Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

Malcolm uses his new Stanley Handcart

Yes it is a cracker. So easy to push and it holds so much. Here is Malcolm using his birthday present to take weeds to the compost.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Phacelia is attracting bees

The herbal ley is looking really good and it is exciting to see the phacelia in full bloom now. They attract a range of beneficial insects. Here they are under the fig trees. The white flower bishop's lace is due to come out soon and hopefully the clover, which you can see is lush. We also have some rue and wormwood under the figs. I have no idea whether the cat's mint that I planted there is still alive.

We have the herbal ley under the figs, the apples and under a couple of citrus, though I believe the latter isn't recommended as the roots are too shallow and the citrus needs all the nutrients they can get.

Later in November here is a photo taken by David Johnson with his good camera.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The cherry looks better this year

Well it has been a bit shaded by the next door tree, but we have now pruned that rather heavily so more sun should arrive. I used to have to put neem pellets on the ground to stop the pear slug and must watch it now to make sure it isn't attacked again. Anyway there is good blossom. Of course we sprayed with EM and Organic 100 too at this stage. Might do it again later as we would appreciate cherries this summer...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The waratah has been beautiful

I guess it thrives in South Africa and in Perth but our waratah has been a wonderful sight during September and October.

Now Sept 2008 and this property is for sale

The sage is in flower

I guess I should be breaking it up or doing something with it. Meanwhile the blue flowers on the sage are rather lovely.

View from the front in a frost

We can drive cars down the left, and the teenagers are going to have a party after New Year at the back there.

The wwoofer staked the broccoli

I joked in passing that if the broccoli at the front door grew any bigger it would need staking, then while I was babysitting Annika actually staked it! I had fed it bokashi some time ago...I have never seen a broccoli staked. She has been marvellous spraying the fruit trees with Organic 100 (seaweed and fish waste) and EM (effective microorganisms activated with molasses in a warm place). A smelly job for her. I really hope it pays off and we get some cherries.

An unseasonal frost

Have already lost some pumpkin and a cucumber because of the cool spring but today there was a frost. Looks as though the three hulless pumpkins might have survived. Don't know yet. Anyway here are the onions in the mist and frost. It is going to be a sunny day and Malcolm really wants to mow. He had another accident with the mower last week and then the rain has delayed things.

Later. Well the figs and the grapes have been affected by the frost and of course we lost some pumpkins and a cucumber. My concern is that the figs and grapes recover. (Later – they do.) Certainly many of the breba fig crop are now nowhere to be seen. That is the early crop. Also the potatoes which were not in sheltered positions were burnt a bit.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

a website where you can just sit and watch the world...

Try this everyone. It is about global warming, global population etc. Brilliant.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Anika shovels out compost for spreading

This week we have had a young German wwoofer here, Anika from Essen and here she is shovelling out the compost which is ready. She also helped make the new compost. We make it anaerobically, watering it with EM (effective microorganisms) and scattering bokashi zing in the mix. We stamp it down and it doesn't shrink. This compost was used to prepare a bed for pumpkin.

A year later we have this property for sale now

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Herbs on hand

We seem to have most herbs, which of course have their seasons. Parsley is responding to the bokashi too. Sage is good and of course lemon balm thrives. I am never sure which thyme is which but it doesn't matter much they are all good in salands and in soups. The mint is separate of course, too invasive..

Two types of macadamias

Last year wasn't a great macadamia crop either, mostly due to the cold wet spring which seemed endless. This year Malcolm has pruned them and spent hours mulching the prunings and spreading them out underneath. He will also scatter rock dust.

It seems we have two varieties, one with pinky catkins and one with lime green catkins.

Bokashi worked on the cabbages

I made bokashi a few weeks ago, left it for eight weeks (that was hard for me!) and then put it round the cabbages and celery and kale. Well everything has flourished, especially after a recent rain. The savoy cabbages are hearting well and the celery looks like celery. Last year it was hopeless'

Uncle Joe plum looks promising

Our best plum tree looks really good this year. Last year the crop was quite light due probably to losing a big branch the year before from overloading. The two early plums have also flowered beautifully.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Not sure about pruning skills yet..

Red and black currants pruning is a bit hairy. Here is one example.

The phacelias will bloom again

That herbal ley under the fruit trees will come to life again soon. With alyssum in flower all autumn and winter, soon the phacelia will be a mass of blue and the bees will love it. Well perhaps a month or two yet. They are still growing a lot after all the rains. The clover is dense too.

Also the borage is in flower in the vege garden. Chris' bees are still here so will enjoy them as well as the lavendar.

The first of the tomatoes are in!

Quite a job to get the soil ready in the glasshouse! But we dug in first the green crop, then later a lot of compost and worm wee.

Then I planted moneymaker, Sweet 100 in red and yellow and one called Early Girl. Five plants so far. There will be lots more

Our front door

For ages I have been dissatisfied with what is at our front door, so I dug out a huge untidy shrub and poured in some compost. Then I planted some flowers and some strawberries. In another spot I put lettuces among the flowers.

This year's citrus are doing well

Lemonades, oranges and grapefruit look good but limes seem a bit later. We have two lemon trees somewhere else. Might put some manure round them even yet.

The green veges love bokashi

Yes. The bokashi I made two months ago has now been spread around the green veges and they are thriving. The celery has a new life and the cabbages love it.

I made in on the shed floor. Pine sawdust, bran, seaweed, blood and bone, rock dust mixed together. On it pour a 3% solution of EM (effective microorganisms)with molasses. It also has an accelerator a tiny bit of ceramics EM. I keep it in a barrel with a cloth on and weights holding it down. Apparently because it has a predominance of anaerobic bacteria then putting it on veges improves the antioxidant proportions in the veges.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Satsuma mandarins are ripening

They are good and seem early this year. Already delicious. We have put a lot of compost and manure round the citrus and are even going to plant another lemonade tree shortly, well as soon as the soil is really wet enough. So far there hasn't been much rain, just fine days and a lot of dew.

Try again with that alyssum

The herbal ley looks different in autumn and winter

Yes well. Remember how we sowed a herbal ley with a great many seeds in it during spring? In late spring we had a lot of phacelia flowering which attracted beneficial insects. Twas a mass of blue. They died down and the alyssum began to flower. Here is the alyssum, the white flower and behind it you can see the phacelia coming again. Also the clover is flourishing at the moment.

The various mints seem to be coming again now. Under the figs we have added rue and wormwood and catmint and catnip though I had to plant the latter twice and must go and inspect to see if it is still there. But two rue plants are now seeding. They were hard to grow.

Making anaerobic compost

This is me Deirdre stamping on the anaerobic compost

We have learnt how to make anaerobic compost with EM or effective microorganisms. Basically you have to activate the EM1 adding molasses and warm water and leaving it in a warm dark place for ten days. Then you dilute it in a watering can and you have a wonderful solution of beneficial anaerobic bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms ready to water on your compost.

Well this one was one we had neglected for a while, as we had just piled weeds on it for months. So we sorted it all out, pulled out the woody stuff and added grass clippings and watered it.

Then to keep it anaerobic you have to stamp it down and cover it.

Silver eyes love the persimmons

Just as for figs, we have to get there before the birds. Fortunately persimmons don't mind being picked a bit early and ripen up well inside because it is quite difficult to cover them with nets, too high. Anyway we are sure enjoying our daily persimmons for the month of June.

This one had been upside down about to tackle the fruit and was just pausing before flying off and I caught it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Malcolm mows front area for grass for compost

He loves doing it too, but today got the mower clogged. You can see the pile of grass on the ground.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Feijoas, Adriatic and Brown Turkey figs and apples

The autumn crops have been light this year, thanks to a dreadful wet spring which went on forever. However there have been enough figs and enough apples and feijoas for us and for close family. The persimmons are coming on, ripening up and are delicious now.

Fortunately this year we found another Adriatic that the Deans had planted a few years ago and this time it bore fruit. Just as well because the big one has been too sheltered and hardly ripened at all. A month late and so few ever got round to ripening. But the one in the sun is looking good.

The two apples in the photo are Tydemans Late Orange. One tree still isn't ripe. That is the last of the apples and we have planted some more - Gravenstein and the one from Wanganui with such good health properties – Monty's Surprise. It is a heritage apple again and its research is so good that Good Health Wanganui, the body that provides public health in that district, has bought 5000 trees to give away to households in their district.

We have also planted another cranberry because the other one is doing so well in acid soil near the pine trees.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Great weather in autumn and lots of apples

Sorry for no photo this time, my iphoto doesn't want to export at the moment. The heritage apples have been simply wonderful this season after a year off last year. We love peasgood nonsuch, Jacques Lebel, Egremont russet, lobo, Captain Kidd, nonnettit bastard.

Figs just started two days ago and it takes a while to pick them using a ladder and put the nets back. Then we usually give some away while they are good. People just love them. The late fig doesn't look too promising this year after the dreadful spring we had. It affected so many things – the macadamias, hazelnuts, walnuts for a start.

We had wonderful tomatoes in the glasshouse, didn't grow any inside. Grew parsley and basil with them to enhance the flavour.

Grapes were useless almost, seems hard to convert them to organic..

We have about eight big pumpkins nearly ready. Chestnuts coming very soon.

Now it is September and this property is for sale as we are getting older

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nashi pears

Well the birds or the rats got quite a few of them despite the fact that we covered them with the nets. Two days ago there were these wonderful nashis waiting to be picked. Today only two were left and one had lost half. The one last one was utterly marvellous.

Pumpkins galore

Here they are again. No idea what variety they are, probably a seed of one which was tasty. The fruiterer shop in Otaki sells wonderful pumpkins.

Don't know why I have got fennel going to seed. Presumably I grew them to draw minerals from deep down. Anyway they have wonderful flowers attracting insects!

Silver beet, a few apples, cabbbage too

Today's harvest

Yes a big leek, a few tomatoes, lots and lots of beans, one corn not visible, and some carrots.

Pumpkin everywhere

It seems to have taken over most of the garden. And you can see there are some good ones there too. At the front is a newly planted set of rocket plants, haven't had any for a while. Actually we haven't got any kale at the moment. My idea of growing cabbages, cauli and broccoli is to plant them then watch the white butterflies demolish them, then pull them out! But today I planted some, then sprayed them with dipel the approved organic spray. Have got more ready to use in two weeks time too, which is an advance for me. And the bees are having a party in the borage and the flowers of the korean mint. I can't bear to prune it back.

Tomatoes have been abundant for a long time now

Great tomatoes this year again. No disease. The trick was to grow mustard there in the winter and it sterilised the soil. Also have used a lot of comfrey water and seaweed juice or worm juice, just whatever I have at the time. Two varieties mainly were Sweet 100 and Moneymaker, though somewhere are a couple of heritage tomatoes I got from Koanga gardens.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Kumeras amongst the pumpkin

We extended the vege garden in winter so that we could grow kumeras, which we really love. Lots of digging out stones and transporting compost and topsoil, and at last there is some hot weather to grow them. They are thriving, especially when they are watered daily. Some are growing well under the pumpkin.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Jan and Dave cover nashi pears

Jan and Dave come from Wisconsin and were with us for four or five days. We had many interesting political discussions with them.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dagmar and Paul come from Scotland

Our first wwoofers of 2007 were from Inverness, though Dagmar is German. They did some great work.

Stephanie cleans out our pantry

Stephanie, a wwwoofer from France who has been living in Melbourne, cleans out our pantry on a wet day. What a job!

Phacelia attracts beneficial insects

Yes we have had such pleasure from watching the various bees and hoverflies in the blue flowers of the phacelia in the herbal ley.

The friend who has his beehives on our property says they are making lots of honey. Borage coming out next all over the place.

Here is Malcolm tidying up after tree pruning

It seems an age since I have posted a photo but here goes now. Malcolm has put in many hours trimming and getting rid of unwanted branches and of course we have a lot of new good material from our mulcher now. His grandson Willie Dacker came the other day and helped him put it through the shredder.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Back from holiday and have had two lots of wwoofers

Well the ability to send photos might have deserted me (I interfered with it somehow and can't get it back, I used flickr.com for a mac) but the garden continues to flourish.

I wish I could send photos of the heritage apples which are all swelling and looking so promising. We have already finished thinning them (very late I might say) and used the thinnings for stewing. In fact I had so many I had to freeze them.

Our first wwoofers were Dagmar and Paul from Scotland, wonderful people. We did heaps of work. Everything grew so much while we were away for a three week holiday it sure needed attending to. Fortunately we had had family in the house all that time and the glasshouse and vege garden had been watered regularly and the geese water changed. On arrival home we found the early plums had all been eaten by the birds, there are no more early fruit on any of the olives and disease has entered the wine grapes. Well the grapes were never disease resistant anyway. I always put off spraying them, even with Organic 100 or baking soda and it's time I was more disciplined about it. Anyway they look generally better than last year thank goodness.

The herbal ley is proving wonderful for all sorts of beneficial insects. I think I have identified a hoverfly – not sure. Bees are having a party in the phacelia and the various white flowers are growing underneath them. Borage is just staring to grow bigger. By autumn each plant is huge and the bees love it. So I had to transplant a lot of young borage plants from the vege garden (we had a very big one there last year) to under the fruit trees at the back. The coriander I put under the citrus is flourishing, wonderful for cooking with.

And that brings us to the French wwoofer Stephanie, who is with us now. She loves cooking and yesterday cooked us a delicious lunch which I am still recovering from.

My son in law and daughter noticed that the walnuts almost all have borer, so we had to treat them with a dose of kerosene and seal it with wax. Oh dear.

We have also had trouble with rats who seemed to get half our nuts. Devious brutes. So hopefully we are outwitting them now. A fisherman friend on holiday suggested using nylon fishing line to hang them from in the shed so they can't climb down it. Hopefully that will work.

The weather has been fairly awful. Spring was cool and wet and summer not very obvious. We have only had a few really hot days so the prospect of the kumeras doing well is not strong. Tomatoes are ripening in the glasshouse now, most of the carrots didn't germinate (they are germinating now as it is warm and wet) and you can say goodbye to growing broccoli in the summer due to white butterflies. They hardly grew much anyway.

The corn, beans and squash are working well together. Three sisters the Hope Indians call them. Beans climb the corn and the squash is creeping underneath, beans create soil for all of them.

Bryan my son in law did all the shredding while we were away and many little mechaical jobs fixing things.

Oh and I forgot, I love tradesmen. Our plumber came this week and sorted out the filter and now we have good water pressure again. What a relief. Now we need an electrician again for the caravan as it is shorting out too often. Must go for a swim.