Annalisa Bellu

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since May 03, 2012
Serra de Montemuro, Portugal
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Recent posts by Annalisa Bellu

I live in an entirely different part of the world (central Portugal mountain) and the old (and new) folks of my village do a two sisters (sometimes three sisters) with corn and beans and what they say that the system is good especially for the beans. They don't do that for the corn. For some of them, the only reason they do plant corn is to get better beans....They say that one of the reason to do this two sister system is that they need to water less. And off course they also don't need to put poles for the beans (if using pole beans). Anyway I will give it a go using also squash in the middle...
8 months ago
Actually I don't remember which variety this one is... Smallish round plums, deep pink. Quite sweet also.
Two years ago the tree was so loaded with them that three branches collapsed. I should have prevented that, but we did not...
Last year we got none because of late frost (which is typical where I live). This year looks promising though. Let's see.
If I found the variety I'll let you know David Livingstone.
1 year ago
Hi everybody
Last year, to mark out my currants little nursery I used some cut branches from a plum tree I have. Well, three of them seem to have rooted...Does anybody have experience on this? I mean, if the new trees survive, what about its vigour, for example.
I know that generally plum trees, like any other fruit tree bought in a nursery, are grafted onto something else (I don't know what else...), in order to improve the tree resistance and vigour, I guess. Would my true plum tree be more prone to diseases, do you think?

P.S.: Off topic but still...Spring is just beautiful this year here in Portugal! But we could use a good rain....
1 year ago
Thank you Bryant, again! For the feedback and suggestions.

As for the water tank, the cheapest solution I sow, so far, is a garden swimming pool with, if I remember well, can store up to 12 m3 (around 300 euros). A concrete tank would cost above a thousand, but off course it would be more durable...Proper metal irrigation tanks also cost above 1000 euros or 2000...

We already dug a small pond where water from the ditch system flow in, but it also flow out, of course, so we need to put some kind of liner in it to avoid the leaks.

Thank you all for the suggestions!

How do you define high desert climate, Bryant RedHawk? I don't know if we have this type here in Portugal.
According to bioclimatological maps, this area is hyper-humid. We do have a lot of rain here. Summer is dry, it is true, but generally we have water running through the ditch system (used  to water the meadow/pasture traditional system "lameiros") till July.
The pasture where I am planting the berry orchard can easily get water till July through this system. It only can dry out (not always too badly) in August and September.

Your system seems interesting but maybe it would be too labour intensive if you have 200 hundreds or more bushes.

I was thinking about drip irrigation using water from a tank (which I still have to purchase and dimension)...Anyway it does seem a huge amount of water...

If I cover the manure with a thick layer of bark or chips wouldn't that help kill the grasses beneath?
In between rows (berries lines are 2 m apart) I will keep grass low, cutting it back several time throughout the year. I can use the fresh grass for my chicken and also dry grass for bedding or deep litter. Or I could use a chicken tractor system...

Hi David Livingston and thank you in advance.
I live in central Portugal at 1000 m. We've got around 2000mm of rain during the year, mostly during winter and spring (till May/June). Summer varies, but let's say that mid July/August and September can be dry and hot (oro-mediterranean climate). Last summer was extremely hot and dry till end of September and we had very little rain till November.
Soil is acidic and sandy, quite poor due to the texture and heavy rain.

Thank you again
At last! I am implementing my little berry orchard! Here is what I am doing: the field is currently a meadow and I just open holes directly into the sod, put the rooted little currant plant (made myself from hardwood cutting last winter), put some compost and soil in it, and that's it.
Next steps: 1) spread some cow manure around each plant, on top of the sod; 2) mulch with wood chips or pine bark on top of manure/sod. What do you think?
People here say I should have dug the field and incorporated manure, but I didn't want to disturb the soil too much and didn't want the hassle...Am I overoptimistic (or just lazy)?

Moving on, I am now figuring out how much water will I need in the summer in order to purchase the right sized water tank (low budget). The only information I found says that I need around 20-25 litres per squared meter per week.
So, beginner questions: how do I translate this into need per plant? One plant counts for one squared meter? If the soil is mulched with bark or chips will the needs lower? How much?

Any help is very very welcome!
Thank you Burra Maluca. Actually from what the seller told me and from a quick search on the internet I got the idea that bark break slower which could be good if you don't want to replace it frequently and if the main point is weed suppression. As to soil building, I thought wood chip would be better (following back to eden film...). I also read somewhere that bark does not soak like wood chip so it has a worse water retention effect. I am interested in both weed suppression and soil building/water retention properties. It might depend on the plant type (what tree does your bark come from?) the weather pattern or soil type, as you said.
2 years ago
This autumn I will finally begin my mixed berry orchard in central Portugal (1000m above sea level). I decided to go for a natural vs. plastic mulch and I have to decide between bark and wood chip (both from Pinus pinaster). Prices are similar, bark being a little cheaper (19 vs 20.8 euros/cubic meter). I need your opinion on which one is best performing and why...
I was also thinking about doing some kind of experimental test using different types of mulching and gathering some maybe useful data along the years, but still, I would appreciate some insights!!! Thank you in advance
2 years ago
Do you feed the whole oat with hull and everything, Tyler Ludens? I am currently giving them whole wheat because I thought they wouldn't like the hull/husk bit...
2 years ago