Bushfood nursery stock
by Mike Edwards
This year we have been busy planting out our new site at Barongarook with many species for stock plants, prior to moving our nursery from Colac. These stock plants will be used for cuttings and seed.
In regard to our bush food plantings, much is about trialling species which will grow in our climate, as well be commercially viable in the native food market.
The new planting only began in late 2016 so we have no long-term results as yet. To-date most plants are looking promising after one of the wettest and coldest years we have had in the 17 years we have been her
The soils on the site vary: while some are heavy wet soils, most are poor sandy soils that get seasonally quite wet.
The Native food species we have planted are:
Mountain Pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata)
Alpine Pepper (Tasmannia xerophila),
Lemon aspen (Acronychia acidula),
Illawarra plum (Podocarpus elatus),
Muntries (prostrate and shrub form) (Kunzia pomifera),
Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora),
Anise myrtle (Syzygium anisatum),
Cinnamon Myrtle (Backhausia myrtifolia),
Riberries (Syzygium luemannii) and
Midyum Berries (Austromyrtus dulcis).
Our local Native Currant (Caprosma quadrifida) has also gone into the mix.
We are also trialling a variety of wattle: Long-leaved Wattle (Acacia longifolia ssp longifolia), Coastal Wirilda (Acacia retinodes coast form) and 2 provenances of Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha). To get an idea of production potential we will have to wait till they start producing in year 2.
Both broadleaf and small leaf Tamarind (Diploglottis australis) have so far also survived the cold winter very well. Quandong (Santalum acuminatum) is about to go in along side the Sandalwood (Santalum spp) that is surviving its first year.
Perhaps some of the most potential for native food crops are with the native herbs. We are building up seed stock so as to produce enough for a serious production trial in the future.
Species we are currently focusing on are:
the native celery and parsley (fine and broad leaf forms) (Apium prostratum)
River mint (Mentha australis) and
Yam Daisy (murrnong) (Microseris lanceolata).
Other herbs in the form of shrubs and trees are:
Roundleaf Mint (Prostanthera rotundifolia),
Cut-leaf Mint (Prostanthera incisa) and
Strawberry Gum (E. olida).
The Strawberry Gum is one we have grown successfully here now for about 12 years.
If you are interested in more information about native edibles and botanicals and the bourgeoning industry, check Australian Native Food & Botanicals (ANFAB) www.anfab.org.au.
ANFAB is running a very successful roadshow series around Australia: “Growing the Growers”.
Their Victorian workshop is scheduled for late February next year in Melbourne. We will keep you posted.
Two OAN members are current ANFAB Directors Amanda Garner (Chair) and Marianne Stewart.
NOTE: This article is reprinted courtesy of the Otway Agroforestry Network (OAN) from the Spring 2017 issue of their quarterly magazine. Mike Edwards is a highly regarded nurseryman from Colac and a stalwart of OAN.
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