Kaituna Orchards is getting a big shake up. The details are being hammered out and I will be writing about it once the dust settles. One of the beautiful thing that will come out of this is that Block 1 is going to be turned into an orchard garden, or what we call the salad bowl. I feel so excited just thinking about it, all the potential, all the room for creativity. We will also be trialing alternative ways of growing without the use of chemicals.

While having a discussion with Grant last week, I suddenly got very angry when I realized that chemical agriculture has hijacked the word CONVENTIONAL from organic agriculture. The businessman and politicians knows that nobody is going to buy into chemical agriculture, instead, they rename it conventional agriculture and it just caught on. I also realize that denying organic agriculture works is just as easy as denying the existence of God. All you need is your believe system for you to decide which side of the fence you are standing on. Miracles? If you don’t want to believe it, you can just brush it off as just a coincidence. Steve Wratten has it down, “some organic growers rely on practices which they can’t explain, but truly believe in”.

However, I got an inspiration from episode 2 of River Cottage Treatment where Hugh sent some of the ready made frozen food for lab test, and the participants get to see all of the chemical powders that make up the food. I could just about show you all the colorful stuff that chemical agriculture add into the production of food, in comparison to the stuff that organic agriculture use. That will come some day in the future.

I started to thin out he mustard in the tucker patch. They are now about 30cm high, thus the need to open up some light for the garlic cloves. The garlic cloves that I have planted are coming along well which is good because I was later told to plant them in August instead. I hope they will be fine. I also noticed my red currant, Gloria de Versailles are starting to have some bud movement, in the middle of Winter! I hope my white currant will be alright, it seems to have a borer problem. Come Spring I will get some Neem granules into the ground.

Winter, everything starts to slow down, including my appetite. It is also the time to increase my agriculture knowledge exponentially. I have been devouring books like a black hole. One would thought the library would have all the books in the world, and that one person is naive, and that naive person is me. There will be books that I will have to buy when Christchurch Library runs out of the books that I wanted to read. In fact, I have ordered 2 books to be sent from Germany! Homeopathy for Farm and Garden by Vaikunthanath Das Kaviraj and Homeopathy for Plants by Christiane Maute. Books, they are my source of financial downfall.

Now is also the time to eye out seeds catalogs. I can’t wait to see the new Koanga Gardens catalog! All the seeds are bred in NZ which means they are more naturalized compare to imported seeds. At this moment I am quite fascinated with growing corns and tomatoes. I have lined up 3 varieties of corns and 6 varieties of tomatoes in my very small growing area. And I just got another brainwave with 3 more spots to cram tomatoes in!

Corn! If you look at most commercial seed catalogs, all the listed corn varieties are hybrid! I am getting my heirloom corn seeds from Koanga Gardens. Silver Platinum, Rainbow Inca, and Early Gem. One of my project this year is to cross Rainbow Inca and Silver Platinum with Early Gem in hope of coming up with an earlier version of Rainbow Inca and Silver Platinum to make up for the not so long season in Canterbury.

Tomato! I am obsessed with black tomatoes as they have the best health properties. From Kings Seeds, there are the Cherokee Purple, Black Zebra, Indigo Rose (cherry), and Oaxacan Jewel (yellow). From Koanga Gardens, there are the Black Cherry (cherry), Dagma’s Perfection (yellow), and Henry’s Dwarf Bush Cherry (red cherry). Most of the chosen ones are dark in color. I am going to grow them out in the open, and I just might let them have the entire greenhouse as well!

Now is really the time to think and rethink how I am going to plant out the area. Would eggplants, bell peppers, chili peppers do well planted in the open? Or should I let the tomatoes have that spot instead and try to grow a bit of them in the greenhouse? Maybe I should grow my chili in a pot. I am also so tempted to take the current greenhouse down and build a larger one in place!

Time to hold back, stay centered and present, and let creative practicality takes hold.