5 more days, and we are into Spring 2014! Can you believe it? 3 more months to Christmas, then its the New Year! Time sure goes by really fast. The trees that I have ordered from Edible Garden arrived yesterday, and planted out today, that pretty much concludes the Winter planting, until a hundred apple rootstocks arrive in Spring…

I’ve started my spraying regime. A blend of seaweed and mycorrcin. This is done weekly until I get lazy. I might switch to Nature’s Way Bio-Gold and Mycorrcin at a later stage. Currently, thinking of applying BioPhos around the trees instead of Gypsum.

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Rainfall this week, 8.5mm. High of 17.2dC and a low of -0.3dC. For a few days, I was enjoying the clear skies in the city, only to head back to a cloudy Banks Peninsula. Just grateful that we have nice warm weather today.

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I had a long weekend which started on Tuesday. So, I started work on some projects that I have had at the back of my head. I ran bamboo sticks around the top of the raised beds, nailed them in with 13mm pipe saddle clamp. I’ll be training the grape vines along the bamboo sticks. White Dalmation Grape arrived from Edible Garden too, and that went straight into one of the raised beds for grapes. I have added more windbreak shelter to the raised beds, the ones at the back were some old Olirete bird netting that I have, folded into 4 layers, now the windbreak run around the raised beds completely. I’ve also crushed up plenty of eggshells and spread them out on the raised beds too, that should help raise the Calcium levels in the raised beds. And some mowing and laying down grass clippings to cover up muddy patch.

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The sun is out today, so I took the lemon, the lime, and the coffee out for some sun bathing. If the weather is good tomorrow, I’ll have to take the coffee out tomorrow for a good spray to get rid of the mealy bugs.

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Checking in on the cuttings. This is not good news yet. Apparently, if roots have formed, the shoots will elongate.

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My very own Nikau Palm waiting to go into the ground when the weather is more friendly.

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All the grafted fruit trees are in the Belgian Fence line up now. 49 rootstocks will go in next and grafted on.

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The 4 peaches. From top, going clockwise:

Keri Gold on Myrobalan – The Skin is a golden colour and when fully ripe has a red blush. A freestone peach, with firm flesh, sweet and juicy with a slight red blush around the centre. The tree is reasonably tolerant of leaf curl. Grown by Mr & Mrs Cannon of Keri Keri.

River (seedling) – River Peaches are the ones that set Kay Baxter off on her journey. They are disease resistant, easy to grow and grow true to seed. They are prolific croppers of sweet medium sized, green skin with a red blush, white fleshed, free stone fruit. Ripen late January.

Red Leafed Blackboy on Marianna – Small/medium sized, with dark red grey skin, bright port red and white streaky flesh. A freestone variety, which ripens in late Feb. The fruit is juicy with a strong flavour and is god for dessert or bottling.

Batley on Marianna – Firm, honey coloured skin and flesh when ripe, tender and sweet, wonderful texture and flavour , clingstone, dessert. From  the historic house at Batley on the Kaipara. Outstanding peach, reliable cropper and disease resistant. Ripens March April.

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Then I did some grafting, mainly just stonefruits. Two stray wild plum in the far corner of the forest garden, grafted Whakapirau Gold on the left and Transparent Gage on the right.

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Then, some guerrilla grafting took place by the road. I am using this omega grafting tool, and trying to get used to it. It is different from the classic cuts with the grafting knife. I might try a mix of classic wedge grafting and omega grafting tool, just to hedge my bets with the 100 apple rootstocks.

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Then, I got carried away and decided that the Orchard Peach tree could use a lot of grafting. So, I grafted Keri Gold, Red Leafed Black Boy, Whakapirau Gold, and Transparent Gage onto it. I’ll graft some other varieties onto it next season too, just see what I can get my hands on. It’ll be my Rojak Peach tree. I’ve got a Rojak Apple tree planned for the food forest too! Rojak is sort of a Malaysian salad, a mixed plate of really delicious stuff, we use that term for anything or anybody that looks like a plate of assorted fruit salad.

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This is how I am going to be growing sweetcorn and cucurbits this season. Each 35L bag will hold 6 sweetcorn, 2 climbing beans, and 1 cucurbit. I’ve just sow 12 sweetcorn kernels that I saved from last season to see if my half baked seed saving is viable. There’s 20 bags in total, makes up 120 sweetcorn, 40 climbing beans, and 20 cucurbit.

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So, here we go again. The Orchard Cottage this week. I have decided to add nuts to my weekend diet from now on. I think there’s some nutrient in there that I am missing out, and craving for. I had this crazy cravings yesterday, it felt like I was craving for sweet desserts, like a cookie or a slice, and I decided to ask Google about my cravings, and my eyes landed on nuts, the section of the brain that handles cravings lit up like a Christmas tree. So, I head into Lincoln today, and got myself some nuts, and slices, and find out I really enjoy the nuts, but not the slices.

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