According to John, my horticultural guru, we just had the warmest June on record, that’s why those trees were confused. This makes me wonder, what will the coldest day be like this Winter?

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Rainfall this week, slightly more than 8mm. All the best to the folks in the far North who got hit by stormy weather. I hope I could get some sunshine tomorrow as I would like very much to do the 10km walk with Caesar.

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My weather station is online! The new ID for Weather Underground is ICANTERB173. Only the data from the primary station can be broadcast onto WUnderground, through the internet bridge. However, on the Acu-Link site, data from both station is available, and in the snapshot above, you can notice that my subtropical station (bottom) is actually showing a warmer temperature reading compared to the primary station (top)! Further to that, the humidity reading on the subtropical station is also generally higher and more stable. It just confirms my decision to choose that spot for establish my subtropical guild despite the odds of being on the Southern side of the cottage.

Vege Garden

I had an inspiration lately regarding my vege garden. It means that I will have to move a set of the raised beds from bottom left to the top right, dismantle the existing Mikroclima setup and rebuild it as in the bottom. The ones at the top are open air raised beds, while the one at the bottom will be the new Mikroclima setup that goes 10m in length and 1.8m wide. Green colour signifies the veggies planting area which is 45cm wide in the Mikroclima setup. The orange part is for the likes of dwarf Citrus trees, which is actually segmented from the veggies planting part with wooden planks, and mulched with pebbles. Permaculture stacking in a greenhouse? These layouts are inspired by Permaculture keyhole design. This could be a project for next Winter, I am one year ahead of my time. Also in the plan, is to dedicate one of the open air raised beds to growing Saffron, which I do have plenty of corms, and the latest NZ Lifestyle Block magazine, it needs to be planted 15cm deep, 1ocm apart, and the depth of the corms will influence the likelihood of it flowering.

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That is Caesar making a camera appearance again! Behind him is the work-in-progress grafting nursery that I am building. So far, the whole thing in the photo is built using scrap and recycled materials. I spent another $39 on weedmat, more shadecloth for the top, and some bamboo stakes to hold the tops. I’ll finish building it soon and it will house my grafted stock. Quite pleased with myself that I managed to hold off from buying new materials all the time.

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This is how a growing medium with 100% compost looks like.

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This is how it looks like after I mixed in a bag of crusher dust. Why do I do it? Gut feeling that this will help improve mineralisation and aeration of the growing medium. This, I draw inspiration from Rok Solid. At the same time, I want to increase Silica content in the growing medium, which is a key ingredient in Biodynamic principles and often neglected in modern horticultural practice.

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Then, I dug out all the asparagus plants that I have previously planted in the garden and transplanted them into the said raised bed. These Asparagus Mary Washington and Asparagus Sweet Purple are all grown from seed a few years back. They were still tiny when I first planted them in the ground, but when I dug them out today, they were huge! There’s 18 of them in the raised beds now, its full and I don’t have to buy anymore. However, I did find out from Oderings that they will be retailing for $11.99 for a bag of 5 crowns, Jersey Giant will be available end of July and Pacific Purple in September. I’ll need to top the raised beds up with bark mulch. What makes good companion plants with asparagus? I think I am going to go with dwarf calendula, one of my favorite flowers.

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So, the asparagus came out, and I planted the Ebony Raspberries in there. These are spineless and does not spread though root runners. I realized that the birds somehow do not feast on the berries in this corner of the house, probably due to human traffic as its just by the door. Baby Pink Strawberries were planted in between the raspberries. These strawberries have pink flowers, and the only reason I bought them a few years ago is because they were being reduced to clear. Anyway, this is from one huge plant which I divided the crowns into a few smaller plants. They would help form a pretty ground cover.

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I swapped out the dead Tagasaste Tree Lucerne with fresh stock that arrived late last week. Many thanks to Helen from Tree & Shrub Propagation for replacing them fuss free. She also put my name down on a hundred Lavender Stoechas to come in Spring which I will be using for some edging. Woohoo! Anyway, I planted these dead Tagasaste in wild hope that they might come back to life. Maybe the root system is still alive and it will reboot in Spring when the weather warms up? Yes, all the crazy things that goes on here, all is not lost at The Orchard Cottage.


The Orchard Cottage this week. Transplanted Roter Eiserapfel Apple into the forest garden and Belgian Fence. Many thanks to Dieter for supplying the scionwood.