Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fruit are ripening now and veges are all planted.

Well at last. The broad beans have been good but are now finished. Red currants are great and black currants are just starting but don't look as plentiful as the reds.

Loquats are good too but require a ladder to pick and then they aren't exactly user friendly. A great taste but such a lot of pip, in fact 3-4 pips in each. And we have to share them with the birds, plenty for all of us actually.

The cherry isn't having a good year at all sad to say.

Yesterday I started poking round the early plums and found some ripe. I had a good feed and brought some in too. On the way I picked a couple of leaves of Vietnamese mint and chewed one and lo and behold it went beautifully with the plums. So I made some more up. Delicious.

Elderflowers have finished but their cordial is still going, and the apples have been thinned a bit but maybe we should have been more ruthless. The herbal ley is looking really great under the apples and figs and I look forward to a whole bloom of white flowers later. And of course all the apples.

As for the geese, well they get out a lot. Not sure that the electric fence is doing much at all. And tonight Malcolm was mowing and broke the mower when he hit a big root. A big bolt was sheared off, and we hope we can get a borrowed mower for the holidays from the Levin firm KC Motors. If not... Sounds an expensive accident.

And the corn is growing up, with beans and squash. The kumeras are hopeless because it hasn't exactly been a tropical spring. In the glasshouse the tomatoes are swelling and I finally finished picking off laterals and tying them up before we go away on holiday and have family look after the place.

The tamarillo has now recovered after the awful spring and even looks healthy. Peaches are generally quite useless and macadamia are all finally picked. Well guess what? The rats have eaten all the hazelnuts we had stored in the storeroom and have taken half the macadamias to high places and scattered them everywhere including in the garage roller door. We had one onion bag stored in the mower shed and thought we were clever because we tied it from a rafter. And the darned rats climbed up there and down the string, demolishing half the bag. So next year it is 2-3 bags from the rafters and lots of early rat poison. All that work picking and dehusking and drying them and mostly to feed rats. Darn.

Ther radishes are up and the carrots have finally germinated after several failures in the spring. Good greens always means we have had salads every day and the herbs are extremely plentiful and varied. Peoppermint tea is great. I have peas and beans planted everywhere.

The wine grapes are still holding their own and the table grapes look healthy thanks to all the Organic 100 sprayed on them (fish waste and seaweed) They love it

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A happy moment during our property blessing and wedding

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Well after six years of living together we finally got married on Dec 2nd, which was a very happy event. I think what we are laughing at here is the wee dog that Winsome brought chased the cows in the next door paddock. It wasn't long till the cows thought there was something wrong here as the dog was diminutive and they were big. So the cows turned round the chased the dog back to our property. He scuttled in so fast we all burst out laughing. We went from here into the clearing in the native bush for our wedding ceremony. And of course it was a brilliantly fine day after weeks of rain and indifferent weather...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Malcolm rides the mower at full speed

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

He was keen to get it all mown before the weather broke and sure as eggs today has been very wet and windy. This is Malcolm with his head down going for it. You can see the red currants in the distance with nets over them. We picked a good bowlful yesterday and there are plenty more.

Matze and Peggy plant the Wedding Bells rose

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Yes it is true, we did get married last Saturday and Wendy and Russell gave us this lovely climbing rose. After considerable discussion, and rejecting five other sites, we settled on this one. It is visible from the dining room window, next to the green tea and can climb on the framework set up for the kiwifruit. It looks as though we will have some fruit this year though it is a strange variety and has a bad history, so no doubt it will be well pruned back in the future. Matze and Peggy are from Berlin, East Berlin actually, and have been very helpful to us during the week of our wedding preparations. They looked after our place for three days while we went away to find some sun (it wasn't there in Napier at the time either!).

Boys clean up the branches that Rupert cut off

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Yes it is Rupert, Malcolm's 25 year old grandson from Dunedin. He visited complete with chainsaw and trimmed a great number of branches under Malcolm's guidance. Here he is transporting the branches the day after our wedding. In the trailer is Temmy (Malcolm's great grandson and Daniel (Deirdre's grandson) They had a ball.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rupert fells a diseased almond tree

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

We have been told there are two almond trees with silvery leaf and since this virus affects the tree fatally, it might as well be got rid of.

Well today was the day. Malcolm's grandson Rupert has arrived from Dunedin (he is a student there) and he very kindly brought all his tools, chainsaw etc for felling trees, which, like his father Graham, he loves to do.

So it was a sad day for Malcolm who hates to see the end of trees. But a relief as they have not produced any nuts. Only one produces nuts actually. We will have to burn the wood as we can't compost it.

Of course our next big event is that Malcolm and I are getting married in the clearing in the bush on Saturday.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The 35 heritage apples have set well this year

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

I think this is Tydemans Late Orange apple. Other varieties we have are Nonnetit Bastard, Gravenstein, Lobo, Jacques Lebel, Alfriston, Peasgood Nonsuch, Scarlet Pimpernel, Mother, Sunset, Sturmer and Laxton's Fortune. Prima was the only one which fruited abundantly last year and this year it only has a handful of apples set. It seems to be having a year off.

We have really tried with these apples. Some trees are so laden we will have to thin them. Interestingly we didn't prune them at all this year. And I have just hung a couple of Pheronome traps for codling moth. Hope it wasn't too late!

Preparing figs for herbal ley

Preparing figs for herbal ley
Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

There is one thing really good about a very wet spring – you can keep planting! Here we are in late November preparing the ground to sow a herbal ley under the first row of figs and it isn't too wet to do it. So we already have some catnip, two wormwoods and two rue plants and hopefully will get some comfrey and nasturtium in before it completely dries up. And some of the fig cuttings have taken really well. We have some breba figs already but no main crop figs are yet appearing. It is probably too darned cold. We are still wearing thick winter jerseys.

Preparing figs for herbal ley

Preparing figs for herbal ley
Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Preparing figs for herbal ley

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Three geese round the kumquat tree

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

This photo dates back to the time when we had three geese. Unfortunately we lost the female, the little one on the right. She disappeared when we were absent for a day and we never found her. That is until recently. Malcolm was clearing the back pathway in the native forest and he found her skeleton and feathers. She must have strayed, got hungry and then fell prey to something. Sometime after she vanished we also found two eggs she had laid in the gum trees.

Actually with the weather being so rainy for so long, the solar unit powering the electric fence no longer worked. That's why we have had to shoo back the geese a lot. They learnt to get over the fence and have lost all fear of an electric shock. So may the sun shine from now on...

Traci the wwoofer from Alaska

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

She is lovely. Happy always, hard working and she came at a time when it just kept on raining. Fortunately she said she loved getting wet and dirty and this was easy because the main job she had was grubbing in preparation for sowing the herbal ley. She also helped me name all the heritage apples and helped spread lime.

Yes I grew this cauliflower

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Good cauliflower. I think this was grown on the spot where I had dug in a bokashi bucket. Fortunately the white butterflies have not started their summer yet! We also have some excellent cabbages coming on.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Getting ready to sow seeds for herbal ley in heritage apple orchard.

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Actually the term herbal ley isn't all that accurate, because they aren't all herbs. But here is Malcolm after a session grubbing the turf, reasonably easy after all the rain. And it should be good conditions for germinating because it is nearly full moon as well. We bought the King Seeds Beneficial Insect Mix but asked them to leave out the fennel.

It consists of buckwheat (white flowers), dill, Bishops flower (ammi major or white lace), parsnip, ammi visnaga (white lacy again), daucus carota (wild carrot or Queen Anne's lace), phacelia, bergamot (bee balm orange or pink) and alyssum (white). We will also put some clovers and alfalfa in.

The blue phacelia already have flowering is attracting a huge range of insects and we have borage, nasturtium, comfrey and a few herbs growing. This year's apple crop looks really promising and the soil is looking reasonably good. The only apple tree which hasn't set much fruit is the one which fruited heavily last year. It seems to be having a year off.

I must say after all the grubbing we get really tired. I can only do 45 minutes of it at a time.

Developments in the vege garden

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Well the brassicas are at the stage where the white butterflies are about to arrive but I will be spraying with dipel which is OK in organic circles. See the big mustard plant. Behind them is the bed of corn and beans. On the left the borage has extended itself but the bees are having such a party I can't bring myself to cut it in half. In the middle at the back are the broad beans. On the right are the red and black currant bushes. Behind the broad beans we now have a kumera garden. Behind the borage is the herb garden.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A lot of work has been done in a week

In the past week, with Jan Tillman our strong young wwoofer from Germany, we have completed the following:

We have created a new piece of vege garden, which is no mean feat because it all had to be dug out and remember there are stones just beneath the surface. Malcolm and Jan used picks and then had to take away all the stone. We will grow kumeras there once we get in some new soil.

We have brought in manure, sand, clay to do various jobs. The clay was mixed with the manure and plastered on the apple trunks, and the sand is ready for more seed mixes.

We have done a great deal in the vege garden, getting rid of some winter veges and planting new ones for summer.
We bought a line trimmer which means the edges are now all neat.
We mowed the back part of the property for the first time for ages. The weeds were getting away because the geese didn't like them enough and didn't eat enough.
We have ordered a seed mix of the following to sow under the rows of apple trees:buckwheat, dill, bishop's flower. ammi visnaga, parsnip, caucus carota, phacelia, bergamot and allyssum.
We have lime ready to spread and we are doing this to raise calcium levels mostly.
We have spread rock dust and sprayed with Organic 100, a mix of fish waste and seaweed. Huge jobs.
We have picked and processed more macadamias.
We have used quite a bit of the liquid manure and nettles and comfrey to feed the trees.
We have made two compost heaps and spread compost from the remains of one of them.
We have done all the shredding of all the branches that were lying around under the trees. Wonderful.
The grapes have been sprayed with oil, detergent and water and actually look much healthier.
We have got rid of big invasive plants in the front border and have some bare land to plant corn and beans or amarynth.
We have fixed up all the places where stakes were too close to fruit trees, doing damage to the trunk.

Chris Christoffels checks his beehive

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Very kindly this friend has brought his beehives to our property for the spring so that our apples can be properly pollinated. It has been great and it looks as though it was successful with many apples set. The bees have had a ball with the phacelia, the borage and the various flowers around, but now they will have to go home because flowers are short and they may starve.

Friday, October 27, 2006

And here he is doing it

2 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Actually it was a fun job. We were very glad of good gloves.

Jan the wwoofer mixes manure and clay for apples

2 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

I guess more than one person has suggested that to deal with the lichen on the trunks of our apple trees we scrub them down with a wire brush and then plaster them with clay and cow manure. Here is Jan the young German wwoofer doing this awful job. He reckons he has had three smells in three days. The first was the fish waste on the compost heap and the second was this. The third was today when he sprayed the foliage of fruit trees with Organic 100 which is a mixture of fish waste and seaweed. He had to wash his clothes afterwards. We also ruined the wire brush with this job but here is hoping the apples are better.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tomatoes in glasshouse in late September

tomatoes in glasshouse.JPG
Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Well this year we have a bit of whitefly and I have sprayed with oil and detergent and water and put up yellow stickies and planted a pyrethrum plant.

I must say it going to be challenge to get the watering system up and running again because Malcolm ran over the hose late this afternoon.

These tomatoes are a mixture of Russian red, Waimana, and some cherry tomatoes. I grew mustard over the winter and Richard dug it in, then I added more of everything I could find to nourish the soil.

Some pumpkins sprung up too...I transplanted them or gave them away.

Walnuts in spring

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Although the Dutch walnut finally packed up and died, the others are fine and you can see the knots that will develop into leaves or flowers. Wait and see.

This is the first chestnut to be in full leaf

first chestnut.JPG
Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Out the front patch the chestnuts and walnuts are in various stage of leaf and this one gets lots of sun so wins the race. The grass needs mowing again and this was only taken a couple of days ago.

I think this is an elder

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Time will tell I suppose but this seems to be an elder and we will later pick the elderflower and make cordial out of it.

The springtime is a great time to identify trees. We have now found the mulberries and I am told we have to get a net over these which will be a mission as they are high. The Turks down the road that wanted to buy our place wanted the mulberries. There are another two small ones near the carobs too.

Cherry blossom

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Our one cherry looks really good but we will have to be careful with the pear slug and to get the net on in time.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The big pear tree is getting pollinated

2 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Yes it is in full bloom, with leaves just starting and the insect activity is huge. Several waxeyes (you can see I am a South Islander as North Islanders call them silver eyes) and a couple of fantails, the odd bee. Lovely to stay near it for a while.

The worms are back well and truly. Perhaps it was stopping the artificial fertilisers, together with feeding with rock dust and other nutrients, but it is good these days to plant herbs or alyssym under the fruit trees as I always enjoy the fat worms which seem to thrive there.

The latest view from our dining room

3 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

This is what seems like a daisy tree, which came out while I was away in Golden Bay for a week of local currencies conferences.

On the right are our blackcurrants, behind on the right is the Adriatic fig and I have planted tansy under the peach trees at the back, apparently they attract beneficial insects.

Brebas on the fig trees

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.
These figs apparently are the early ones before the main crop and are extremely delicious. We missed them last year.

Meanwhile I had a bit of a disaster with my f ig cuttings. I put them, carefully labelled and tied up, in sawdust and under the gum trees for the rest of the winter, having been told to plant them in early September. But when I came to do it, all the writing on the labels had faded. I have both Adriatic and Brown Turkey, but no idea which is which. So I found some growing under the Adriatic and have planted these out. The brown turkeys that I had planted under the trees were actually attacked by the geese (before we had the fence) and the nice growing head was demolished. Such is the learning...Anyway the figs look good now and I managed to raise just two rue plants. Apparently rue helps them grow better so I will cultivate some more. They grow so slowly here but have done a good spurt in spring.

The green tea is sprouting

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.
Yes apparently you pick the tips and use them as tea. Looking good. I guess you can dry them and have it all year round. Right now I am drinking gotu kola tea and sometimes another herb mixture and of course Malcolm doesn't drink tea or coffee and hasn't for decades. He will drink the cold herb tea sometimes, depends on the herbs.

Malcolm plants Robinson grape

8 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.
Now we have heaps of black wine grapes on the right, but think they are not disease resistant and anyway we don't want to make wine, we have enough to do! So we bought a Robinson black table grape, which we understand is disease resistant and planted it. We have actually had 13 days in a row with rain, that's the climate change that is going to continue too I believe (just seen the film An Inconvenient Truth). Boy does the grass need mowing! Hopefully we can reduce this and spring is a time of huge grass growth.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

And here are the macadamias ready for eating

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.
They are a bit small admitedly. But they taste terrific. No idea what they would be worth on the market. There are plenty more left on the trees, probably as much again. But a lot of work in the dehusking and drying.

Macadamias which didn't drop

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.
I read that some varieties of macadamias don't drop and have to be picked. I suspect it is what we have mostly.

Since the Australian parrots are getting everything that falls well before we get there, there is a carpet of eaten macadamia shells under the east end of the group of macadamia trees. We have had nothing much at all, except from one tree which dropped earlier.

So during the weekend I picked a lot, dehusked them by hammering them and finally put them in the dehydrator. After picking them I found that they had to be dehusked within 24 hours so that was a lot of work! Still they are fabulous now, if a little small. I will look in Ross Dean's records to find out the varieties that were planted.

This is our home from the back

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.
Now that the geese have been fenced off with an electric fence (solar powered unit) they are no longer free to roam on our back lawn and knock fiercely at our windows and pick out the new plants from the vege garden. They stay nicely behind the white tape and we can turn it off and they still stay put.

We picked up all the manure off the back lawn when the children came, and the lawn had its first mowing recently so it certainly looks lush now. Next is another sprinkling of rock dust round the whole property.

You can see a straggly lemon tree on the right. It thrives on the goose manure and the fruit are quite large. Vege garden on left back as you look.

The lemonade fruit is wonderful

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.
I have never tasted it before and when I took one or two to bridge nor had three others at the table. Not sure if it a cross between an orange and a lemon, but these quarters can be eaten just like this! The tree is laden.

Monday, September 11, 2006

An update with no photos on September 12

Well it is September 11th in most parts of the world but New Zealand is the first to see the sun so we had ours yesterday, complete with TV docos and good newspaper backgrounders about what has changed in USA in five years.

Well a diary perhaps... Today we spread compost because that is what the moon calendar said to do. I am not too good on this but getting better. I also planted more onions (Pukekohe long keeper) because I had them there.

The darned snails and slugs ate all my Amish peas which I had grown so carefully from seed in the glasshouse. I spread woodash on, but a day too late really and I suspect they won't recover.

I planted the last strawberry today. Officially this is the garden of Tereana my granddaughter at boarding school but she forgot to plant it. The wild strawberry is looking really healthy out there. I believe it has white fruit and fruits a long time. Anyway they are thriving with pine needles round them. We put them next to the pine nuts.

The fig cuttings need to be put in the ground at the moment. They have been iin sawdust under the trees for a few weeks. Not sure where to plant them but if anyone wants any, just shout. Brown turkey and late Adriatic.

I have now planted the tomatoes in the greenhouse, mostly commercial Moneymaker but some tiny ones as well. I also have some tomato seeds coming up which are heirloom from Koanga Gardens and yesterday planted an Amish tomato and an Italian one which are apparently heirloom. I have planted basil and parsley between them.

Seeds up in the glasshouse include crown pumpkin, gem squash, globe artichoke, coriander, alyssum and a few onions. The hyssop didn't seem to germinate and the seedless pumpkin seed looks a hard one to germinate. Two of something seem to be growing there but not sure if it is them. Time will tell I guess.

Two zucchini have now been planted outside in the shrub beds, complete with good compost, and I have put glass over them as we still get the odd frost.

The geese are doing well and Malcolm is changing the water everyday We turned off the electric fence while my toddler grandson was here for the weekend and we also picked up the geese manure on the back lawn so he could kick his ball. The geese seemed to think the fence was on so they didn't try to get out.

As for the macadamias, I am sorry the Australian parrots are eating everyone that drops to the ground. We didn't prune the hazelnuts on time and I am not sure what will happen. They had heaps of compost and rock dust and seaweed though.

The red and blackcurrants are bursting into leaf, as is the wisteria, the nashi pears, the figs and the grapes. Don't think the raspberry is looking particularly good though. We now have a keriberiry planted near the quince.

The heritage pples don't look good again probaby because the gum trees nearby suck the nutrients from the soil. We are having three of them out soon for firewood. City people with fires to feed are coming.

The late plums are in full blossom now and the early ones have greened up from the bottom. It was strange watching the prunus green up from the top though, a weird sight. The apricots are just coming into blossom.

Lovely spring bulbs under the walnuts include freesias, daffodils and grape hyacinths. A red waratah is out and is spendid. The lemonade fruit is delicious!!

I have a great many herbs in now. Today's addition was chervil. Just awaiting the lemon verbena now. I like it as a tea. Garlic is well up, the celery is looking good but the tub with the comfrey, nettle and goose poo in it is now blocked at the outlet and I can't feed the plants at the moment. One row of carrrots are up now. (lost one to the geese) and have some other heirloom carrots ready to plant when the soil is warmer.

Malcolm goes away tomorrow for a conference and I go away just after he gets back. We are hoping to get a wwooffer in very late September to finish the heavy jobs. Hopefully someone who is handy with some carpentry, handyperson type....

Monday, August 28, 2006

White blossom of the early plums is intense

SV100674.jpg, originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

It is really lovely. I think the tuis are liking it. We have four early plums altogether. The almonds have been in bloom too but there don't look to be any bees around to pollinate them and they didn't do well last year. The peaches are just starting and no sign of much on the apples or pears yet.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Well at least the geese love this persistent rain

SV100656, originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

Our backlawn is proving a wonderful puddle for the geese. Sorry i can't seem to change back to the original format I used for a photo. Any suggestions? This way it takes up too much space but I am damned if I can find the way to change back.

We are investigting various types of solar powered battery electric fences. It is getting urgent now as they have been on the front drive picking out insects after the rain and it is only a matter of time before they find the gate or the vege garden.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Twelve tuis visit the flowering blossom tree

SV100648.jpg, originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

And here it is a little closer up. If you count carefully you can see twelve tuis feeding from it. They are flying in and out of of all day.

Early spring view from living room window

SV100652.jpg, originally uploaded by localcurrencies.

This is the beautiful tree which attracts tuis. Today I saw four rabbits, three geese and twelve tuis from the living room. I think it is a flowering cherry or prunus. You can see the Adriatic fig behind the pink tree on the left.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My sister Lesley digs in the mustard ready for tomato planting later

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.
They have grown there for a while now and it is time to dig them in. A lovely job actually because the soil gets really friable when mustard grows and it is a pleasure to dig it.

I am also using the glasshouse to grow the seeds ready for planting out later. All sorts of seeds are in now, some bought via trademe and some from Koanga Gardens.

Last autumn I planted what I thought were Dalmatian peas. They grew well after I had installed an automatic timer on the tap, but then turned out to be sweet peas. I think my seedsaver friend Helen sent me the wrong seeds! We also grow good lettuces there.

Richard Evans teaches me to prune grapes better

Originally uploaded by localcurrencies.
Well I thought I knew how to prune grapes but my brother in law Richard looked at them and asked me if I would like to learn a bit better. He apparently does some for commercial orchards in Christchurch. So I learnt a lot from Richard and we fixed them up. There isn't much life in any of them and we had no grapes last year. Hopefully things will be better this season. If not we will have to start planting new grapes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We now have three geese

Well at the moment I can't seem to send a photo to this site but we now have two male geese and one female. We bought them at the auction at the Tree Crops Association local meeting on a very rainy day. They are doing a lot of work as manure machines. Grass in one end manure out the other.

For a while they didn't explore too much but lately have had the odd journey to the back door, not a great idea if you want to walk barefoot, or walk inside with your shoes on... We will have to solve this problem. They are Sebastopol variety, the white ones with curly feathers so they look untidy. Fortunately they don't make much noise at all and don't seem to fly. However I have recently discovered they can fly, so the solution seems to be to make them happy with lots of fresh water. We bought a container from the Warehouse and they wade in it, leaving more manure. So the water needs changing daily. Also I have gathered up the manure, put it in the blue tub with water and fed the liquid to the cabbages and celery and rhubarb.

They aren't sexually mature yet, so won't be laying eggs for a while.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Malcolm and Paul take a break from shredding

Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
Glorious day yesterday and today so it was good for dealing with all the prunings we have accumulated. The shredder is easy to work and we now have two earmuffs and two eye protectors and plenty of garden gloves.

It should be good stuff to make compost with next week and to spread around.

A great many peach buds

peach buds
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
Peaches don't grow well in this climate we hear.

And we missed summer pruning so it is too late to prune them now. But it is going to be a wonderful sight when they all come into flower in the spring and hopefully we will get some fruit as last year wasn't very good.

Some of the fig cuttings

fig cuttings
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
I don't know who is going to pot these up and sell them in a couple of years' time but here are a few of the cuttings from just the Adriatic figs.

We have lots of other cuttings which we will store in sawdust and plant in September.

Prolific macadamias

green macadamias
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
If you lift the branches this is what you see. Looks good to me.

This is parrot damage to the macadamias

parrot damage to macadamias
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
On the ground under the eastern side of the macadamias are these shells. The damage is caused by Australian parrots which live in our native bush nearby.

The Deans have suggested we cut the green macadamias off so we get them before the parrots. Just from that tree. So we have.

It wasn't rats because they can't make such a big hole and their hole is made where the nut meets the stem.

Deirdre and the Adriatic fig

Deirdre and Adriatic fig
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
Pruning the figs has been a learning exercise and I think we may have pruned some of them too hard. This is the last one to get done, the Adriatic which is the last one to fruit.

In the foreground are the blackcurrants. There was quite a lot of borer in some of the figs so we are going to put kerosene down the holes and putty them up. Had to saw off some quite good branches though.

Paul spreads compost round apples

compost round apples
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
Our Canadian wwooffer Paul is seen here in the apple orchard. It has been quite an excercise trying to get the kikuyu grass out by hand. We understand kunekune pigs would get it all out but they would also take the comfrey and the nasturtiums and borage and everything else I have planted.

Paul was very patient and put in a lot of work, first weeding, then spreading compost and lastly shredded wood from the shredder. The apples have virtually no new growth on them and the only attention we needed to pay them was to make sure their metal stakes weren't rubbing on the trunk.

One of the pear trees in winter

pears winter
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
There are a lot of fruit spurs on the pear trees. They look good and have needed minimal pruning. But having said that, you can probably see a branch or two that is crossing over. No disease on this one anyway.

Frost 25 June 06

Frost 25 June 06
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
We have had several quite reasonable frost here and the hills behind Otaki have snow on them.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lettuces and dalmatian peas and a timer for watering

7 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
We have now got a timer on the hose so the glasshouse can be watered regularly. It makes such a difference. Nobody thinks of watering during cold wet weather and the glasshouse still needs it.

The dalmatian peas grew poorly with thin brittle stalk before. Now they are vigorous with leaves of a good colour and lettuces and sage is thriving. I have dug in some bokashi buckets as well and all we have to do is to perfect the timing of the watering.

Mustard in the glasshouse

7 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
Our advisors have told us to grow mustard in the glasshouse because when you plant in tomatoes in the spring you can grow them without disease.

The comfrey and nettle tub/blueberries

7 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
We managed to get this free tub from a dye firm in Levin and Bryan put a tap in the bottom for us.

Well, I put nettles and comfrey leaves and filled it up with water and left it. Unfortunately I didn't know I had to stir it so when I used it to water the celery the other day it was frothy. Seems stirring is the caper, and of course the comfrey won't grow for a while now. Nettles will, and they are a good source of iron.

Since blueberries don't absorb iron if the pH is too high, I also put it on the blueberries, together with pine needles to sour the soil. Blueberries need a pH of between 5 and 6 and the reading on our pH meter is much higher still. This summer I am determined to water them enough. We will get sawdust for them too as well as blood and bone to restore nitrogen.

Later that day on 24 June the rainbow came

7 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
This speaks for itself!

Winter weather and a bad gutter

7 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
Yes we have had some downfalls of rain and this is from our backdoor. We will have to do something with that gutter. Underneath it I have herbs. We had the coldest day I can remember in the North Island the other day. I had two pairs of trousers and a polyprop top on, two pairs of socks and we had the fire going all day on full.