Not feeding the possums

posted Aug 6, 2014, 2:27 AM by Family Organics
I have a plan...and it involves thwarting possums. I'm sick of growing fruit just to see it stolen by the little furry fiends. And the trees smashed to add insult to injury. So, the plan. To surround an area with a high netting fence, topped by an electric wire. There are already several fruit trees in the area which produce fruit we don't get to eat, but I plan to enclose enough ground to plant a bunch more trees, a food forest in fact. With the help of various wwoofers we have installed one hugelkultur bed and nearly completed another. Briefly, this involves laying down a pile of logs and smaller branches and covering them with soil. I could flesh out the details in another post or there are loads of pictures and explanations on line. Our hugels are on contour in order to slow and spread the water which flows through the area so that it soaks into the soil to be used by whatever we plant there. The first of the new trees went in last week, with more to be planted soon. There is plenty of variety; Apricot, Pear, Plum, Plumcot, Strawberry tree, Fig and a few others. In order to qualify as a food forest , however, and not just a plain old orchard, there is much more to come. We need to consider all the layers of a forest and also all the diversity of creatures that could inhabit the forest, (possums need not apply!). So we need to provide habitat and food for birds, insects and microorganisms as well as support species for the main trees, eg nitrogen fixers and deep rooted plants that draw up and accumulate nutrients. Examples of what will be added to the mix are Comfrey, Jerusalem artichokes, Globe artichokes, Berries, Tree lucerne, Pigeon peas, Bulbs, Roses... the list goes on. As does the fun of discovering new plants to fit the niches.