SEPTEMBER 2018 | Nell Carr
WATCHING THE Tour de France is as much about the French landscape as it is about the contest on the roads. Glimpses of the trees in the agricultural districts in their lush summer raiment make the Tour worth watching into the early hours. Although some travelling irrigators were spotted, it seems apparent that the French farmers do not use centre pivots, which spell the demise of our valuable paddock trees. It has to be admitted however, that the gentle spray from these is less drastic for the topsoil than the travellers which fling the water onto the crops, but it is sad to lose the paddock trees. One only has to see the stock sheltering in their shade on hot summer days, or huddling against them in driving rain, to understand just how useful they are on the farm. Additionally, their flowers attract birds and bees, and absorb carbon from the atmosphere to reduce the effects of climate change.
Growing trees from local seed
It is best to use seed from the same locality, but difficult to collect from trees so far from the ground. The recent gales will have brought down some boughs. Choose grey well ripened seeds, making sure the cap at the top, the operculum, is still intact. Place them in paper bags somewhere warm, and when the seeds have fallen out, store them in the refrigerator in pill boxes. Sow in native potting mix. It should be unnecessary to remind readers that native trees should never be grown in suburban gardens where there are close neighbours. Picture shows a copse of 15 to 20 year old White Gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) and Blackwoods (Acacia melanoxylon), growing in the corner of a paddock.
In the vegie garden
Broad beans can be sown in September if Autumn sowing was missed. There are very few vegetables that do not go in now, but best to wait until the soil is warmer for frost tender beans, cucumbers and zucchinis.
Photo | Nell Carr