Looking back, I think the hottest weather is behind us. It usually peaks after middle of January. We had a few drizzles the last few days, so pathetic that nothing registers on the rain gauge. On the lookout for something more serious to come this way, and I doubt anything of significance will happen till after next Tuesday.

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This week we have a high 32dC and a low of 3.9dC. The wind was consistently gusty. I have setup a new line of irrigation to water the berm on the North fence, where the Belgian Fence is forming. It takes 2 hours to put out an inch, and I have to switch all the other lines off to have enough pressure to power all the strip-pattern microjets.

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It’s quite dry, only the trees are still growing. I am thinking of bark mulching on an extremely large scale next season. Like 10cm thickness covering a square meter of area around each tree. Reducing dependency on irrigation water is very high on the agenda. You can only pump so much water out of the ground or the river before it dries out. If I could have it my way I would dig swales in all the hills in the valley just to hold water in all the gigantic soil mounds.

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The very brief drizzle gave me the opportunity to get the mower out and cut back some lush grass and weeds. And I spotted this wee praying mantis on the mikroclima cloth. Been more than a year since I spotted a praying mantis at the Orchard Cottage.

Camera 360

There, that’s taken in March 2013.

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Little spider enjoying some peaceful times on the rose aptly named Peace.

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Does Tomaccio comes highly recommended?

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This is the Black Zebra.

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The Black Cherry is slowly coming along.

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Super Snow White has got an interesting ripening pattern. Most tomatoes ripened from the inner trust towards the outer trust, this however, is more or less going the other way round. The skin adheres to the calyx, tears easily when removing it off the vine. On a separate note, vine ripened tomatoes will come off the truss without the calyx on. So, when you see all the beautiful tomatoes on the supermarket shelves with the calyx on looking all pretty, know that they are not vine ripened, the potential of their flavours and goodness has not fully developed.

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The Pumpkin Thelma Sanders are amazing! These are growing out of the raised beds. Quite a few of them just forming on each vine.

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This would be the Squash Honeynut. I think I am having a good year with Cucurbits.

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This is the sweetcorn landrace breeding project. Its not exactly a great success, nor a total flop. I am just grateful that quite a few Silver Platinum are growing strong and healthy, these I will save seeds from, as well as from the Rainbow Inca.

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Abundance of lunchbox size nashi pears.

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The first appears at the Orchard Cottage. These are Blenheim Orange. That biggest one towards the left, I already ate it. Lunchbox size as well as I didn’t thin down the fruit sets.

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Caesar doesn’t seem to be a fan of apples, unlike the late Lucky who loves apples. He likes his bones.

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The Orchard Cottage this week. This panorama shot captures the dryness in the valley. The stark contrast of the dry hills versus the green irrigated pastures. The drying wildflowers and weeds in the forest garden versus the lush green trees and bushes. My lawn is bone dry, I balked at the sight of people irrigating their grass by the road along Halswell, then they took the mower out to mow it, and throw the grass clippings away. Wasting water, wasting petrol, wasting organic nutrient.

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