11 August 2013

A big weekend

We have a section of the food forest  that the swales didn't extend to, as there was a large old wattle that needed to be taken down before it fell on someone.  So Shaun took care of it, cut up most of the trunk and branches but we didn't get around to taking them all away before summer and the dreaded plague - triffid grass.  Apparently the CSIRO did some research on a variety of grass for stock feed.  As it turns out, its good for cattle but dangerous for horses.  Not only does it grow head height in a matter of week, it also grows with a 20 cm matt of roots that chocks out everything else. And our property is covered with the stuff.  We have struggled to remove it in our veggie patch area and in the end need a rotary hoe to remove it.  But some still finds its way in.  On the swales, we put in a green manure cover crop and then put down sugar cane mulch.  After a great first season of nitrogen fixing plants, the grass started to come back.  In hind sight, I should have got on top of it them.  Live and learn.  The area that we hadn't touched is not only covered in this grass, it also was now thick with lantana.  But given that its still winter, when the grass is dry and the weather conducive to hard labour, we decided to give it a crack.  Two days and two ute loads of lantana later, here's how its looking

It might not look like much, but given the latana was over six foot high and then we had to dig up all the grass and fill the ute a third time, we're wrapped.
I didn't take photos of my arms, but you can imagine.  Think a cat's scratching pole and you'd be pretty close.
My supervisor carefully checked my work continuously, though usually from the shade of the next clump of grass I was planning to take out.
But she's a very cute supervisor.  Below is the first ute load of grass we removed, and below that, the banana circle that I plan to mulch with it.

And here is the 'after pic'.  Why waste good dry grass, I say.
So we did another massive day today but I only finished as it was getting dark, so I'll take photos in the morning and show you the continued transformation.

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