Author Topic: [project] transforming a small ecosystem  (Read 3612 times)

Frank Fremerey

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[project] transforming a small ecosystem
« on: May 27, 2018, 15:13:15 »
Hi, fellow gardeners and photographers!

Today I aquired a little project of roughly 3 meter * 10 meter size.

It is a little ecosystem now, but not the way it will be accepted by our landlord.

What I plan to do now is to change this little ecosystem within a few years into something that will regulate itself over time and will please out tennets and the bypassers eyes plus be accepted by the landlord.

My first idea was to use the existing green fleshy/leafy plants (pictures) as indicators for nutrients and water / sun exposition and exchange them with compatible flowering plants plus some small fruiting trees or bushes in the sense of an edible garden / edible city.

Here is the current state of the 30 squaremeters with some pictures of "indicator" plants.

Please help me identify the existing plants and tell me:
  • Which nutrients, water & sun exposition do these indicate?
  • Do you think it is a good idea to plant small fruiting trees or bushes here?
  • Which flowering plants could serve as a replacement for the existing green leafy & fleshy plants?
  • How do I preserve the nutrients that are stored in the existing plants?

Pictures:
1) the lot
2 & 3)  a tad on the chaotoic side currently
4 & 5) very nice high grass
6 - 9) lots of selfseeding fleshy/leafy green
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Seapy

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2018, 15:28:01 »
Frank, not a direct answer to your request but one of the most important factors is what the compass orientation of the plot?  It appears not to be Northerly...
Robert C. P.
South Cumbria, UK

Frank Fremerey

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2018, 15:42:56 »
Frank, not a direct answer to your request but one of the most important factors is what the compass orientation of the plot?  It appears not to be Northerly...

It has a strong afternoon and evening sun exposition, here is the compass and a pic from above with roughly the same framing
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Birna Rørslett

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2018, 17:53:56 »
I identified two grasses Festuca pratensis and Dactylis glomerata, a dock (Rumex sp.), the umbellifers Aegopodium podagraria and Heracleum sphondyllium, on a first browsing of your pictures. Aegopodium is good for salads, by the way.

Frank Fremerey

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2018, 18:02:58 »
I identified two grasses Festuca pratensis and Dactylis glomerata, a dock (Rumex sp.), the umbellifers Aegopodium podagraria and Heracleum sphondyllium, on a first browsing of your pictures. Aegopodium is good for salads, by the way.

thank you, Birna. "Giersch" is the edible one with the white flowers looking similar to fennel plants in my eyes. Thank you. Gosh the other one you identified looks similar to my eyes but is said to cause skin irritation and seems not to be edible. "Wiesen-Bärenklau"

There is a lot of traffic on the road passing by so I am not so sure if poison from the exhaust fumes will accumulate inside the plants.

is there a DIY plant identification website or youtube channel? I like to learn a lot more...
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Bruno Schroder

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2018, 23:52:15 »
Aegopodium is almost impossible to eradicate, you'll have to deal with it. It was cultivated as a vegetable in Middle Age but was evicted because of its enthusiastic proliferation. Young leaves are also very good cooked like spinach. I find them even better tasting.
Bruno Schröder

Ann

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2018, 07:43:18 »
Sounds like a most interesting project.

Having discovered which way it faces, the next thing is to discover the pH and condition of the soil. Will it need humus or drainage or some new top soil? And how cold does it get in winter?

Low-growing Alpines, small bulbs and a spreading Japanese maple (Acer pamatum dissectum) might be delightful. Alpine strawberries would be much appreciated by birds (and probably by passers-by) but don't expect them to leave many berries for you.

Make sure you show us pictures as the project progresses.

Frank Fremerey

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2018, 12:47:15 »
Ann: yes, the idea is a photo documentation.

Yesterday I found a lot of my gardening tools, but not my spade and my sickle. I only remember I stored the last item in some child safe place ... too safe for me?

[pictures follow]

OK a PH and drainage diagnosis is not possible on what grows there spontaneuosly? Do I need to run some tests and which?
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

Seapy

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2018, 13:52:16 »
We are I think talking soil samples here, in simple terms dig a hole and get a little 'representative' soil and do a pH test on that, then pour a bucket of water in the hole, if it linger it's poor drainage, it it disappears fairly quickly then it's good drainage.  Not exactly scientific but not a bad indicator.  You should be able to get a pH tester from a garden centre.  These two measurements should give a reasonable indication of which  plants will do well and which plants to avoid.

The aspect seems excellent.

One thing to consider is some plant roots are invasive, your landlord may not be happy if they invade the drains or undermine the foundations.  A VERY rough guide is there is usually as much root system below ground as the plant is above ground.  Partly as anchorage, partly for supply of nutrients.
Robert C. P.
South Cumbria, UK

Frank Fremerey

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2018, 14:33:45 »
so: PH = 6.5, which is OK.

I cut down half of the shrubs with my Japanese style saw, cutting wood like cutting warm Butter with a cold knife.

more pictures on my fuji


Another App, another Opinion:
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Seapy

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2018, 15:07:39 »
Looking at the man's shadow, assuming to took the compass reading about 13:00hrs with 1 hr daylight saving?  That would be about right, I think.  I find mobile phone compasses a bit variable too.
Robert C. P.
South Cumbria, UK

Fons Baerken

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2018, 15:35:25 »
It will take more than persistent motivation to clear this patch of the 'weeds' and turn it into a culture garden, especially  Aegopodium podagraria, an old gardener's friend, no need to worry about the mentioned ph of 6,5 at this moment.

Bruno Schroder

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2018, 15:36:30 »
Fons would certainly have a better opinion but looking at the picture, you seem to have a fairly "normal" ground from a PH perspective, at least if I compare with what I see in my own garden. One specificity though is with the aegopodium, which you seem to have a lot. It is normally indicative of a certain level of moisture. It means also it will be a pain to replace with something else, unless you spend a good amount of time removing all the roots by hand.

Additional information that would be useful:
- pictures of the neighbouring plots
- what is the white rectangle on the last picture? A gutter? If yes, it would explain the aegopodium with, maybe, the location at the corner if water flows this way
- how much time do you want to put in caring for the ground?
- for my own information, I’d like to understand what animal is making the tracks in the aegopodium?

A few advices anyway:
-   Your Heracleum is different from those in my garden but I pay attention to cut the seeds before maturity. It can be really invasive, although aegopodium is a tough competitor
-   Get the “How to Make a Wildlife garden”, from Chris Baines. Lots of very useful information for such projects.
-   At home, I’ve chosen for the “wildlife feeding station concept” which I got from Chris Baines. On 30 square meters, you can implement it for birds, bees, butterflies…
-   I would personally go for a meadow (which one is open to discussion: floral, dry, wet, calcareous, …) or for a wood edge. Both as a feeding station.
-   You could also have a few bushes, carefully selected for pollen, nectar and fruits accross the year. It would feed insects in spring and automn and birds in winter, for exemple Lonicera fragantissima, Buxus, Rosa canina, Sambucus nigra, Hedera helix arborescens. Except Sambucus, which is very easily pruned yearly, they all stay under 2 meter height.
-   If you have a gutter, you could do a great wet meadow by keeping it as it is and introducing Valeriana officinalis, Symphytum, Filipendula ulmaria, Lythrum salicaria, Alium ursinum ... and have a bee paradise


Bruno Schröder

Ann

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2018, 16:58:42 »
Japanese Saws!

Wonderful tools: they cut on the pull-stroke while western saws cut on the push which is far less efficient.
It only seems to have taken the West about three millennia to have discovered the secret.

We had a client who imported fine woodworking tools from both Europe and Japan (and for whom I photographed and produced his catalogues) which is why I have some of these Japanese saws.

Frank Fremerey

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Re: [project] transforming a small ecosystem
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2018, 17:23:02 »
It will take more than persistent motivation to clear this patch of the 'weeds' and turn it into a culture garden, especially  Aegopodium podagraria, an old gardener's friend, no need to worry about the mentioned ph of 6,5 at this moment.

I love gardening. I worked on a farm for quite some time. As soon as I can afford a farm near my city I will probably buy one to turn it into a productive ecosystem.

Here is the PH test:
1) tools
2) cut free a path, dig out a piece of rootlevel
3) mix soil below rootlevel with ph=5.8 water, test with a stripe


You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.