Saturday, December 1, 2012

Summer Legumes

We have planted a number of legumes to see what will grow over our summer. Most of the crops below were planted on the 23rd of November and the photos below were taken on the 30th of November - 7 days after planting. I suspect that mid November is the ideal time for most of these to be planted. When we determine which of these crops are suitable for our climate I'd like to experiment with later planting. I'm looking for a crop that we can plant immediately after harvest in years where we finish harvest with a full profile of moisture.

For most of these crops we will harvest 4 reps, graze 4 reps, brown manure 4 reps and green manure 4 reps.

The plots where the legumes are planted had corn in it last summer and has had a winter fallow with over 300mm from April to October. There is 1m of wet soil and soil temp was 21°C (70°F) at 9:30am on the day of planting.

We have 4 varieties x 4 reps. Purely a variety trial looking for an early maturity variety to suit our climate. Two problems with soybeans. First is that their flowering is daylength sensitive. They won't flower until the days get shorter (after December 22) and then not until the day reaches a certain length, depending on variety. Based soley on daylength a soybean variety that flowers in early January at Wagga would not flower until mid January in Gippsland. Flowering date is also affected by temperature, so flowering would probably be later again. Given that Soybeans haven't been grown in Southern Victoria it is likely that all varieties in Australia are going to be flowering later than optimum.

Second problem with soybeans is our cool nights, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Soybeans 7 days after planting
LablabA small plot of lablab was grown last year at the trial site, due to inadequate weed control it had to be sprayed out, however it was growing well and showing promise. It is a vigorous grower and should fix a lot of nitrogen.
Lablab 7 days after planting
Lablab 1st leaves unfolding
Something eating Lablab
Cowpeas have been grown at the trial site before, but only in a very dry summer where they yielded 670Kg/ha. Interesting to see how they go with a full profile of moisture.
Cowpeas 7 days after planting
Mung and Azuki Beans
Mung and Azukis are not out of the ground yet as they were planted 3 days later than the others. Azukis prefer cooler conditions than mungs. Mung Beans are also known as 'mongrel' beans so we will see how they grow. I've grown some in the vege garden before and hand harvested 1 t/ha.
Mung or Azuki Beans 4 days after planting
We have planted some chickpeas to see how they will go in our summer. Bairnsdale averages 21 days over 30°C (86°F) and 7 days over 35°C (95°F). Most of these occur in Mid January to Mid February. If the chickpeas flower after then they should be alright. Harvesting in the Autumn may be a problem though.
Chickpeas 7 days after planting
Serradella and Biserulla
Everyone tells me that they won't grow at all planted this late in the spring. They have plenty of moisture under them so I guess heat will be the only problem.
Serradella 7 days after planting

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