Christmas is upon us. I always wondered, what would Christmas be like for the farmers on the other side of the world? Here, growers of all kind are under tremendous pressure to make sure the crops are on time to meet the very lucrative Christmas market. Prices of just about every edible thing is going through the roof as the “entire” world (the part that celebrates Christmas) embark on a shopping frenzy in preparation for the big feast.

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Spread out a thin layer of compost, sow allysum over the top, set up the oscillating sprinkler, and I will give it a drench everyday just to get them established. Reorganized the pavers to create a structural boundary between the driveway and garden. So… less lawn to mow right?

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Wrong! Well, Caro got me a Sugar Maple tree for Christmas. So I need a spot to plant it. And I was wandering around the Orchard Cottage, and just taking things in, envisioning what things would be like down the line, when the trees are matured.

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As I stood at the back of the Cottage, and look at the weed infested wildflowers meadow, something clicked. The wildflowers there is meant to be just a temporary measure as this is meant to be a olive and nut groove, with an open space in the middle. Space, that’s the keyword. And I could plant the beautiful Sugar Maple right in the center of the circle, and have a picnic table beneath it. Sweet.

Now, all I need is a farmbike to run everything into the ground, and go over it over and over again with the lawnmover. Over time, the sub-clover will come through and give the ground a nice dark shade of green just like the paths I have mown into the wildflowers meadow.

The wildflowers meadow growing around all these trees have served their purpose. What they have done, is created a sheltered environment for the trees to establish themselves. Touchwood, I do not have any dire pest and disease issue there, apart from the grass grub that hit the stonefruits hard. The apples and pears are loving it. The feijoas got competitive, and the grafted apples have no problem taking. In fact, I have truly stopped foliar spraying now, and that just frees up so much time!

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The corns are doing really well. Here is the red stalked Silver Platinum. And that little watermelon has yet to hit its stride.

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Early Gem and pumpkin. This is the first time I have planted corns so closed together. 6 to a clump, and some climbing beans to bind everything together.

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My corn breeding project. Creating a hybrid out of 4 varieties. And next year I will do a big patch of corn from this and grow them out. I am still contemplating on from which plant will the cob be the primary line? Last season, I have very good results with Early Gem, so that might be the answer there. A tasty rainbow color early variety that is bred from heritage seed lines acclimatized to the local climate?

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Overripe gooseberry.

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So, these peaches are still the size of ping pong ball and fuzzy green. It seems like this is going to be a late season variety. If there’s any consolation, late season varieties are usually very yummy having ingested all that Summer sunshine goodness!

I often wonder if there is any commercial orchard out there growing those “healthy” apples for mass consumption? What does it take for these varieties to qualify to be grown on a commercial scale?

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Monty’s Surprise. The apple that will put the doctor out of a job.

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Hetlina. Another one that will send them out into the streets.

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Tropicana. This too, will give them the chills.

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Calville d’Hiver. One of the oldest apple variety I have. Very docile tree.

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Golden Pippin. Rated as one of the tastiest apples by NZ Lifestyle Block magazine. Very docile tree as well.

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Gravenstein. Bumper crop of cooking apples, for the size of this tree.

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Blenheim Orange. Very prolific heritage variety. It is still maintaining a columnar form and fruiting from the center.

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I’ve scoffed myself crazy with raspberries and blueberries from the pots. Now, I just need to wait for these boysenberries to come right. Interesting bit, I did not cover them with bird nets, and no birds have touched them. Maybe like many people, they doubt I’ll be able to grow them successfully in pots.

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From the nursery, goji berries, globe artichokes, rhubarb seedlings. I’ll plant the globe artichokes along the gap in the fence. Not sure about the rhubarb yet.

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The scene in the movie Avengers, where towards the end, Loki was being slammed up and down like a toy by Hulk. That vividly reminds me of life, how often have we been so beat around by life itself? I believe everyone has gone through this, not just once, but many times in life, but what matters most, is what we do after that. Whiner or winner?

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