Just wondering what people are using for biomass plants.
Next year I want to plant for calories (to eat) and for biomass (to use for organic material / rotting roots).
I'm looking for either annual plants that fruit and die or perennial that I can chop and drop.
I'm thinking of these...
-Rape Seed (you can eat the leaves, looks like it might have a big root)
-Common Cover crops like Oats, Buckwheat, Clover
-Pampas grass (big generator of grass-ish material with convenient harvesting)
-More potatoes (calories)
-Comfrey (have 3-4 seedlings growing now)
-Some conifer to chop and drop for blueberry plants (good idea?)
-Sunchokes (hopefully next year it will be more fruitful, this year not much is going)
-Weeds/Grass (should be able to harvest a lot of that next year from adjacent field. Just have to keep the mower running!)
Broad beans (aka fava beans). My absolute favourite biomass, nitrogen-fixer, as well as fresh and dried beans. The tops are tasty, too.
It also flowers very early in the spring, just in time to feed the first bumblebees. And the flowers smell yummy
Pampas is a noxious plant in NZ.
I'd get more (sterile) comfrey going as soon as possible.
Will alfalfa grow for you? It's a perennial with a heck of a root system, and harvesting the tops would shear off lots underground.
Daikon: harvest slim ones, leave the rest till massive. Take the tops off with a machete and cover with mulch to rot in the ground. Warning, if not thickly mulched, it can be a bit pongy....
One of the favourite biomass plants in Australasia is tagasaste or tree lucerne. Great stock/bee fodder, nitrogen-fixing, pioneer, fast growing, coppicing...
Downsides: it's not very good in the wind and it's pretty invasive in some places.
Pastinaca sativa grows wild on a meadow here and it's a wonderful root crop in first year and amazing biomass in second, it grows back like crazy. It has deep root, another good thing and i like to let it go to flower in second year, bees and others love it. Also i let it go to seed a lot and broadcast it all over the place.
Sumac grows invasively around here. Yet it looks like it could produce a lot for chopping and dropping. Would inserting that for biomass be something I regret?
Years ago I dug a ton of them out over a week of digging. They transplanted them to fix a berm. I'd rather not spend a week digging things out again, if it can't play nice...
I already have Black Locust (yay) growing invasively, and I chop/drop that...but it's still not enough.
Yarrow and Motherwort are the 2 things i find myself chopping and dropping most frequently in my garden.
If those Sumac survive the transplant (never had much luck with that) they will likely spread, so you'd be yanking out suckers every now and then, but if building up biomass is your aim, that shouldnt be a problem.
As a side note, Sumac berry clusters make a pretty tasty vitamin C-rich tea. (i just steep them overnight in some water and strain them) a bit of sweetener is useful.