Meridie Fricker

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since Jun 18, 2015
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Recent posts by Meridie Fricker

With regard to the area of stinging nettles.... yes, save part of this area for cooking, but nettles are a valuable resource of minerals. Compost activator, nutrient rich mulch, soil builder, chicken food. Good luck with your new project.
I’ve also had a similar problem with old building rubble left over from several renovations piled under a large tree. Using a large loader to lift and remove several bucket loads looked like it was the answer until I saw roots from the tree being exposed (at waist height) so discontinued the removal. Weeded and mulched the pile with wood chips, planted small yuccas and succulents into pockets between rocks and large yuccas around the deeper soil at the edge. Though this has solved the ugly rubble eyesore, the mulch does tend to slide off the steeper sided slope (where we abruptly halted the loader action).
5 months ago
There are many interpretations of ‘Back to Eden’ gardening and I’ve tried various versions in many climate zones in Australia. I’ve always applied wood chips on top of the soil surface (never mixed with soil or used as a base layer). I’ve had great success blocking weeds by using wood chips over cardboard when preparing new beds and moderate success using chips without the cardboard as weed blocker.  
I have found that where I’ve used cardboard and mulch to block couch grass, the garden beds are generally weed free up to the near-edge of the couch grass, but the grass runners seem attracted to the rich soil developing under the mulch and persistently invade the border. Using a ‘spade-trench’ gutter is a high maintenance solution, that only works until my back is turned! Keeping a sharp edge by vigilant spading keeps the couch at bay, but results in an ever widening garden bed.
While gardening in a high rainfall (52” per annum) cool temperate zone in Victoria, getting quality wood chips delivered was an easy solution. I’m now in a remote semi arid zone, 55km from the nearest very small town, so wood chips are not readily available. A neighbouring farmer is chipping eucalyptus trees for distilling oil and though I’ve heard this could be allelopathic, I’ve not had a problem mulching with this mulch (so far). I’ll use these Eucalypt chips in my new food forest and ornamental beds and to define pathways in other areas.
Another point re ‘Back to Eden’:  Paul advocates using ‘whole tree’ chips, not just bark chips.

F Agricola wrote:
Envious! Yes, that would be perfect stuff to use on garden pathways and, the smaller chips could be incorporated into compost.

Oh good, thanks for your encouragement. Will make the Eucalypt pathways in Stage One and stockpile/compost the remainder for Stages 2 & 3 (6-12 months away) a few metres away by the compost bays.

1 year ago

Ray South wrote:I’ve used eucalypt woodchip, albeit mixed with other species, on veg beds without any problems of allelopathy or otherwise. I cannot see any issue if you are using it just on paths. The oils in the wood will break down over time and while doing so may inhibit weed growth in the paths.

Thanks Ray, you’ve given me hope. Theoretically the mulch won’t have much oil as that’s what is being extracted. The proposed food forest is fairly large - Stage one is about 35m x 18m. Already mulched with spoilt hay and sheep manure (brewing in situ for the last 12 months). Just waiting for the fencing to be completed, against marauding sheep, feral goats, kangaroos and wallabies.
I’ve already propagated a few trees for the FF, but will establish tough ‘shelter belt’ hedges as windbreaks and nurse/shade trees first.
1 year ago
shrubs or forbs which are known to tolerate that plant and form a guild with it, if one plants those as a "buffer" between it and the other plants one wants to grow, it will help them all "play nice" together.

Great suggestion! Time for some research. I’m planning on growing trees/shrubs etc that do well in an arid-temperate (we’re on the cusp) zones with an annual rainfall of 12”, though the last two years we’ve been here have only had 8”. Watching Geoff Lawton’s Greening the Desert videos helps.
I’ve found information on plants that tolerate walnut, but conflicting reports re eucalypts.
1 year ago
Hi all,
My neighbour has a commercial distiller visiting his property to process thousands of Eucalyptus trees to make Eucalyptus oil. We have a loader, access to trucks and other large machinery - and a large food forest needing many metres of paths..... Can I use this byproduct/waste as paths through my future food forest and other areas where weed free paths are required? I intend to use spoilt hay, sheep manure and chop + drop as mulch close to plants, but would like to mulch the paths with the Eucalyptus.
Before you suggest I’d be better off getting the local tree loppers to deliver, I’m hundreds of kilometres from these services....
I’d be nervous walking through/harvesting/pruning in my future food forest without clear wide paths as we have the most venomous snakes and spiders on the planet sharing our home (I’ve disturbed several red back spiders in the last week and encountered a couple of 2-3 metre snakes in the paved verandah/carport/pergola area surrounding the house.)
This bounty of low cost mulch on our door step could be manna from heaven.... or a complete disaster for our food forest. Conflicting reports on the internet...
Not sure what species of Eucalypts are being distilled, but I know they’re a mixed bag.....
Any help or advice appreciated!
1 year ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:.....where my bindweed lives (we're currently smothering it under black plastic). I've been wondering if other vining plants might help compete it...

Nicole why don't you try cardboard covered by mulch to suppress the bindweed? It breaks down gradually which the soil loves and won't suffocate the air out of your soil.
4 years ago
... That's liCe and mites of course! (Bloody autocorrect!) I also like the strawberry ground cover suggestion. And I've just remembered some raspberry canes I've propagated - a climbing wall of fruit, fertilised by my girls! The beauty of the wire ceiling on the yard is that I can retrain all the fruiting vines to hang down through the wire... Protected from possums and any fruit that drops can be cleaned up by the hungry hordes. I'm in a cool mountain zone in Austalia, so it's all trial and error, since we moved here 5 months ago.
4 years ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:Thank you, William! That's really great to know. It makes me almost want to risk planting some over where my bindweed lives (we're currently smothering it under black plastic). I've been wondering if other vining plants might help compete it...

I have a large chicken yard (fox proof wire walls and roof) with three well established kiwis and hope to add my 3 new kiwis plus passion fruit. I like the suggestion of adding grapevines, so will try this too.  Inside the yard I plan an informal Artemesia (wormwood) hedge closely fenced to protect from the chooks, but growing through the fence so the chickens brush up against the hedge, which will protect them from live and mites.
4 years ago