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....