Monday, December 27, 2010

Native Grass

 Kangaroo Grass
Before this year, I never thought native grasses still existed on farmland. I'd grown up with the idea that you sow seed for "improved pasture". Clovers, ryegrass, phalaris and such. I thought with the high impact of stock and tillage native grasses would have been banished to state forests.

I was very pleased when my friend identified a few native grasses on my plot earlier this year. I'm new to identifying them, but am excited they exist. I have since discovered that it isn't so bizarre to have native grasses on farms and with careful management, such as holistic management which uses stock for an intense period and then rest, you can have a diverse array of native grasses. As they are native to the area, they are a somewhat more reliable pasture plus don't cost you to establish.

I knew one corner of the cleared area of my plot had native grass. The other day I noticed a second patch of Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra). It has a lovely red this time of year (summer) and has become a more rusty red since I took this photo.

The other I have noticed is Weeping Grass (Microleana stipoides).

Weeping Grass

In December there was a big flood in the King Valley: bigger than in September. The lower parts of my plot were flooded. The water from the road also cut across the plot, flattening the very tall phalaris so I could easily see its path. Principle One in permaculture is Observe and Interact. This was an excellent way to observe!

In my permaculture design of the plot, I had thought the lower area may be prone to flooding so have factored this in. Now it has been confirmed. The trees I had planted were higher up on the slope, so out of harm's way.

The flood also did a fantastic job pushing a lot of blackberry out of the way. If I can get stock in to knock it around some more, I may maintain good access for me to walk to the creek on the north side. The flood dumped so much sand around the creek, a potential new resource for me.

The Black Locust (Robinia psuedoacacia) forest creates a lovely light. It is a welcome retreat from the scorching summer heat (up to 40 degrees) that is sure to come in the next couple of months.
Black locust

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