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Yesterday was frustrating. The gust started on Friday night with at least 16 knots and up to 27 knots, and it went on and on through to Saturday evening. All the while, I silently glanced at my greenhouse, being trashed by the wind. It hold fast in its place, thanks to 4 aluminium stakes hammered into the ground at the corners, and a wooden frame for the door which is supported against the wall of the cottage by a beam. The wind is smarter than that, knowing that it can’t blow the greenhouse away, it decides to start ripping the plastic covers apart. There’s now tear holes in the plastic covers, the wind knows that it works, and it will try and finish the job the next time it regains its strength. As for me, I’ll just have to start planning for a more grandeur design for next season when this season ends. And possibly plant a native shelter in the paddock opposite the cottage.

The lovely buds of Apple Calville Blanc D Hiver. It appears that this year I will have 9 apples and 4 pears in pots. The other pear I failed to mentioned in my last post is Pear Louise Bon Jersey (1780). And another lesson learned, fruit trees doesn’t like to travel by mail order when they are not dormant. I foliar-ed them with Seasol and Neem Oil to help remedy the consequences.

The Santa Rosa Plum in the tucker patch seems to be recovering gently from the aphid infestation. I gave it a light spray of Neem Oil with soap. It appears to be the only fruit plant having an aphid problem then. However, I just spotted a group of large juicy green aphids on the Climbing Rose Lydia. Them being full adult size suggests that they have been there for quite a while! I will have to deal with that soon but I wasn’t too worry about it because the rose is surrounded by flowering Mustard and Blue Lupin. There’s bound to be more hungry insect-eating-insect around!

2kgs of Comfrey roots were buried in the tucker patch, as well as a border around the wildflowers meadow yesterday. These deep rooted plants help to mine Potassium from the subsoil just like how Dandelions mine Calcium.

Broad Beans have set pods despite of the previous frosty events! The next challenge would be to figure out when they are ripe for harvest. How do you eat broad beans? Do you eat them whole with the pod or just the beans? Hmmm… Have I even ate broad beans before? That’s how clueless I am…

I sprayed Bio Dynamic P508 this morning, I was supposed to do it on Friday but the preparations did not arrived till yesterday. And later on, P500 and CPP in the evening. That is the full moon routine. Then, P501 on the morning  before Moon goes into opposition of Saturn.

We are also monitoring for Leaf Curl in the orchard among the Peach and Nectarine trees. At first glanced, either our prevention sprays are very well timed and effective or the disease pressure was low this season. Previous seasons, this time, we will be going around with a plastic bag collecting curly leaves and emptying them into drums for incineration. My first year in the orchard was quite a nightmare, but that helped me to develop an eye for early signs of leaf curl so that I can promptly remove the infected leaves.

Tomatillo, they sound so cute and cool. That got me into trying to grow them this season as well, and I just have to find a place to stick them in. I am growing 2 varieties from Kings Seeds, Tomatillo Grande Verde and Tomatillo Purple. I don’t even know what I am going to do with them, but I will figure out when the fruits are ripe. I heard that Salsify Black Scorzonera taste like oyster, I like oyster, so I am going to stick them in as well. And radish too, just out of curiosity, radish seems familiar, I also wonder if I have ate them before.

I planned for this season, yet I am not entirely following the plan as I kept adding varieties to it! The plan did not have Jerusalem Artichokes. Nor 3 varieties of corn. Nor tomatillos. Nor salsify. Nor swedes. Nor radish. And definitely did not planned for the 13 pip fruits in pots!

I can only attribute this to racing against time. To try to make up for all the gardening experience that I missed out in the past quarter century of my life. I am loving it!

Caesar killed the stuffed rabbit and ripped its guts out. I set him out on the sheep almost every evening so that he can round them up and chase them into another paddock. He is getting better at it. It is really fun for a non-shepherd to observe his lovely pet dog doing this kind of thing.

p/s, had my mind on a lot of blueberry plants~

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My obsession with heritage fruit plants had me cataloging most of the apple cultivars that I can get my hand on and then researching their year of origin. Today, I finally manage to research most of them and discovered that 4 more pre-1700 cultivars! Golden Pippin (1629), Rhode Island Greening (1650), Gravenstein (1669), Ribston Pippin (1688).  I have placed an order for the Golden Pippin and Gravenstein. Unfortunately Rhode Island Greening is only available for Southland, and Ribston Pippin is not available in m106 rootstock. This fetish is costing me money, but money well spent on safe keeping of ancient genetic source of fruit plants.

Three oldest pears money can buy. Jargonelle (1600s), Seckel (1700s), and William bon Chretien (1770). At the same time,  Coe’s Golden Drop is the oldest plum I have researched so far, dating back to the 1700s.

I am also obsessed with healthy food. The 2 jug on the left is for my weekly supply of raw organic milk. And the rest is for brewing 3 liters of water kefir. Now, 3 times a week I will be on a kefir re-hydration day instead of water re-hydration day.

I found out that the intense orange of Calendula goes well with the intense purple of Lavender, they look absolutely stunning together! The White Alyssum has started flowering in the wildflowers meadow. I guess one of the mistake I made is to mow the meadow down into the ground, this season I will cut it to 30cm height with a line trimmer right at the start of Winter.

Young grape vines are growing! I am so excited! Yet I doubt I will be able to harvest any grapes from them this year. But I will definitely have a few nice bunches of Pinot Gris which I *ahem* adopted *ahem* from our Pinot Noir vineyard, sticking out like a purple cow. I am actually going to train it to run along the clothes line. Unconventional.

Lemon Meyer in full bloom. But we have a problem. Some leaves are turning brown and dropped by itself. And the flower buds just fall off. It is strange. I suspect that in my attempt to rid the plant of scales, I poisoned it with my neem oil and soap spray. Soap which if applied in more than 2% can be phytotoxic to plants. So I gave the plant a good flushing by pouring away its water reservoir and watering it with fresh water. It seems to have recovered, and now I even have fruit set! I also gave my Lemon Yen Ben and Lime Bearrs a PowerFeed today, Moon in Sagittarius.

I upgrade the tomatoes into 5.5cm x 13cm paper pots last week, and they went all out, busting the roof of the micro-climate cover. So, I moved them out into the greenhouse, with a bit of trouble. Lessons are learned along the way. If you are using paper pots like me, move them if you have to, before you water them, they disintegrate rather easily when wet. Sticking them together shoulder to shoulder is also a bad idea, some of the roots decided to have a taste of the other pot… Give half of them away and pot the ones I am keeping into PB12.

My transplanting plan for the tomatoes into the tucker patch would be utilize 3 of the planting lanes, 2 rows on each lanes and 4 plants a row. That way, I will have 3 plants of each varieties, 8 varieties in total. And plus 1 more lane of Henry’s Dwarf Bush Cherry Tomatoes. I guess that means I have plenty of tomatoes to give away and feed the birds as well!

My way of managing the orchard is the corporate way of “Managing By Walking Around (MBWA)”. Instead of whizzing around on a quad bike, I took an hour walk through all the blocks, get up close and personal with the trees to make sure they are all at their very best. I find this not only put me in a tree-hugging-mood, but also allow me to quickly spot any problems, or review on what we have done right or wrong. One day, I will know the orchard like the back of my feet. In the photo above is Block 6, we cut down all the central leaders that is growing in between the multi-leaders, now this block no longer feel constipated. It raised the whole vibration of the area and improved airflow, lower disease risk, it is now my favorite block.

This is what a bumper crop looks like to me. Cherries usually fruit on older wood. However, on a one year old wood, they will usually fruit on the first 3 inch. This year, they are going beyond that 3 inch but decide to fruit all the way to the tip! Now, we just need the weather to warm up and have the bees do their job.

This is what happen when you sheep wander among your fruit trees. If a dog bite a sheep, we shoot the dog. Now, should we shoot the sheep?

600 pages of ancient China agriculture. Its so lengthy, I decide to practice speed reading.

Caesar, he found out how to get to Grant’s house from my house to play with Hugo the Samoyed, that’s more than a quarter mile away. It happened yesterday, I took him out for a walk, and he decide to herd the sheep. Instead of heading them to me like what Border Collie are designed to do, he became a Huntaway wannabe and drove the sheep further and further away, and they ended up right beside Grant’s house, then Caesar disappeared. The same thing happened today, I had him herding the sheep all around the paddock, then they decide to head for Grant’s house… Caesar once again ignored me when I called out to him.

I made good progress with Caesar and Hugo today by walking them together. It was pretty much the first time they behaved in a civilized manner in each other’s presence instead of jumping around and wrestling each other. Plans were made to do it more often to create a more balanced relationship.

 

The Lemon Meyer in the living room is just starting to blossom. The perfume is intoxicating. It’s like being in the room with someone who overdose on CK IN2U.

All is not well with the Lemon Meyer. It still has not rid itself of scales infestation yet. I treated it with Neem Oil a week ago and follow up with a Homeopathic Sulfur C200 a week later which helps to deter pest and strengthen the plant. Some new shoots are starting to shriveled off and some just drop, and same to some flower buds. If this continues it will seriously weakened the tree. I just got desperate enough to brush the scales with some Diatomaceous Earth with my old toothbrush, which will hopefully dehydrate them. I am quite an impatient person, so I will probably resort to picking them off the tree later in the afternoon.

This is how it looks like from the inside of our spray tractor. It looks exactly like Guido from Cars. The whole thing is hydraulics driven, pivot steer which means that the whole front part of the tractor turns when you turn the steering, takes some getting used to. It takes me 6 hours to spray the cherries and 2 hours for the peaches and nectarines. A scary thing about this tractor, because it is hydraulics driven, there’s heaps of pipes underneath which I heard leaks and break off all the time and you will see the cabin floor will be flooded with oil. Tractor driving is very boring, yet one will feel so powerful as he go along spraying a concoction on to dominate Mother Nature.

We had a bit of snow on Tuesday night. I think this will be the last of the wintry weather. It is of course followed by a frost the following night which had me spraying LB Urea onto the cherry trees already in flower in the orchard which is known to help fend of frost. The temperature got to about -2dCelcius when the sun starts to rise. I sprayed Homeopathic Aconitum C200 as a remedy for cold, windy, frost and hail.

I repotted most of the tomatoes yesterday. 55mm diameter and 130mm high paper pots. I mixed half and half Dalton’s Organic Seed Raising Mix with South-Hort Organic Compost, then 50g of Wally’s Rok Solid (rock minerals) and 20g of Neem Granules. I gave them Homeopathic Arnica C200 to alleviate transplant stress. This will give the seedlings enough ooomph until they go into the ground on Labour Day, or into a larger pot if they decide to make a run for it. The punnets at the front are the bell peppers, Thai chilis, and eggplants. These will probably have another 2 weeks of growing before they get an upgrade.

For the first time in decades, Kaituna Orchards will be accepting EFTPOS for Pick-Your-Own Cherries! In the past we had people holding back on their purchase in case of the lack of cash. We also had people who went all out and had no cash to pay. Either way, both are not good for the business. We also had in mind of drawing up a simple sketch on how to pick first grade cherries so that our customers will have beautiful cherries that store well. Note, cherries without a stalk or with a broken stalk will not store well. We also had people pulling off the fruiting spurs as souvenirs, this is really bad business as it will devastate the fruiting capacity of the trees, therefore, if you want to destroy your competition, go into their PYO orchard and pull off all the fruiting spurs! Only do it if you can live with the consequences for the rest of your life.

Two books that I read this week. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price, this is a book that everyone should read, especially for those who aspire to be parents. Price studied primitive people from all over the world, their health when they are living on native diet, and their health after they switched to modern diet. These primitive people on their native diet have very low incidence of tooth decay, yet they don’t brush their teeth, they don’t gargle Listerine, nor do they floss. They definitely do not have an annual visit to the dentist for high-tech clean up. And yet, modern people are plagued with tooth decay no matter how many times we brush our teeth a day! Dental health is one of the biggest indicator of general health. The answer is in the food that we consumed today. Read the book, it will be the best gift you can give to our future generations.

Another book was written by Thomas and Carol Janas Sinclair. Bread, Beer & the Seeds of Change. It is a really interesting read about the history of food until they start to advocate Nitrogen fertilizers, revel in the marvelous pesticides and herbicides, and slam the organic idea. “The requirements for obtaining the USDA certification label of Organic make widespread growing of cereal grains virtually impossible. Many of these restrictions are based on the idea of limiting the use of “artificial” approaches in growing the crops. The regulations are a curious set of dos-and-don’ts; for example, plant varieties generated from the transformation of a single gene are strictly prohibited, but plants resulting from breeding that alters hundreds of genes in unknown ways are acceptable. Certainly, all plants used in organic farming have already been genetically manipulated in their history.”. Here, they try to justify genetic engineering.

One of Caesar’s sleeping position. He is recovering well, I gave him some Homeopathic Arnica C200 to help alleviate the shock. He also got over the effects of antibiotic now, it meddled with his bladder and bowel control.

I am not being anti-social, but if you happened to know that I have been man handling cow dung today, you definitely would like to keep your distance.

Behold Maria Thun’s Barrel Manure. In New Zealand, its called the Cow Pat Pit and usually resembles a rectangular pit lined with bricks. But the original one is a bottom-less half a wine barrel buried in the ground. I decided to go with half a wine barrel because it is cheaper and easier. It costs only $60 for the barrel, but if you are going to do it with bricks, you need a minimum of 96 bricks which costs at least $96, and to line them up nicely… uhhh… I’m not a brick layer.

I improved the recipe a wee bit further. I fluffed up the soil at the base with some charcoal and compost to give it more biological activity. The normal CPP used 60kg of cow dung mixed with 200g of crushed egg shells and 300g of Basalt dust. I substituted the Basalt dust with Wally’s Rok Solid which is pretty much the same thing, silica dust. I also added a handful of EF’s Natures Garden. After all the mixing up, I watered in with a shot of Wally’s MBL which is pretty much liquid humate. Then cover with hessian sack, check and fluff monthly and to be used in Autumn, and a new brew will be started at the same time.

An interesting point to note while I was breaking down the cow dung to smaller pieces. They don’t stink. They don’t really smell at all. These are organic cow dung by the way. I got them from a new friend’s ranch where her organic-cow-who-still-has-her-horns is grazing. I pat that lovely cow too, she came up to us! Please, I am not getting all hype up because I am a townie who have never seen a cow before, there’s a paddock right opposite the Orchard Cottage which is sometimes filled with cows, and they usually keep a safe distance from me, they will follow me around, but they will always keep a distance. Its probably because they don’t have horns, makes them un-horny.

I cleaned up half of the cloche to make way for the Paraketia Potatoes. An old potato from the East Coast, and is still well known over there. Its growing habit is amazing, when you dig them up you see that the potatoes grow on long runners in the ground, like strings of potatoes in a line. They are oblong shaped, with round ends, they have purple skin, very shallow eyes and light cream flesh with purple streaking. They have a particularly good flavour, and are best boiled, steamed or in a hangi. That is enough room for 5 seed potatoes, and I am planting 6 more into 2 potato planter bags.

I planted the Yates Majestic Red Carrots in Autumn as part of my leaf-root-legume scatter seed experiment. I had to pull them out to make way for the potatoes, and I am in for a surprise! Most of them are not even babies, more like embryos. The left most is merely a teenager and I have got 3 babies of different shapes. Taste wise, they do taste good raw.

A very interesting notes when I clean the leafy greens. A whole lot of slugs are residing in it! In fact, when I go out at night, I can just about see slugs everywhere! However, the interesting thing is, despite the slugs residing among the leafy greens, there are no slug damage on them!

This Victorian era hand cultivator is really cool and it works like honey! I found it while “digging” around the orchard. I found another one, that’s two, I am going to give them some TLC, then make a contraption that will hold them side by side so that I can have a wider coverage.

The cherries are coming into blossoms in the orchard! Time for the bee man to bring his bees. We are planning on some drastic move in Block 6 where the single leader Lapins grow among the multi leader Lapins. Try to picture the current situation, crammed in a train, standing in the middle of the aisle between two tall basketball players who just finished practice and did not freshen up, both have their hands up in the air, holding the hand rails right above your head all the while exposing the fermenting sweat in their armpits, in the train crammed to the full. Euphoria. We are going to chainsaw all the single leaders at knee height and open up some air space for air movement. In the past season, I remember riding through this block and the whole environment change, no air movement, stuffiness and smells like an abandon boarded up house. Bad for business.

I transplanted the Aloe Vera into a 30mm pot and move it outdoors. It has been sitting tight in a small container for too long that I am just obligated to give a larger space to grow and flourish. Aloe Vera has got many uses. I will use it as a moisturizer, to sooth burns, and also sand flies bites. I will also use it as a pruning or grafting sealant after finding out rose growers use it to patch up wind broken standard roses, which works miraculously.

In the re-potting process, I removed all the baby Aloe Vera, cut away all but one leaf, they all looks like the international hand sign right now, but its all to alleviate transplant stress, and pot them up in little potters. Once I am sure they are going to live, I will be giving them away to good homes.

I have never successfully grafted something before. But one day, I will succeed. Originally this is a Goldbar Apricot on Plumstock. I grafted a Goldbar and a Goldstrike onto the original Goldbar stem. They are lovely apricots, Goldstrike requires Goldbar for pollination.

I also grafted a Goldstrike onto this Goldbar Apricot. Its on the lowest one year old shoot. I plug the scion wood in and then squeeze the Aloe Vera gel to fill in the gaps. Seal the exterior with an organic pruning/grafting sealant from Koanga, and wrap it up. Cross my fingers and hope for the best.

My broad beans are truly going for it now. They are gaining height as I blog, literally. The mikroclima windbreak definitely helped because plants generally don’t grow tall in gusty situations.

A vision came through to me during the week. In it I saw a flowering specimen tree of a weeping form right in the middle of the wildflowers meadow. I got on to Southern Woods and look for weeping flowering specimen tree of the ideal height, not too tall. None truly fit the bill in terms of price and availability, so I dismissed the whole notion. Until Friday, I was in Mitre10 and I had this urge to go into the garden center, and there, right at the center, a solitary weeping flowering cherry – Falling Snow. That was it, it will grow to 3 meters tall final height.

I answered another calling earlier. To collect pre-1800s apple varieties. So I did. I got them in from all over the country, it will take a few years for them to naturalized to the Orchard Cottage micro-climate. I planted them in 45mm self-watering planter pots with a special mix of half and half of compost and organic potting mix, charcoal, wood ash, Neem tree granules and a handful of EF’s Natures Garden. The edges are companion sown with Alyssum and German Chamomile. The apple trees are all of mm106 root stocks as I don’t intend them to be in the pot their entire life. Fully dwarf root stocks would possibly have a weakening effect on the trees. They will need to be root-pruned every few years while in the pot.

Front, left to right,

Devonshire Quarrenden (1676, English) – A beautiful looking apple with bright red skin and sweet flesh that is said to carry a distinctive strawberry flavour. Very popular in Victorian times as a dessert apple but actually dates from Devon in 1676 hence the name. Edible Garden, Palmerston North.

Golden Reinette (1600s, English) –  An ancient variety from Europe that is worth growing for the historical interest alone. The skin is yellow with a strong flush of red and lightly russeted. A good eating apple or can be used for making cider. Good disease resistance. Te Kahuri Nurseries, South Taranaki.

Calville Blanc D Hiver (1598, French) – A revered French Apple dating back to 1598. The medium sized fruit are pale green with a splattering of red dots. The flesh is aromatic, sweet, spicy and juicy making it a popular dessert apple especially for ‘Tarte aux Pomme’. Very high in Vitamin C, ripe in late summer. Country Gardens, Christchurch.

Back, left to right,

Blenheim Orange (1740, English) – A well known English heritage apple from 1740. Large, round, flat fruit with skin that is shaded orange-yellow. The yellow flesh is crisp, sweet, juicy and aromatic with a distinctive nutty flavour. Great for fresh eating or cooking. Mitre10, Christchurch.

Tom Putt (1700s, English) – This English Apple dates back to the late 1700’s. The fruit which ripen in autumn are large and have a flattish appearance. The skin is green flushed red and the flesh is firm and quite sharp in flavour. A superb cooking apple and perfect for making Cider. Named after the Reverend Tom Putt, who was the Rector of Trent when this apple was named.  Wairere Nursery, Hamilton.

Reinette Du Canada (1771, French) – From France dating back to 1771. Ripens very late in the season and stores exceptionally well. The dull green skin is sometimes flushed with a little red and often russeted. The creamy white flesh is firm and juicy with a spicy flavour. Excellent dessert apple. Wairere Nursery, Hamilton.

I treated all the transplants with Arnica C200 today.

This lovely citrus bud on the Lemon Meyer wilted. I thought a caterpillar had sucked it dry and I was looking for it day and night but can’t find it. Then I found scale insects! I watered the roots with Neem oil and spray the canopy with it as well. Neem will literally turn those bugs into retards.

In my 200l liquid manure drum where I brew nettles and thistles of all kind along with worm juice and garlic peels, it usually give off a revolting smell. So, I bought a second hand aquarium air pump and an air stone which I bend into a spiral with a frame made of willow wood. Set the whole thing on a timer which turns on for an hour every six hours. The aeration helps to keep the liquid manure in aerobic condition which promotes good bacterial growth instead of anaerobic which promotes unwanted bacterial growth. In just a weeks time, my liquid manure no longer stinks!

Books from the library continues to pile up. That thick books at the bottom, Science & Civilisation in China. Vol6 Part1 Botany; Part2 Agriculture., my quest to find out more about ancient techniques. Nourishment Home Grown by A.F. Beddoe would be my latest recommendation, its based on Dr Carey Reams’s work. Talks from a scientific point of view of how plants and soil works, in my own opinion, I am very fascinated and definitely going to buy a copy for reference as he goes into more detail than our consultant and salesman can. It is a book neutral of organic or chemical farming methods. Certain chapters are very boring though.

There’s a window I can finally open for warm night. I DIY’ed the insect screen with 0.5mm grade agriculture insect screen. Now, that will keep the lake flies out while I ventilate the house at night. That stick on the table is my Bio Dynamic stirring stick. Patio furniture courtesy of Graham.

Caesar ran into Pat’s car 60km/h car on Monday evening, broke a few teeth and sprained some muscles. I was so worried I took him to Little River Vet so that Paul could give him a proper check up. He also get 2 jabs, a painkiller and an antibiotic. He is doing fine now, a bit of a limp from the sore. I hope this will stop him from stalking and chasing after cars. I don’t want him to get hurt or cause anyone trouble.

How can anyone not adore Caesar?

Cold Northerlie wind for the entire week almost got me screaming in madness. Gusting winds always have a way to get on my nerves. They made me feel very helpless. Worst when they give you the wind chill on a sunny day. The persistent wind delayed our black cherry aphids spray until today, on a Sunday morning, I got into the spray tractor and accumulated gazillions of bad karma killing imaginary aphids in the orchard.

I don’t mind driving the spray tractor at 6km/h but topping up the tank with chemicals is a revolting process. Take a townie and put him in-charged of fungicide, pesticide, insecticide, herbicide spraying and he will turn organic within a week. You can see, smell and sometimes feel the texture of the stuff. Spring oil smells like rotten eggs. Preglone is blue but turns yellow when it goes into contact with water, burns your throat like aerosol paint. I would be a lot happier spraying a slurry of cow manure or compost tea than a 2200L tank of watercolors.

We spent the entire week working up the ground in Block 1, marking out the rows, digging holes, and planting and transplanting all sorts of fruit trees into it. There is now a selection of apples, pears, cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, peacherines, peachcots, plumcots, and plum rootstocks. We are on a mission to discover low maintenance crop which are naturally healthy. At the same time, to trial natural method of remedying soil and tree health.

I just finished reading The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman. And I quote, “Insects and disease are not the problem. They are, rather, the symptoms. their presence is a visible exterior indication that all is not well with the plants. No one would be so simple as to think that scraping off the spots – the visible exterior symptoms – could cure a child’s chicken pox. Similarly, removing pests from a plant does not cure the problem or eliminate the cause. All that it accomplishes it to throw a cloak over the problem.”. He could not have said it better. Chemical agriculture is like sweeping rubbish under the carpet, one day we will run out of carpet to hide the rubbish.

Please don’t accused me of fear mongering. Our consultant and chemical salesman often tell us, “if you don’t spray enough copper on during leaf fall, your trees will die of bacterial blasts”, “if you don’t paint all your cuts, your trees will die of silver leaf”, “if you don’t spray protectant fungicide on every 7-14 days, you will lost all your crop to brown rot”, “if you don’t pile enough N-P-K on, your trees will have nutrient deficiency”, “if you don’t have a herbicide strip, your trees will not be able to compete well for water and nutrient”. Fear mongering? Could it be a coincidence?

I bought this book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. At the back of the book it says, “The Diet Dictocrats don’t want you to know that… your body needs old-fashioned animal fats… new-fangled polyunsaturated oils can be bad for you… modern whole grain products can cause health problems… traditional sauces promote digestion and assimilation… modern food processing denatures our foods but… ancient preservation methods actually increase nutrients in fruits, nuts, vegetables, meats and milk products!”. I’ll put this book and Change of Heart by Kay Baxter to good use when my garden comes into full production again.

I only planted 2 crops last Autumn to over-Winter. Broad beans are now flowering profusely and the bumble bees just love them! Peas on the other hand got munted completely by the birds late Autumn and subsequent attempt to resow them remain unsuccessful with the last sowing completely washed away by the flood. I’ll sow again tomorrow and hopefully I will get some peas before they have to make way to put the Summer crops in.

Citrus trees don’t like open spot. They hate the wind. Even Lemon Meyer, a hardy lemon hybrid hates the wind! I did not do it justice exposing it to the double whammy of both Northerlies and Southerlies. So I pot it up in a sweet “little” pot and give it the primo spot in the house. Then, I got an Apple tree named Mother on a m9 dwarfing rootstock and planted it in the Lemon’s old spot. (c.1844) Mother a widely acclaimed late red apple which is highly recommended for every fruit connoisseur`s garden! The flavor is excellent: sweet, perfumed and distinctive. The tree is very upright. Bears fruit when young and is a heavy but not always regular cropper. I have more Apple trees coming, but let’s keep that in suspense.

Everything is moving! Blueberries are stretching themselves up!

Nashi pear showing white tips!

The Simon Peach started to flower. I named it the Simon Peach because Simon, the previous tenant who rescued this tree from the orchard do not know what variety it is and insisted that it is a Nectarine and not a Peach, but fruits don’t lie,  its furry.

The Gold Bar Apricot that I rescued from Block 35 is starting to move, I am actively removing as much flower buds as I can and retaining a handful to reduce transplant stress on this tree. Talk about Apricots, some thief conveniently took a dozen of bare-rooted Apricot trees heeled in the sawdust in the orchard last week, but karma has already been dealt as those trees are all self-sterile, hohoho! Beautiful Spring flowers though…

No plums this year, just leaves.

At one end of the Tucker Patch, I left the mustards untouched, they are now flowering and will start to attract and feed the beneficial insects population.

The wildflowers meadow is full of seedlings! I did my second batch sowing today. Can’t wait to be surprised this season!

Spotted this solitary White Borage in the wildflowers meadow making an early dash.

Strawberries are starting to crank up production, yays!

1st generation Orchard Cottage Calendula! Self-seeded last season. Edible flowers, yum!

Lavenders have started their flowering. I’ll be taking cuttings of Lavenders and Elderflowers next week for propagation.

The loot from Le Bons Bay. Thanks Colleen!

Remember my strawbale live compost making attempt? The Crimson Clovers are growing neatly in it and I have just sown Blue Lupins among them.

Comfrey twins coming up among the Crimson Clovers at the Citrus Corner.

Getting a head start with my Summer crops, 8 varieties of tomatoes as promised! The Zucchinis are going into larger newspaper compost filled pots tomorrow. I would highly recommend the use of vermiculite for starting seeds. I filled the punnets up with Dalton’s Organic Seed Raising Mix, an itsy-bitsy-tiny-pinch of Koanga Seedling Inoculant, sow the seeds and top it off with a thin layer of vermiculite which helps maintain just the right amount of surface moisture so crucial for germinating seeds.

The largest bunch of Endive I harvested from the cloche! Wait, this is Endive right?

And to finish this entry off with Caesar. If you can’t see the eyes…

FLASH!

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