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Posts: 143
Location: Lemon Grove, CA
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Looking great, Greg! i especially like the 2 farmhands in one of the pics How long have you been there? and do you have anything on irrigation or do you water by hand? It sounds you have a lot of hugelkultur going. Did I get that right? Love it! Thank you.
 
Posts: 168
Location: SoCal, USDA Zone 10b
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Thanks, and same to you. Love those giant woodpiles!

We feed tree trimmings to our goats so we have LOTS of tree 'left overs', which is why I now own two chainsaws - a 14" Craftsman and a 20" Poulin. The big stuff goes into the woodpile for winter and the medium and small stuff goes into the bottom of whatever I'm currently piling compost into. I hide all the surplus wood and goat pen muckings in the garden out of necessity I'm just happy it happens to help things along!

I water by hand because it allows me to be right there in the action. I can see what effect a little mulch here or a little more water there has. Plus it's my chance to tan. My biggest hand watering revelations this season were that avocados in raised beds, mounds or boxes can't be over watered, grow like weeds and are both easy and forgiving, but avos in clay soil easily drown. My apples, almonds, plums, pears, peaches, willow, and orange on the other hand love my clay in any watering conditions.

Something I'm going to do since my raised beds with the trees are getting pretty spent is to drive a bunch of wood deep into the soil with my big sledge. I figure that driving wood into the beds will get some nutrients down deep without tearing up all the existing tree roots. Plus it will help me hide even more of the branches that are continually piling up. I'm also planning on planting cover crops this year to help break up the clay.

And since you showed me how to post pics, here are a few more. . .
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We go through alot of trees around these parts!
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One of our taro ponds with a tree frog.
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Hummer in our Fuji Apple.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Marianne West wrote:partly shaded by a jacaranda tree (nitrogen fixer and upper story).



Just wanted to point out that jacaranda is "mimosifolia" but not a legume, so it does not fix nitrogen, to my knowledge. It even needs a good soil... So I dropped the idea myself! When one has room, sure it is a beautiful tree, enjoy!

Order: Lamiales
Family: Bignoniaceae

 
Marianne West
Posts: 143
Location: Lemon Grove, CA
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Xisca, good point and I am not 100% sure of the answer. My PDC teacher made this claim and I did send him an email to clarify. This website might explain the statement http://www.laspilitas.com/advanced/advroots.htm It is mostly about CA natives, but here is a section where Jacaranda is mentioned.

From the website:
"Ectomycorrhiza is the second type of fungal association.

It is sometimes dominant amongst shrubs and trees in our Mediterranean climate where the rainfall is above 10 inches (30 cm), winter wet, summer dry. The plants that use ectomycorrhizal are under intermediate nutrient stress or seasonal nutrient stress. In our state the winter rains provide a specific bacterial haven for the limited breakdown of the litter in early winter and early spring, providing a small amount of nutrients. The ectomycorrhiza are active in most soils at these times when this nutrition is available to them. They are excellent at extracting the nutrients from the litter as it is being made available. (see Mulches) This litter in the wild may only be one cm. (1/2") thick. That cm. will contain the limiting nutrition for that site and provide the site protection from diseases.

It takes about 6-8 weeks before the ectomycorrhiza become functional on new roots. As ectomycorrhiza become functional they release a chemical (IAA) that encourages rooting (on them, not on other plants). What normally happens in mulched plantings is minimal top growth for a few months to a year after planting, then the plant grows fast. The young plant expends its energy for the first months on root growth and mycorrhizal establishment and has not accumulated enough auxin to stimulate top growth. One Arctostaphylos glandulosa was dug out of the demonstration garden because it was planted in the wrong spot, the roots had grown 1" in 10 days. (the root ball itself should have ectomycorrhiza present.) Other native plants have been moved after a year (they generally died after transplanting), and the root ball from a gallon plant is normally 3 feet across and deep.

It appears that many of our California plants have the ability to be both ectomycorrhizal and ericoid and/orVA. These plants serve as energy bridges/shunts in an ecosystem. The best examples of this are the oaks, willows, cottonwoods, currants, Rhamnus species, roses etc.. These plants act as bridges between water sources and dry hillside, different soil levels, different plant strategies and between different plant communities."

and:
"Non-native plants that can also be ectomycorrhizal (They might also sometimes be VA and sometimes they are not supported by our mycorrhiza.):

Abies, Cistus, Jacaranda, Picea, Pyrus, Tilia, Acacia, Crataegus, Juniperus, Pinus, Rhododendron, Tristania, Carya Cupressus, Larix, Platanus, Ribes, Tsuga, Cassia, Eucalyptus, Leptospermum, Prunus, Robina, Ulmus, Cedrus, Fagus, Malus, Pseudolarix, Rosa, Vicia, Celtis, Fraxinus, Melaleuca, Pseudotsuga, Sorbus, Vitis, Helianthemum

Generally, if the plant is Ectomycorrhizal or Arbutoid mycorrhizal they need to be mulched for the mycorrhiza to be stable. Arbutoid mycorrhiza is another type of mycorrhiza and only forms on some of the genus Arctostaphylos, Arbutus and a few Rhododendron spp. There is some dispute as to its identity. It may be only a funny ectomycorrhiza. The arbutoid fungi are basidiomycetes and are also called ectendomycorrhiza. We treat it here as ectomycorrhiza as we have found in our installations they are interchangeable as long as we plant by community."

So, maybe that is true for SoCA. Not so much the tree itself, but the associations. I emailed my teacher and asked to clarify......
And the tree will stay, no matter what. It came with the house, is long established and great for shade.......

 
Marianne West
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Greg, I am loving your pictures! Can you tell me more about the ponds. Size, how you build them. did the frogs come or did you bring them in............ And more pics!!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Posts: 1981
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Marianne, you link to an interesting web-site!

Isn't the nitrogen fixing coming from rhizobium (associated with the fabaceae family) more than from mycorize?
rhizobium is a bacteria and mycorize a fungus.

It will be interesting to have your teacher's answer...
 
greg patrick
Posts: 168
Location: SoCal, USDA Zone 10b
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Marianne West wrote:Greg, I am loving your pictures! Can you tell me more about the ponds. Size, how you build them. did the frogs come or did you bring them in............ And more pics!!



Our ponds are all plastic liner types with cheap Harbor Freight pumps (they cost 10-20 bucks and usually last several years). We have four ponds. Two are 150 gal polyethlene pre-fabs (one salvaged, one on sale). Another is a 50 gal trash can sunk into a raised bed. Another is probably about 75 gal. They have been adopted by all three frogs native in our area: Pacific Chorus, California Tree frog, and California Toads. We used fat head minnows for larvae control as they don't eat the tadpoles like 'mosquito fish' or goldfish will. We keep them full of taro, duckweed, and other plants, and we're looking at putting more native plants into them this season. Also, I'm running water between one pond and a simple aquaponic system and it's working well except for a leak in a hose.

One downside: They attract racoons.
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pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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Ok well I've never tried to download a photo on here so I'll try one, if it does download properly it is a photo of a few of my baby pear trees planted along our deck railing, underplanted with comfrey, daylillies, and some other insectary plants.
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