04 May 2014

Gleaning acorns from the streets of Canberra

Continuing the theme of planting up the riparian zones with useful exotic species like the avocado, we turn to the amazing oak tree. With a number of deciduous and evergreen species providing us with a range of benefits including, soil building, acorns for human food and animal fodder, bark for cork, timber, carbon sink, habitat for biodiversity and the list goes on. So when the voice of Bega Valley's finest community catalyst and change agent, John Champagne of Brogo Permaculture Gardens, again sounded the gifts of Canberra's oak street trees a plan was hatched!
On the weekend of May 25th & 26th 2013 we headed out from the warm 20 degree weather of the Illawarra and down into the instant crisp autumn air of the 'Berra to meet up with some wonderful Permaculture folk and glean for acorns. Already the street verges of Canberra were heavily laden with leaves and some neighbourhood commencing to clear the valuable 'unwanted' leaf fall.
We caught up with the talented Dan Harris Pascal, local food forest aficionado and botanist and Chilean plant whisperer, Veronique, who were right up to the hunt, with a well documented street tree map, plenty of enthusiasm and a picnic basket full of homegrown organic delights.

Acorn gleaning wouldn't be complete without a dance in the oak leaves!

Although we were late in the season for the acorn harvest, we found hundreds of quality acorns in around a variety of street plantings. The varieties included: Pin oak (Quercus Palustrus ), Cork oak ( Q. suber), English oak (Q. robur ), Burr oak (Quercus macrocarpa), Turkey oak ( cerris) and Holm oak ( Q. ilex). Armed with wicker baskets, paper bags and markers we were soon laden with a huge seed store which we were keen to plant up on the Illawarra coast.

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