• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Omega Level Diversity Question  RSS feed

 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 357
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I read your "Maximizing Omega-Level Diversity" article on the PRI site and some questions have come to my mind in response.

1. In the winnowing down that comes in selecting plants for a food forest, is Omega diversity valued highly enough that it might tip the scale in favor of plants like Autumn Olive?

2. In the article you mention Ericaceae as an example of a family that prefers certain conditions, acidity in their case. Is it worth it to try to bring members from those kinds of families into a design with conditions that aren't suited to them? Would it be worth it to try to create microclimates for that purpose (like a pine hugelbed?) Find members who are better suited but perhaps not as useful?

3. This seems like a very useful thing to be thinking about when designing food forests, is there anything else like that that the experts think about when yinz design n'at?

Thanks for all your inspiring work!
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1320
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Isaac, can you please link to the article, as I do not understand you very well here. Thanks!
 
Isaac Hill
gardener
Posts: 357
Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania (~ zone 6)
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah, here it is: http://permaculturenews.org/2012/08/25/maximizing-omega-level-diversity/
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1320
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ok, now I have read it and I understand!

For your second point, my feeling is that omega diversity is not so strict a rule as to try to make a plant absolutely fit into the design. I have seen 2 advantages of omega thinking:
- discovering the orders and not only the families helps you widen your choices with species you did not think of.
- it helps you be cautious not to plant to many of the same families, especially the rose family (cherry, apple..). Interplanting trees of other families, or shrubs and herbs nearby, can help deter pests.

I like this at the end of the article:
"A challenge: Can you get a member of every one of these orders in your forest garden? Can you add some more not listed here? "
So I have started my list...
 
Eric Toensmeier
Author
Posts: 145
56
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi all, excellent questions. I've been really enjoying seeing that some people actually care about the idea of Omega level diversity. I agree with the comments above that for me the bottom line is the polycultures have to work as plant communities ("guilds"). All the members need to be suited to the soil, light, moisture and so on, and need to work towards achieving the goals for productivity and agroecosystem services.

I wouldn't add Russian or autumn olive solely for this reason. But I do think that every chance we have to add a native species or a species from and under represented order to fill an available niche is a good thing. With thousands and thousands of plants to choose from, oh mega level diversity is a tool we can use to make the most interesting selections possible and perhaps to cut down on our pests and diseases to some degree. Obviously deer and honey mushrooms are going to eat almost everything, but most insect pests and fungal and bacterial diseases are relatively post-family specific.

I feel like this is particularly important in cold climate forest gardens where so many of our plants are going to be in the Rose family (apples, pears, peaches, plums etc.), the mint family, the legumes, and the aster and umbel families. Let's not just repeat those families in our groundcovers and other useful and functional plants, but try especially to use ferns and conifers, primitive magnoliids, and monocots.

 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1320
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Isaac, are you interested by the challenge too?
I find it quite interesting, as I would not have expected the orange to be in the same order as ...soap nut, cashew and mango!!!
olive and jasmine are lamiales as rosemary... and so on!

I will post my findings, in permaculture news, according to the plants I have already, but would you like to extend this post with this, or will you find it spoiling it?

Just tell...
 
We don't have time for this. We've gotta save the moon! Or check this out:
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!