I want to highlight a plant that I don’t hear a lot of people talking about – Black Medic (aka Medicago lupulina). Black Medic is a Florida native that is a nitrogen fixer, pollinator attractor, and medicinal plant. All of these pictures were taken in my front yard this morning (in Central Florida), and demonstrate just how dominant, beautiful, and beneficial this plant can be. As you can see from this first picture, Black Medic seeds prolifically and will grow into thick stands in the spring.
It’s also a pollinator attractor, not to mention beautiful.
The third and fourth pictures are from a plant I pulled out of the ground. You can see the nodules on these roots, which are the homes of bacteria living symbiotically within the plant’s flesh. These bacteria, in exchange for plant sugars, provide the plant with ammonia based nitrates they convert from atmospheric nitrogen, which plants are unable to use. Black Medic is one of a select number of plants referred to as “nitrogen fixers” which, with the help of these bacteria, are able to convert and use their own nitrogen, one of the most essential of plant nutrients. This ability allows them to live in nutrient deficient soils and provide for nearly all of their needs literally out of thin air. Carbon, also taken in from the atmosphere, along with this converted nitrogen, largely make up the biomass of the plant. Once the plant dies its accumulated biomass is then returned to the soil for other organisms and plants to use. This is one of the major sources through which soil is built over time.
Black Medic is also used by herbalists as a tea or infusion for it’s calming effect. Shoot, it relaxes me just knowing that it exists. And it’s flowering right now! so go see where it is growing around your yard and collect some seeds!
The second monthly Orlando Permaculture Meeting was once again an inspired experience. Attendance remained strong, and the passion and engagement of the people who gathered was apparent. There was a wide range of knowledge, and all different levels of experience. The free plant raffle and the open discussion format of the meeting also proved to be quite the success.
If you have an interest in learning about permaculture we would love to have you join our next meeting. If you are very new to permaculture, a great way to have your first experience would be to come to our next Action Day (see details below). We would love to have you.
When: 7PM Tues, Jan 6, 2015
Where: Nelson’s house, 636 S. Bumby Ave. Orlando, FL
Topic: Plant guilds, companion planting, and plant communities
What to bring:
• Any knowledge or questions you have
• Plants, seeds or cuttings for the FREE RAFFLE
• Extra seats
• Extra treats!
Next action day *TIME AND LOCATION CHANGED*
When: 3PM Thurs, Dec 18, 2014
Where: Mark and Laura’s home, 7529 Compass Dr. Winter Park, FL
Activities: Spending an hour or two finishing up the sheet mulching, then watching a movie on permaculture!
Our first meeting was a grand success! There was a great turnout of amazing, Earth-centered, genuine, and passionate people. We have a few general announcements here, and an overview of what we decided upon during the first meeting.
We need a host location/home for our next meeting on Tues, Dec 2. Go to our Google Drive “host signup sheet” to host our next, or other future meetings.
The topic for next meeting will be “working with Florida soils”, so bring any knowledge and resources you may have.
Our first action day event will be on Thurs, Nov 20th at Mark Fowler’s house at 7529 Compass Dr. Winter Park, FL 32792. For more information on this and future action day events visit our Google Drive folder or our action day Facebook group Permaculture My Yard – Orlando.
Many decisions were made during this constructive meeting and this is what we came up with:
- We will meet the first Tuesday of every month at the home of a willing host
- Group announcements will take place at the beginning of each meeting
- Topic for following meeting will be decided at each meeting
- Topic will be discussed on an open floor after announcements
- Snacks and treats are always welcomed
- Full potluck meetings will be announced the meeting prior
- Action days will take place between meetings and will be decided during each meeting
- A free plant raffle will take place at end of each meeting
- Plants will be provided on a voluntary basis by members
- A Google Drive folder is available for group use
- Folder includes documents of member skills and plants they are willing to share
- A group email list has been established
- An Orlando permaculture meeting Facebook group
- Personal/external announcements will take place at end of meeting, before raffle
The time has come for something that has been long awaited for by many people. Interest has been expressed, an intention has been set, and it’s time to take action. We would like to announce the hopeful formation a regular meeting of permaculture enthusiasts right here in Orlando.
Preliminary discussion has been started with a few folks, and now we would like to get some input from you all. We need input on the following:
- Would you be interested in attending such a meeting
- How often would you like to see the group meet
- Would you prefer Monday or Tuesday evenings
- Would you be willing to host such a meeting at your home on occasion
This group is intended to be autonomous, self governed, self lead, and informal. The idea is to allow our interest and enthusiasm for Permaculture and natural agriculture to be supported by a group of like minds. Beyond that, this group is not limited to any specific function or format, and the content, focus and intention of the meeting will be decided by the group upon formation.
We are looking forward to your responses and input, and most of all, to the formation of these regular meetings! Send all responses to Matt Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org