By Thunder Its Good

FOR YOU!

Permaculture plants

Here we feature some plants that have proven invaluable in the setting up of our orchard. They have been used in the establishment of shelter belts, and as under-storey for fruit trees.

Bana grass

One of the first and most important tasks in setting up an orchard is considering the long term benefits of shelter. Almost all fruiting trees require some form of protection from the elements, sometimes they can themselves form the shelter, consider a row of chestnuts with an outside understory of feijoas providing the low and the chestnuts the higher filter for prevailing wind. By this means we can have a productive shelter belt of mixed plant varieties.

However these trees also require nurturing in their formative development, this is where a quick growing short term shelter belt (1m wide) pays off.

Bana grass is a drought resistant African sugar grass that grows to 3m high in 18 months from planting, it is ideal for winter fodder for stock, the leaves can be cut up to three times a year for composting. Being a grass it can be easily removed either by successive mowing or uprooting their shallow root system(100mm).

Propagation is either by division of the root mass or the mature canes can be put into a shallow trench in early spring and they will shoot at each nodule then cut into sections with secateurs and replanted. Mature plantings do not do well under trees so as the nursery trees grow they will out compete the bana grass and it will die back.

Supply of canes in early spring and root clumps in summer can be made by contacting me at info@thundermountain.net.nz

Bana grass is a hybrid derived from the annual babala (Pennisetum americanum) and the perennial Napier grass (P. purpureum). The name is said to be an acronym that orginates from the ‘ba’ in babala and the ‘na’ in Napier, although some say it’s a corruption of the word Ghana, a country where the grass is prevalent. http://www.farmersweekly.co.za/article.aspx?id=60491&h=Back-to-Bana



Comfrey 500gsm bag

Comfrey is a very special plant with so many uses. It’s the ultimate companion plant for fruit trees. The long tap root mines minerals to the topsoil and opens heavy soils. The dense clump of foliage keeps weeds away from the base of your fruit tree and moisture in over the summer, then come autumn all that nutritious foliage dies down returning all those nutrients to the soil for this reason it is known as a dynamic accumulator.

Comfrey also makes a super liquid feed, is great for the compost pile. Animals benefit from eating it – especially chooks. Medicinally it’s a very effective drawing poultice.

Do take care at planting, where you put it there it stays! It’s reputation as invasive is well deserved not only the root but also the stem is easily propagated (even by accident during feeding to stock).

However the pro’s far outweigh the cons, so manage its spread with intelligent planning. Boundaries like roads and driveways will keep it in check, as will animal runs or paddocks, and mowing strips. Regular harvesting will slow the spread down a lot. Come up with a cunning plan.

To plant the root cuttings simply make a hole, fill with compost and pop the cutting in. Steadily increase your comfrey by taking new root cuttings in spring each year.


"Comfrey is a common name for plants in the genus Symphytum. Comfrey species are important herbs in organic gardening. It is used as a fertilizer and as an herbal medicine. The most commonly used species is Russian comfrey Symphytum × uplandicum , which is a cross or hybrid of Symphytum officinale (Common Comfrey) and Symphytum asperum (Rough Comfrey)."

Comfrey root is sold in 500gsm multiples for $8.00 each plus freight(can be sent with tree orders in July no charge).

Orders can be made by contacting me at info@thundermountain.net.nz


Jerusalem Artichoke 500gsm bag

Jerusalem artichoke is a bumpy, fleshy, root vegetable of sunflower family plants. Its underground nutty, flavorful, starch-rich root is eaten much the same way like potato in many parts of Western Europe and Mediterranean regions. Jerusalem artichokes are native to the central regions of North America. The plant is technically an evergreen perennial, but cultivated as annual crop. Once established, it grows vigorously with multiple branches, reaching about 2-3 metres in height, slightly taller than sunflower plant, and carries many golden-yellow flower heads at the terminal end of branches.

The plant bears numerous starchy edible rhizomes firmly attached to stem underneath the ground surface.




Jerusalem artichoke nutrition facts

Jerusalem artichoke is a bumpy, fleshy, root vegetable of sunflower family plants. Its underground nutty, flavorful, starch-rich root is eaten much the same way like potato in many parts of Western Europe and Mediterranean regions.

It should not be confused to globe artichoke, which is an edible flower bud. Similarly, their name is widely misunderstood as “artichokes from Jerusalem” which is misinterpreted for the Italian girasole articiocco, which translates to sunflower artichoke in English. Some of the common names are sunroot, sunchoke, topinambour etc. Scientific name: Helianthus tuberosus.

Jerusalem artichokes are native to the central regions of North America. The plant is technically an evergreen perennial, but cultivated as annual crop. Once established, it grows vigorously with multiple branches, reaching about 5-10 feet height, slightly taller than sunflower plant, and carries many golden-yellow flower heads at the terminal end of branches.

The plant bears numerous starchy edible rhizomes firmly attached to stem underneath the ground surface. Jerusalem tubers feature grey, purple, or pink skin externally, and sweet delicate textured ice-white flesh inside. Some roots have quite bumpy and extremely knobby outer surface, making their cleaning a tougher task. Each tuber weighs about 75 to 200 g.

Health benefits of Jerusalem artichoke

  Jerusalem artichoke is moderately high in calories; provides about 73 calories per 100 g, roughly equivalent to that of potatoes. The root has negligible amounts of fat and contains zero cholesterol. Nevertheless, it's high-quality phyto-nutrition profile comprises of dietary fiber (non-starch carbohydrates), and antioxidants, in addition to small proportions of minerals, and vitamins.

  It is one of the finest source dietary fibers, especially high in oligo-fructose inulin, which is a soluble non-starch polysaccharide. Inulin should not be confused for insulin, which is a hormone. The root provides 1.6 mg or 4% of fiber. Inulin is a zero calorie saccharine, and inert carbohydrate, which does not undergo metabolism inside the human body, and thereby; make this tuber an ideal sweetener in diabetics and dietetics.

  Soluble as well as insoluble fibers in this tuber add up to the bulk of food by retaining moisture in the gut. Studies suggest that adequate roughage in the diet helps reduce constipation problems. Dietary Fibers also offer some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut.

  The tuber contains small amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E. These vitamins, together with flavonoid compound like carotenes, helps scavenge harmful free radicals, and thereby offers protection from cancers, inflammation and viral cough and cold.

  Further, Jerusalem artichokes are a very good source of minerals and electrolytes, especially potassium, iron, and copper. 100 g of fresh root holds 429 mg or 9% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte which brings reduction in the blood pressure and heart rate by countering pressing effects of sodium.

  • 100 g of fresh sunchoke contains 3.4 mg or 42.5% of iron, probably the highest amount of iron for the common edible roots and tubers.

  It also contains small levels of some of valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamin.


Jerusalem artichoke root is sold in 500gsm multiples for $8.00 each plus freight(can be sent with tree orders in July no charge).

Orders can be made by contacting me at info@thundermountain.net.nz


Yacon 500gsm bag

Brilliant as a border and understory.

The yacón is a species of perennial daisy traditionally grown in the northern and central Andes from Colombia to northern Argentina for its crisp, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots.

Yacon is also refreshingly juicy. "Yacon" means "water root" in the Inca language and its tubers were historically highly valued as a wild source of thirst-quenching refreshment for travellers. The liquid can also be drawn off and concentrated to produce yacon syrup. As with Jerusalem artichokes, yacon tubers are rich in an indigestible sugar – inulin – meaning that the syrup they form has all the sweetness of honey or other plant-derived sweeteners like maple syrup, but without the calories.

Yacon also benefits the bacteria in the intestinal tract and colon that boost the immune system and aid digestion. This potential as a dietary aid and as a source of sweetness for diabetics has led to yacon being grown more widely, especially in the USA.

Growing

Yacon is a perennial plant, so once you have planted it, so long as you look after it, you will have it forever.

Yacon is pleasingly easy to grow in most soils where there is reasonable rainfall and moderate heat. The plants do require a long season to grow – forming their tubers in autumn – but anywhere that parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes thrive will suit yacon perfectly well.

Eating

Yacon has a crunchy texture, slightly reminiscent of water chestnuts, and a sweet flavour, so it's rather good simply peeled, sliced and eaten as a snack.
It's great in salads too, though its tendency to brown means that you should add it at the last minute, once everything else is assembled and ready to be dressed, or sprinkle with a little lemon juice to prevent it discolouring as it's peeled (and do peel it, the skin can be a little bitter).

Yacon also has a delightful tendency to absorb sauces and dressings, which make it a fantastic vehicle for other flavours. Try it grated with carrots in mustardy vinaigrette with a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, or in the traditional South American fruit salad, salpicón. Combine peeled, chopped yacon with chunks of pineapple, chopped papaya and mango and dress in freshly squeezed orange juice and a spritz of lemon.


Yacon root is sold in 1 Kg multiples for $10.00 each plus freight(can be sent with tree orders in July no charge).

Orders can be made by contacting me at info@thundermountain.net.nz



Tagasaste (tree lucerne) 100 seeds per packet.


Endemic to the Canary Islands, tagasaste was introduced into New Zealand late last century as a hedging plant and has since become widely naturalised, particularly in the Wanganui-Manawatu area, Banks Peninsula, and Otago Peninsula.
It has been used in the Gisborne – East Coast as nurse trees to establish very large native and mixed forest blocks out of bracken fern and burnt over manuka about 1915.

As a perennial evergreen capable of rapid growth (1 – 2m in its first year) and with its extensive root system, tagasaste is ideal as low-level windbreak.
It is also widely used as a soil stabiliser on steep slopes and as a nurse crop for slower growing trees.
As a member of the legume family it is a nitrogen fixer.

Year round green fodder is produced because tagasaste can gather subsoil nutrients and moisture from as far as 10 metres down – beyond the reach of ordinary pastures and crops.
Tagasaste is a protein rich legume so it is particularly useful in times of drought or when other food is in short supply before the spring flush of rye grass and clover.
Either coppice or take branches to stock or graze the area depending on your chosen farm layout.

Uses

  • Green fodder – sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, horses deer, ostrich, emu, and rabbits?
  • Shade and shelter
  • Wind and water erosion control
  • Increased soil fertility through nitrogen fixation
  • Reduction in water tables causing salinity problems
  • Habitat for native birds and exotic birds some of whom eat pests
  • Food for native wood pigeon – you may find they have stripped all the leaves!
  • Green firebreaks
  • Winter nectar for bees
  • High protein feedstock for fish food from worm farms and freshwater crustacea
  • Reduced internal parasite problems when used as fodder is browsed higher.
  • Mature trees provide quality firewood with very high heat content 10910 MJ per cubic metre and has basic wood density of 619kg per cubic metre

Tagasaste seed (100) per packet for $6.50. Sow the seeds mid summer into trays with potting mix grade medium, do not over water!

Seedlings should be cared for over  the next season in pots, they will need to be 500 mm tall for planting out and then watch out for the slugs and snails!

Orders can be made by contacting me at info@thundermountain.net.nz



Abyssinian Banana (Ensete ventricosum) Plants/seeds


Abyssinian bananas provide a unique environment for your food forest/sub tropical area.

As they grow from seed to fully formed in a couple of years (5-6 years max)they can provide excellent nursery shelter for your smaller sub tropicals.

Fast growing, drought tolerant, easily propagated by seed, but requiring some management of the plant especially when flowering. Cutting back the forming flower head will ensure the plant will continue longer than allowing the flower head to fully form, leaving the flower head to mature will result in a swath of new plants forming where the seeds drop.

It will produce a huge amount of biomass as it grows as the leaves are cut down and either strewn around other plants as weed suppressants and as mulch.

As a biomass they can be cut down prior to flowering at any stage and heaped around other plants. As a stock fodder they provide cattle with winter feed when other feed is scarce.

As bee fodder they are well worth having as the bees feed on the pollen in the forming flower head.

This relative of the edible banana is a valuable landscaping plant. Its form, texture and large leaves with conspicuous red midribs, create a lush, tropical effect. Ensete ventricosum is a large, fleshy-stemmed plant with a head of banana-like leaves.

Originally from South Africa, the plant grows between 6 and 12 m high.

Unlike the normal edible banana, this plant does not sucker from the base. This is good because the plant stay neat and tidy, unlike other banana trees, where you get a clumping effect. Unfortunately though because it does not sucker, it makes the plant reasonably short lived.
Ensete ventricosum cannot tolerate heavy frost and in these areas it should be planted under big trees in order to protect it or alternatively some form of artificial shelter formed over it until 1.5m+. It requires warmth, lots of water and fertile soil to grow to its full potential.

Small plants (100mm) are available bare rooted which should then be potted up and kept frost free until mid spring 10 plants for $10.00. Seeds (30) are $8.00 and should be kept moist until spring then sown in moist medium.

 




















google-site-verification: google421caa1dcd18fc26.html