Friday, September 26, 2008

Rupert fells the macrocarpa shading the fruit trees

A lot to clean up yet but the view is already very different with no macrocarpa there. More firewood too!

Monday, September 22, 2008

More photos of the working bee

The effort of city children to distribute blood and bone is certainly appreciated. The smell stays with you for ages and here is Genevieve braving the reality of blood and bone. Hamish was suitably horrified at the smell and the origin.
There is also a photo of Genevieve in front of the figs which are just coming into leaf.
You can also see the process of mulching the feijoas as we lay down cardboard to kill weeds.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Working bee third day

Yes it was fun as well. The Stanley handcart proved both useful and a great toy. Useful for carting the grass clippings and mulch all the way back to the feijoas and fun for joy rides round and round the house. The two year old Lachie enjoyed it most of all. In this photo from left are Jim, Rachel, David, Susanna, Ruby and Genevieve. In trolley are Hamish 4 and Lachie 2 (not visible)

I never thought we would manage to get the feijoas mulched but today people were great. We had heaps of grass clippings and wood mulchings to take back there and we laid down some cardboard and newspaper to kill the weeds beforehand. When we had run out of mulch we got the rotting leaves under the trees on the west side out the back.

And here is David shovelling grass clippings. We were so lucky because just as we ran out, the mowing service fellow arrived with more. And he fixed the line trimmer while he was here too.

Then we all got stuck in and cleaned up round the compost heaps and made two more lots of aerobic compost. Wonderful wonderful. And we mulched the persimmons with grass clippings and compost. And watered them.

My son David and his daughter Genevieve came from Christchurch and joined us. Rachel's partner Jim had just got home from Scotland.

Working bee second day

Wow it was a great idea of Fiona's to have a working bee to get the place tidied up. Yesterday Alistair and Malcolm bought some gravel and fixed up the drive. The best picture I have is of Rauaroha, aged 2 who came with her father.

Then in the afternoon Susanna arrived with a couple of kids and we got the line trimmer going so she could clean up. I taught Ruby aged 10 to thin carrots, transplanting the thinnings so we didn't waste them. She in turn taught her cousin Genevieve the next day and they managed a bit of chinwagging while doing it on the Sunday.

Working bee first day involves wallpapering the kitchen

So here is Oriwia, Malcolm's granddaughter pulling off wallpaper in the kitchen. Rob and Oriwia spent a long time doing it and the job was bigger than we all anticipated. There is more to do and oh the trouble putting back those two way electric switches! Rob is so patient. Things didn't work out on Friday night and the dark overtook him so it was a relief when my son in law finished wiring things up today. Rob will come back to finish the wallpaper when he has time. A long job. We are so grateful.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Freesias are a sure sign of spring

The previous owners Margaret and Ross Dean planted quite a few lovely flowers under the walnuts and chestnuts. The narcissus are nearly finished but we greatly enjoyed them.

When the freesias bloom it is so lovely. You can see the grape hyacinths too. I don't know the name of the yellow bell like flower but they are everywhere and make a good show.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Picking macadamias now

Well it looks as though we have a reasonable crop this year. The first year was good, the second I picked them too early and they were too small and this year it is just at the right time.

You have to take off the coating within 24 hours, then leave them to dry for 12 weeks. Had to get a ladder to get the top ones, scared I would fall and noone would find me. Still more to gather I think. Maybe we will use the young men when the families come for a working bee on Saturday.

Wow just picked yet another bucket. Wonderful! Good size this year.

And another photo is of the macadamias when about half of them have their green coats off. Malcolm takes some off every day. We have now filled a bucket with their shells.

Mulching in the spring

I never thought these trees could use so much mulch. Christabel has shown me that it is easy to kill the weeds under a tree by putting down wet cardboard. And then we just pile on the half rotted grass clippings and the mulched up prunings. It just never seems to stop.

She tried to persuade me to make a bigger circle under the apricots but that is hard work and a heck of a lot of mulch. We already get extra grass clippings delivered from a local contractor to save him paying money to dump it in the Council's dump. So we have done the citrus, grapes, figs, apricots, plums, peaches (well the ones nearest the house anyway), persimmons (these sure need to be protected from the coming summer drought), feijoas (the ones nearest the house), the new avocado, two new apples, new grape, tamarillo, pears, quince and nectarine.

Malcolm's grandson Paul is living in Otaki now and was a great help recently.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Making new soil out the back

When you grow root vegetables there is seldom enough room. So last year I started a patch out the east of the property to grow Maori potatoes. I laid down straw and mulch but they didn't do well as apparently Maori potatoes need a lot of water. It was just too far away from the house.

So this year I got my granddaughter to build a new garden. Rather than pay for someone to build raised beds, we used the nearby stones (this property and all surrounding properties are full of "Hautere spuds", big stones under the ground, and all gardens and all fruit trees have been developed by taking out those stones. In our case there are piles of them around and shrubs have been planted among them quite successfully over the years.

Well we have put brown cardboard down over the grass to kill it, then layers of wood mulch and grass clippings and manure and sprinkled it with EM. Then more and more and covered it for a while. Now that soil is developing, and the spuds have sprouted we have planted the Maori potatoes, not to mention some attractive flowers. (After all it is the bed we see straight out from the dining room window.)

Today I rummaged round in it and worked in some wood ash so that the potatoes have plenty of potash. Should have done that earlier. I worked it into the soil around the tomatoes too. Should have done that earlier too.. We live and learn.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The front of the house

Here is a view of the front of the house. The plants are growing well there and the hollyhocks are rising again.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The blossom is all coming out well now

The early plums look fantastic at the moment and the late plum has also come out in blossom.We are about to pick the last of the macadamia and weed the last of the figs ready for mulching. I think the persimmons will get some attention soon too. They are very vulnerable to lack of water so we will be very particular in giving them quite a deep layer of mulch.

In the vege garden I have just planted two heritage tomatoes next to the warm brick wall on the west and of course have over a dozen in the glasshouse. On the west wall I have transplanted some hollyhocks and hopefully will get a sunflower or two in there later. See above. I think they have just survived the transplant. I am growing tomatoes outside this year more than in the glasshouse, easier to water.

I have some more Maori potatoes sprouting and will soon put them where the cabbages and broccoli have been.

This property is for sale

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Spring 2008 and the property is for sale

We have been weeding, mulching, mowing and generally tidying up to put the property on the market soon.

The citrus have been fed. One of the best ways of killing weeds is to lay down some cardboard and then put grass clippings and brown mulch over them. Trying to build up mulch now while the moisture level is just right. We have had to clear under the new avocado and the newish apple (Monty's Surprise) and feed them well.

I have also made two new gardens. Photos next time

This small holding is for sale.