I no longer smell a 3 meters greenhouse. I am going to build a 10 meters mikroclima greenhouse next season! It will be at least 1.8 meters in width and the 10 meters length will be divided into 1.2 meters length beds as per Kay Baxter’s recommendation. The plan is to raise the sides with planks by 30cm, I am a fan of raised beds and they served a particular function at the Orchard Garden which I will talk about next.

The flood! It used to be a once in 25 years event. It happened last year, and it happened again this year! I have a good guess that once the river flow breach 35 cubic meters per second, there’s a highly probable chance of flooding. Last year it went up to 44 cubic meters per second. On Monday, it went up to 41 cubic meters per second.

So… the raised beds helped to hold the soil in the tucker patch without getting washed out. The decision to plant a cover crop over Winter, and to thin the mustard by cutting them above the soil instead of pulling them roots out, saved me from heart break because the dying roots still helped to hold the soil together and prevent erosion! That’s why I need a 30cm raised bed.

The flood washed my first batch of cover seeds away. A pat on the back for deciding to sow them in batches instead of all at once. It washed some of the pea straw mulch away, which is no big deal because I have a few extra bales sitting in the wood shed. I literally returned the tucker patch to pre-flood condition the moment the flooding subsides! A few bags of compost sitting around helped to back fill areas that have been washed off because they were mulched instead of planted with covers. More good news, grass grubs drown. No sign of drown earthworms, the raised beds must have saved their lives! The Orchard Cottage did not experience an extended flooding, from that I can deduce that earthworms can hold their breath longer than grass grubs.

I have setup an evacuation procedure for the Orchard Cottage. When river flow goes above 30 cubic meters per second, take my car to the orchard and return with the quad bike. Pack my supplies and be ready to evacuate for good. When river flow goes above 35 cubic meters per second, the road will be submerged beyond passable traffic, but I can still escape into the orchard through the farm tracks on my quadbike, switched back to my car and wait it out at Valley Lea over the hospitality of Grant and Helen. I must say this is a good plan, to abandon the sinking ship when its bow is underwater.

It was a pretty depressing week without the sun. My seeds are about to germinate, some has germinated, and they are wondering where is the sun, some must have felt cheated by the un-sun heat, growing tall and lanky, just like me. That did not stop me from working in the garden yesterday. I put up the Northerlies windbreak, here I used mikroclima frost cloth because they have the lowest shading factor. This will help give the plants a break from the gusting winds which can be quite unnerving, and allow them to grow  into taller and larger plants.

The broad beans are flowering now! I am glad they did not spit the dummy after the flood. I did do my bit to rescue them, a seaweed foliar spray on Tuesday, then again on Wednesday, then again on Saturday when the sun decides to smile upon us. Three times the charm. Seaweed to the plants is like chamomile tea to us, calming, soothing, de-stressing. No signs of pest and disease yet, which are merely indicator of stressed and weak plants. Anyhow, I reloaded all the slug traps with beer. Took me 2 bottles of cheap beer for that. At least I know it works because I found fermenting slugs in them!

Homeoplant. Homeopathy for plants. This is a very interesting science. I have a feeling Rudolf Steiner’s choice of plant material in the preparations are based on homeopathy principles. I have got 2 books on it, sent all the way from Germany by Narayana Publishers. Homeopathy for Plants by Christiane Maute is easy read and well structured, good for beginners. Homeopathy for Farm and Garden by Vaikunthanath Das Kaviraj is more concise, so concise that I was still reading the foreword after 3 days. I have also ordered a set of remedies to come in from Germany and trial them at the Orchard Cottage. I won’t be able to finish the book by Kaviraj anytime soon as I somehow got myself 6 books and counting to read in a month time before I have to return them to the library.

I don’t think I will have much peas come Spring as the birds have destroyed them last Autumn, at least they left the broad beans alone. That’s another reason why I am having my 10m mikroclima green house. It will not be a completely enclosed unit, it will have mikroclima for the roof, North and side walls, and curtain setup on the South which is back to back with the house. This will help keep some of the birds out and yet allow the insect life to come in, bees.

 

Ta~da! Straw bale gardening! I got to know about it on Ooooby which got me curious and interested. The right way is to over Winter the bale outdoors, which I did not, but that didn’t matter to me. I gave it a good soaking, topped it with some Dalton’s Organic Potting Mix, and poke it really hard many times with a fork. I sow some Crimson Clover seeds into it, I am also going to sow some Blue Lupin into it as well. I have no intention to use straw bale gardening to grow food based on a principle that food should be grown on the ground, where the roots of the plant can interact with Mother Earth. I am using straw bale gardening to make live compost. Pea straw breaks down into Carbon. Crimson Clover and Blue Lupin fixes Nitrogen and add green matter when chopped in. So… I hope it works. And I think it might work better if doused with fish fertilizer from time to time, I will do that after the seeds germinated and develop their first true leaves.

Wheatgrass in ice cream container grows taller! I will feed with liquid fish after each cuttings. As all my other seedling trays, they get liquid seaweed weekly, its like wheatgrass juice for them.

I realized the journey I have taken so far has changed my worldview a lot. It all started with the desire to have a wildflowers meadow. To trying to grow my own vegetables based on a sow seeds and walkaway idea (it did worked in my cloche). Then start the constant seeking of knowledge, traditional knowledge in particular. The pursuit of heirloom corn seeds got me to Koanga Gardens and from there all the books that Kay Baxter recommended. As Rudolf Steiner has put it many years ago, and so does Dr Weston A Price, the degeneration of mankind happens because of the quality of food that we are consuming. Then along came Caesar who I fed a higher quality diet compare to the one I had myself, so I found myself switching to wholemeal pasta, and on Friday I picked up a jar of organic peanut butter. I must say, that is the first organic product I have ever bought in a supermarket! Gardening bringing a change in me. All of my ex-gfs’ parents used to remark that I am going to be a wealthy man, much to my amusement. Today, I realized I am going to be a wealthy man indeed, wealth that is beyond monetary matter, true wealth than is the abundance that Mother Earth can provide. Mother Nature is the real Gold. I seek to continue learning from the ancients, and apprentice to be a good steward of Mother Earth.

Caesar is indeed more dominant than Hugo. He even claimed Hugo’s breakfast! The perk of working in an orchard is that I have access to a quadbike. A very useful tool to drain excess energy in a highly energetic puppy! Its very simple, just hop on the quadbike and ride around the orchard with Caesar following behind. After two sessions going around the orchard, he still does have energy to play with Hugo!

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