You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2014.

Sad news. The last batch of 15 Tagasaste Tree Lucerne that I bought have perished. They did arrived looking wilted and frosted in transit and I have informed 4Trees about it and see how Helen could help me out.

Good news. I’ve put my hand up to be a volunteer for the local Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust. It came up as a thought when I was taking Caesar for our weekly 10km walk up and down the valley. I think its a move that will allow me to see more of Banks Peninsula and meet like minded people. I am not going to be a hermit after all.

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Rainfall this week, 2mm and an oak leaf.

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All the first year trees are finally getting the message to go dormant. How many seasons before they will figure out the right time to go dormant?

I read Dan Brown’s Inferno when I was back in Kay-eL. As usual Dan Brown’s style, a chase from beginning to the end, but this book is different, it comes with a dilemma that is very real. It is beyond the comprehension for the common mind. We are now at 7 billion. The push for chemical farming, were meant to feed this 7 billion and growing population. Disease was nature’s means of population control, but medical science have null its effectiveness. Population control was a bi-product of war, but the precision of modern warfare means less casualty. Population, will continue to grow.

Chemical farming was the answer. Pour it on in an attempt to maximize production per acre. Except, what you pour on cost money. And, like MSG, submits to the Law of Decreasing Marginal Returns, so you have to pour more on next time, and cost more money. The one with brains soon figure out that instead of trying to maximize production, why not optimize production according to the concept of not pouring much chemicals on?

There’s not much depth in what I have mentioned above. But the point here is, a growing population needs an increase in food production, what happens if regulators decided to regulate production level when more farmers come to their senses? I have given it some thought, and indeed, there are sneaky ways that regulators could do it while packaging it as a gift.

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The Orchard Cottage this week. Hope you have a good Winter Solstice. The signal of more sunshine to come. And that the coldest will soon come and pass.

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I went home to Kay-eL last week to attend my sister’s wedding. I’ve not been back for 3 years, some things change, some things remain the same, the traffic got worse.

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Here’s how the produce section of the supermarket look like. Its vast!

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And the view from the other side. An interesting note is that the bananas are sold as a whole comb, unlike here in NZ where customers are free to break it up.

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The local wet market. Most fruits including citrus and pip fruits are sold as unit price instead of by weight.

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And here’s how the garden center looks like. The scale is immense, its an entire street, filled with garden centers left and right. Plants of all kind is available, and mostly, repetitive. However, despite the scale, plant labeling is almost non-existent, which proofs very daunting to people who are not in the know.

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Plenty of orchids.

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Organic potting mix.

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Papayas!

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Plant labeling at its best. These are mangoes.

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I stumbled into the nursery part where they are propagating some trees. Here, air layering some form of citrus.

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That’s a banana among what looks like guavas.

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The plants being dished out at a garden center which is located in the compounds of a temple.

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Inside another garden center. We didn’t buy any plants. Won’t know where to start. I do know there are some dwarfing varieties available already but the lack of plant labeling gives nothing away. And well, asking the shop attendants, “to control the height, you just cut them back,” well, not the answer I am looking for.

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One very refreshing change though, is the people in the neighborhood has started doing a lot of gardening, planting a lot of fruit trees.

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Not sure what got into them, they are even planting on public land. A very common sight now, banana and papaya trees in people’s tiny garden. Some look more like a forest in an urban terrace house.

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And that should conclude my horticultural journey back home. It was such a short trip, mainly for my sister’s wedding, to catch up with friends, and to check out the local horticultural scene. The flight back is a killer 40 hours journey fraught with delays and detours that took me almost 3 days to recover from.

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Accumulated rainfall, 6mm.

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Coming back to Orchard Cottage, I noticed the pukekos have decided to take over, they are everywhere! But of course, Caesar got them helter-skelter.

 

It had been a very frosty week with temperature going down to -3dC on most nights. We do need a few good frost to knock back on some bad bugs and get the plants to turn in for the Winter. Well, obviously, not everything likes the frost.

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Let me just do the weekly weather report first. Rainfall this week, 2mm.

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Frosty oxalis.

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Frosty strawberry.

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Frosty mesclun.

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Then… Ohoh! That’s where my subtropicals are supposed to go and its frosted all over. The good news is that the established tree lucerne did provide frost cover, so I just need to wait for the other tree lucernes to establish themselves.

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The Avocado Bacon is quite frosted. Avocado Hass is doing just fine on the other side. Seems like this side needs a bit of temporary protection.

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Defrosted. Not looking very good. Some new shoots are appearing though.

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After some VIP treatment. “Very Important Plant’. I think it will recover. After all, Bacon is hardier than Hass, and the Hass is just chilling away.

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Frosted Tree Fuchsia.

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Maybe this will help?

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On the other hand, the citrus that I have planted on hugelbeds.

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Just cool-as. Tagasaste Tree Lucerne works amazingly as a nurse plant for more vulnerable species.

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If you have watched After Earth (2013), this scene here with 2 Tagasaste Tree Lucerne cradling the NZ Pohutukawa in a rather exposed area and protecting it from the frost, is like the scene where the eagle cover over Kitai to keep him from freezing.

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A bit more planting today. More Tree Lucerne went in on the greater area of the forest garden. Apples, peaches, and prunes will be planted in between them later on. This will form the outer canopy drip line of the nut trees.

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Apparently, some seedlings don’t get frosted. Such tiny thing, and such great resilience.

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Did a bit more fencing. This is 99% complete. It just need a set of gates. This gateway is 2.4m wide, in case I need to get a tractor through in the future? This project can pretty much be put on hold until the ducks come in, in the future. Another season or two to go.

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Here’s to a very frosty Winter.

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