Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Quercus Garriana oak tree

oak tree May
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
This is one of only a few of this variety in the country. The Deans managed to get it and it looks lovely now. We also have some maple trees which look spectacular in the autumn, as well as the persimmons, which are still dropping their wonderful orange leaves. We are starting to eat the persimmons now.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Of experiments and mistakes

Yesterday was a spectacular day weatherwise. It was Wednesday 17th May. I gardened from 12 to 1, then 3.30 to 5.30 and could hardly bear to drag myself inside, so beautiful was the day and peaceful the setting. Malcolm was out there too on his favourite activity, chopping wood, and all was well with the world. The tuis were making a huge noise in the gum trees and the fantails were fluttering joyfully after the long spell of rain.

So what did I do? I went a bit silly and put compost under the grape vines, only to realise later that grapes aren't big feeders. Then, being near the day of the moon one is supposed to plant broad beans, and having once met an organic orchardist from Wairarapa who plants broad beans everywhere, I planted some under the grapes. I also put some in the flower garden at the front of the house.

There is something growing under an apple tree which looks as though I have planted it, but I don't know what it is. I recall throwing some buckwheat there once and have no idea what buckwheat looks like, but this looks like salsify or something. I am such a novice. Nasturtiums are growing readily among the apples now, along with comfrey, but the rabbits seem to have chewed up all the coriander and lavendar plants, darn it.

I know there is spraying of copper now but I am procrastinating. Have pruned a lot of shrubs now, with plenty more to go. A big load of organic chook manure is to arrive soon and if Kay Baxter's advice is right (we have read a lot of libary "Growing Today" magazines where she writes a regular column), then we should manure under the berries now and spread neem pellets again under anything prone to pear slug. The cherry has pear slug again.

Malcolm has decided he won't put the catcher on between the rows of figs and grapes now. Seems illogical to constantly take away the nutrients in the form of grass clippings.

There are virtually no olives this year and I wonder if it is because the trees are too large. Perhaps they didn't prune them last year, I must ask. The persimmons looks wonderful but aren't ready yet.

The Damatian peas in the glasshouse are growing up the wall now but look a little fragile and brittle.

A man down the road has European pigs and loves them as they are better meat that kunekune. We now spend $40 on filling up the petrol for mowing and it lasts two mowings only so we must find other ways of keeping the grass down. He has Pacific Rose apples dropping everywhere and his pigs love them.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Preparing an outside bath for use

3 great iPhotos
Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
Yes we got this from the local dump and these three young English wwoofers are scrubbing it out. Ed and I picked it up with help, bought cement and got sand from the riverbed. It is very heavy, cast iron no less. Today his friends Grace and Eleanor arrived to use the caravan and help for a few days. So Ed has built this stone base, dug out underneath for a fire and tomorrow we have to get some silicon to seal the hole and make it work. Should be fun having an outside bath. We put it adjacent to but not too near the firewood pile and not too far from the caravan.

Ed has also helped me pot up some Adriatic figs from the suckers underneath. I will have to make sure they get enough water over the summer.

Tonight I made an old Greek fig preserve. What a lot of stages, but hopefully it will be delicious. It seems like a good way of using up the unripe figs.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Persimmons ripen in autumn

Originally uploaded by otaki4fruit.
We have four persimmon trees, probably fuju variety. I understand the leaves will drop leaving just the persimmons behind. Some have already been attacked by birds so we have netting over them.

The last of the walnuts and chestnuts are in and the figs are virtually over. I do hope to get a recipe for pickled figs made out of the unripe figs. I tasted one the other at the Tree Crop Association Field Day and it was delicious.

We have given away so many feijoas. It is such a relief when someone takes away a big bag or a bucket. But I do hope to make some jam with the last of them or to dehydrate them. Still picking up a few. Malcolm has been marvellous doing all this picking up. He is so regular. Next year perhaps we might try selling some to the organic juicer companies where we understand it is a growers market still.

Next autumn we will be more prepared!