I've been meaning to write to you about my Carboprotus (Aussie Rambler), aka giant pigface for a while. As visitors will know, it's my 'go to' for new plantings and tricky places/spaces - it's big and bold. It wasn't until I watched the awesomely bearded Armish Farmer John Kempf go head-to-head with Elaine Ingham (of Soilfoodweb and no beard) on soil biology that I realised it's a pioneer plant which isn't that suited to the more complex fungal based society in our orchards...which is why it tends not to thrive there! But it does work as a ground cover for new plantings including trees (initially), opening up and stabilising heavy soil and recycling calcium. It's a store of water, fire and weed retardant, frost resistant, cheers up any (most!) corners, can be pickled and is an absolute Autumnal favourite of the bees.
What's not to love; if you want some, let me know.
So far in our raised rows we seem to grow Solanacea (potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums) quite well and they apparently need a fungal/bacterial balance which somehow we appear to have generated. Now I know why our brassiccas (more bacterial dominant soil) don't thrive with the asparagus (fungal dominant) - Whoops! I'm not sure this is the basis of 'companion planting' (which tends to be awfully Northern Hemisphere centric) but certainly knowing that plants we would put in the same category, say like "veg", can have very different microbial needs has opened up my eyes hugely, AND confirmed many of the things that I had observed but could not understand.
Churchill wrote "Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong."
Otherwise they like mates and they like sleepy, undisturbed, complex soil life beneath.
As many of you are aware I've gone from headspace to greenspace in the last few years and my physical body has had to adapt - fast. My hands have had a hammering but after considerable search, these unlikely Showa gloves have been outstanding taking everything I throw at them, daily for 7 months and still going strong. I was lucky to get 6 weeks out of ANY of the others before the fingers gave out. Best $25 spent, they even do some long sleeved versions for shaping roses. Guess I won't need quite so much skincare for my arms this time!