers in the food forest (moringa, sweet leaf, sweet potato, Brazilian spinach etc). I have also just started fiddling with aquaponics but it is early days.
Fruit - Mainly tropical and subtropical fruit trees. Many are pruned for size control/ease of picking. The list is huge but includes mango, avocado, jackfruit, mulberry, black sapote, mamey sapote, jaboticaba, yellow sapote, Kwai muk, lychee, longan, banana, star fruit, dragon fruit, macadamia and many others.
Meat - I raise quail for meat and eggs in quail tractors. I also keep a few chickens for eggs and composting purposes. Off site I do a little hunting of pest species here.
I'll post back when I do things I think are interesting or with articles etc. this thread will sort of be a log on permies
Definitely check out Curtis Stone. 1/3 of an acre is fine for quite a bit of production with the vegies but you can always have more space for fruit trees (and stock if you decide to add them). I wish I had 20 acres but currently work with my 1/2 an acre permaculture site. If I am honest with myself it will be a long time until I run out of space, a lot can be done with stacking. I grow big tropical trees too (mango, various sapote, avocado, jackfruit etc). Pruning works wonders in these situations and my climate allows for dense planting, I have plenty of sun. The limiting factor here is the limitations regarding stock but quail have been my answer and I raise them outside in tractors. I keep a few chickens too to keep the wife happy but if I am honest they have nothing on the quail, look into quail
With the intensive management possible in a smaller space you can really do a lot per meter and the beauty of an urban situation is that you can convert waste streams to be your inputs. Would love to follow your project when you get started.
I had this exact problem with my young Doberman and a 70m fence. Her and the neighbours dog ran up and down together like crazy. We (the neighbour and I) didn't mind them playing but it was becoming an erosion issue. My dog (being young) was the instigator 90% of the time.
I ran a hot wire held off the fence for its length. About 45cm off the ground. This kept her away from the fence. I then planted a hedge on the fence line. In my case I used vetiver, a hedging grass. I am only a few months in now but the grass is almost tall and strong enough that I can take the wire down. They still play through the fence which is fine but as she can't see over it they only go to see each other when they really want the company.
Ok for starters I will share the articles so far. Over time I will update these articles as we learn more and discover better ways of doing things.
Cancel Your Phone Book - We started off with a quick guide detailing how those in Australia can cancel their automatic phone book delivery. It seems crazy in this day and age that every single household needs a massive annual phone book. Cancelling your phonebook saves paper and the energy needed to manufacture it.
Growing Bananas - How we grow bananas here. Bananas are one of our most productive crops and certainly keep you motivated.
Compost Worms - Worms are an integral part of our system. Being in a warmer climate they are pretty much always 'on' here.
Vetiver - Vetiver is one of my favourite plants. It is amazing for managing erosion and for slowing down water.
Dragon Fruit - How we grow dragon fruit at Pobblebonk. We only grow the yellow and red with red center dragon fruit but the techniques are the same for all varieties.
That's it for now, I will post more as/when we write them
I have been working on a website sharing what we do here on a half acre in sub tropical Queensland, Australia. The tagline is sustainability in the suburbs and that is what we are working towards. We are aware we will never completely get there, but we will get closer I have just started a links page and now that I have linked to Permies, something I wanted to do first, I thought I would begin sharing here.
The idea behind the website is that I share what we do on our half acre via articles that teach others how to do the same. So far I have and I plan to continue to write one article per week. In time some of the articles will be about off site systems but I will make it very clear when that is the case.
You can see the website at pobblebonk.com.au The name is a tribute to a local frog species found here. As I write articles I will post them here with a short description.
No idea what they are doing. Very strange sounding!
I will comment that bananas certainly don't "usually take two years" though. Mine take much less than that (about 14 months) and I grow large varieties in the subtropics. I know some varieties in the tropics take as little as 6 months. The suckers after that first stalk are obviously well along by then and the bunches after that first one are much closer together, maybe that is what they mean?
How big is your property? I hate to say but if they can go from tree to tree there isn't much I can think of that works (other than continual removal). While my trees are small here the dog is enough but I remember as a kid on my parents property having no luck at all.
While I agree it can be said in a more polite way I think it is very important to be able to ask for evidence (coming from a science background). One of the only weaknesses of permaculture is that there is so much made up crap diluting the stuff that actually works. When ideas are beyond questioning for fear of hurting somebodies fragile feelings then it is hard to make progress or be taken seriously. Anecdotes are anecdotes and it's fine if that's all they are, maybe it is something worth further investigation and the poster could be the person that does that. I thought your request was warranted Eric..
If you are keeping them in a log or box then Sydney is roughly the limit though I do know of somebody that kept them in Victoria. He was heating the hives though and I don't know how successful he was.
I had to look up what 95 was in calcius haha. We get a fair bit hotter than that and have no issues keeping the worms happy in the shade. Do you have a patio you could put them on or can you just put some shade cloth over them? Composting easy easy but worms are cool
I would give the paintbrush a shot. I don't know a lot about flax but it is worth saying that as you no doubt know, bees are only one group of pollinators. The second largest group of pollinators is actually the flies and then we have beetles, butterflies etc and vertebrates. I wonder if there is some other pollinator that has evolved alongside flax? Again, I know little about flax but interesting topic.
I only know what I have observed with regards to your questions. Yes all natural hive propagation (that I have observed) has been to relatively close locations. They don't swarm as such, they just slowly fill a new hive with resources before sending over a queen and some workers. Because of this it would usually be within the normal forage range. They will also take over another occupied hive by fighting/killing but again it would have to be in the normal foraging range. They are certainly interesting bees to work with
With regards to density I have seen natural densities up to 10/acre but I hypothesise that the limiting factor in nature is the number of suitable tree hollows. They certainly don't mind high density (except for the fighting in spring/summer).
I thought it would be interesting to visually compare the flight range of stingless bees and honey bees. I used Google Earth and the relative published research to make a comparison based on the Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane, Australia.
To be clear I don't keep bees at Northey Street (I have done similar diagrams for my sites) but it is a place most Australians will know and they do have both kinds of bee there.
The comparison really shows why site selection is that much more important for stingless bees.
The green is the flight range of stingless bees while the yellow is that of honey bees. Honey bees will actually forage further than this but hive weight decreases when that is the only forage and so it can't be considered sustainable.
So the feeders work perfectly well as expected. I advocate their use for those with only a few hives. For my situation though keeping the feeders topped up is time consuming and fiddly so I am now working on a communal feeder that will only be accessible to stingless bees. This will have a large volume and help me with hive management at the scale I am looking for. Details to come.