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.

 

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