I’ve submitted 9 of the units for my Hort4 on Friday. There’s still 3 more at the moment which will take a longer time to complete. Can’t wait for the other units to arrive!

Our grapes on the vineyard are coming up just below 23 on the Brix test. It will be a matter of weeks before the place gets buzzing again getting the grapes picked. 11ha of them.

My simple rose protection fence is not working as well as it should be. Leafs are still going missing, but at a slower rate. Surprisingly, nothing has touched Ispahan. I might have to resort to some sort of pest repellent pellet, I do know snakes stay away from sulfur, I wonder if rabbits and possums will do the same. That aside, I’ve also transplanted some thyme and parsley from my herbs patch among the roses, the herbs patch is going to be upgraded next season and producing basil in full force. On the other hand, the everyday herbs found their way into the house!

At the back I have pizza thyme, tricolor sage, stevia, chervil, and basil mint. At the front, prostrate rosemary, french tarragon, baby spring onions, chives, greek oregano, and italian parsley. I had some trouble with the potting mix though, I bought 2 bags of Tui Herb Mix from Mitre10, a bag of them is fine, and another bag turned out completely wet and soggy which is a nightmare to work with. Lesson to remember, always some how make sure the mix is not wet and soggy by judging the weight of the bag. Again, a slap on the hand to Tui Seed Raising Mix for being too coarse for fine seeds, Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix will always be my top choice. Alternatively, use three quarter of Tui Seed Raising Mix to form the base and fill up the top one quarter with Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix, that will bring some cost savings and still have the benefit of fine top soil.

I am enjoying every moment of this. I built this cloche for an experiment, my sow-everything-mix-together plot. Its amazing to see the seeds are germinating and have germinated into seedlings! Always love the sight of those babies. This experience has generated my strawberry cloche idea which is going to be happening in late Autumn or early Winter.

I’ve finally finished leveling the tucker patch and put in the final line of drip irrigation pipes. Following week I am going to bring the tractor around give it a dose of glyphosate, then there will be the 8 cubic meters of compost! I had some new garden tools to do the job, Buy Right and Westminster tools are quite a disaster despite being cheap. I would highly recommend Spear and Jackson which are moderately priced but you get good value for your money. Their ergonomic range is fantastic, I have the rake and the 3 prong cultivator. I’ll go for them whenever I don’t need contractor/trade quality tools. Unfortunately Mitre10 don’t stock them, so you have to get them from Bunnings Warehouse.

Had a very interesting experience at Mitre10 which put me off going to Mire10 on Monday ever again. Wanted to buy some timber and had them cut to length, the guy attending to me did not want to cut them for me telling me that it can fit into my car, so it will be fine. I was shocked because this is the first time someone at Mitre10 has refused to cut to length! Anyway, I got him to do it, he didn’t seem too happy but he did it anyway, left the pieces there and walked away after that, the rudeness is very un-Mitre10. Friday’s a good day to buy timber there because the guy on duty is super friendly and helpful!

Was working on the tucker patch the other day when Nic jogged along and told me she like the picture and the article that I wrote. I thought she was talking about this blog, how did she find out about this blog? Turned out she got the copy of NZ Gardener April 2012 issue and found my letter in it.

For every letter published, you get a $30 gift card. I emailed the lady to asked for a copy of out of print Homegrown Tomatoes instead of the gift card but they decide to send me both! Lovely! I like the attitude, the one that every gardener had it inside them, of abundance. That’s what will make the world a lovely place.

Mark and Gayle from Country Gardens in Marshland now know me by first name basis. I sort of drive across to the other side of the city every weekend to visit their nursery, just like how I always manage to show up at Mitre10 Hornby every Friday. That’s the confession of a shopaholic. Anyway, here’s the latest addition to the Orchard Cottage, a Bay Tree! Flanked by Strawberry Chandler and Strawberry Pajaro, also obtained from Country Gardens. From my research, a Bay Tree is not exactly frost hardy especially when young, so it will have to have a jacket when frosty visits. I’ve planted it on one of the raised bed planter box which I meant to plant tomatoes in, but that’s fine because there will be plenty of tomatoes growing around the place anyway.

This is a very happening week indeed. I have finally made my DIY compost drum. I cut the bottom of a 20oL drum off, and the top as well which I retained as a lid. Drilled holes on 1/3 and 2/3 height levels and put polythene pipes with plenty of holes in it through the hole in the drum for aeration. Its open bottom, so that the process is directly in touched with Mother Earth, and also when the compost is ready to use, I just tip the drum over and everything will come out below.

Chillax four day work week ahead 😉