You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2015.

Earlier this week we were reminded how treacherous winter driving can be.

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Rainfall this week, 12mm. We have a high of 14dC and a low of -3dC.

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It’s a really cold one this winter with plenty of frosty morning. The frost busted one of the irrigation timers, I have swapped a spare one in, and will check if the other one will still work. The frost bite the coffee plant hard, but did not killed it. All of the citrus plants does not seem to be fazed at all. And we will have to wait till Spring to see if the damage done to the Subtropicals are recoverable.

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On the projects, the greenhouse got the pebbles. I’ve got enough pebbles now for the Orchard Cottage. I’ll be getting in truck loads of eco mulch from now on. I think I’ll do some sanding on the greenhouse to smooth the surface down and reduce the friction damage to the mikroclima frost cloth.

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The windows for the giant cloche has been built today. There’s only 4 pieces of wood to each window with no other reinforcing needed. This is because I have the 2 shorter wood at a 45d slant to the other 2 pieces, and everything just locked into place rigidly. I’ll put the hinges on next week and all it needs is a wrap up with greenhouse film, some insulation tape, and filled with eco mulch. By Spring time, we’ll be in business.

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Hazelnut catkins. Is this the right time of the year for them to be doing this?

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One of the almond can’t wait for Spring.

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Again, I can’t say more about how much I appreciate how cold this Winter is. Finally, the big almond tree that has not gone dormant for a few Winters, has finally decided to shed its leaves and go to sleep! The Peachcot and some Apricots finally decided to call it a season after a few hard frosts. Some plants are just too hard basket. However, some of the apples along the Belgian Fence has decided to keep going and shows no sign of going into dormancy.

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The Orchard Cottage this week. Caesar made a few appearance here and there. I must say I am quite used to the cold nowadays having consciously conditioning my body to be able to withstand colder temperature without needing extra layers.

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Hooray!!! The shortest day is now behind us. Then, oh oh… The coldest day is now a month away. On the bright side, more daylight.

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40mm of rain accumulated this week. Plenty of hail and sleet. Just miserable and wet. We have a high of 13dC and a low of 0dC.  And plenty of snow on the hills.

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I’ve not seen this much snow for a number of years now. It’s a good cold year to give the pests a good natural winter kill.

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Some tiny hail stones in the raised beds this morning.

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The forest garden have had a top dress of lime yesterday, and the rain came again at night and today to wash it all in. The timing could not have been better. Good Calcium levels makes the fruit taste sweeter.

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The building projects have progressed quite well. I’ve done building most of it now. Next is just to fill it up with with soil, and then finish putting the cover on.

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The greenhouse has got a new layout in it now. It all came together much better than it did the first time 2 years ago. I’ve got a tea and coffee plant, which I might plant it in the greenhouse too.

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The giant cloche is all nicely done. I’ll fill it up full with eco mulch and let them break down slowly over time. The only snag in this project is the planned perspex sheet cost more than $800 to cover the giant cloche. So, back to the drawing board for the back up plan of greenhouse film.

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On a side note, red kiwifruit anyone? It’s like a less tarty green kiwifruit. Gold kiwifruit is still my favorite.

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The Orchard Cottage this week. Caesar has figured out how to escape again. Luckily, I’ve found his escape path.

 

The weather calmed down a wee bit this week. We have some nice sunny days. In time for the firewood delivery. The last two year, the delivery of firewood was done in the rain. It’s not that fun putting wet firewood away.

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17mm of rain accumulated this week. Some hail, some rain, and now the hills are covered with snow. We have a high of 17dC and a low of 1dC.

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For the first time, the firewood were stacked away properly, like it should be, instead of being dumped in a pile.

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Obviously, I didn’t do it. I don’t think I am even capable of stacking firewood away nicely.

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I’ve set up a really cool wobbling sprinkler head at the top of the subtropical garden which will go on in conjunction with the mister in the wee hours of the morning to help with the frost fighting.

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The raspberries in pots are being moved to the front of the raised beds. I’ll use the raised bed structure to build a raspberry trellis.

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More work has been done on the giant cloche. It will need a bit more modification and next week, the whole structure will take its semi-final shape.

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The greenhouse have a new entrance way now. I plan to do the internal division next week.

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This bit here under the black weedmat will be a larger scale three sisters guild next season.

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Testing the viability of the saved sweetcorn seeds. Its creepy that they are all blanched. Growing in the darkness of the hot water cabinet.

 

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I’ve done the calculation on the fertilizer requirement based on the REAMS soil test report. I’ll need 135kg of lime, 10kg of Ammonium-N, and 200kg of Para-magnetic Rock Dust. The other nutrient levels are in fact quite good. I’m just surprised that the humus rating was quite low. Hopefully the mulching will help with it next season.

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The Orchard Cottage this week. I noticed some hazelnut catkins on the them hazelnut trees.

It rain, and rain, and rain. It got quite close to flooding but it did not out here. Maybe next time.

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I think some of the rainfall has evaporated. Brent’s weather station has recorded 41.7mm of rainfall. A high of 19.2dC and low of 1.8dC. Of course, here at the Orchard Cottage, it will be colder than that.

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The mikroclima greenhouse is further stripped down, the soil removed, and the inner boards removed. Some really good soil to go into other use.

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Like, 162 saffron corms in this raised bed dedicated for growing this exotic spice. And a few more extras in the grapevine area.

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And to top up all the other raised beds, and Spinach Santana was sown. I am not sure if they will germinate and give me baby spinach later. It’s a cold weather crop, it’s worth a try. We will know in 2 weeks.

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The building of the Giant Cloche has begun. I have the Strawberry Cloche there for comparison. It’s 3 times the size.

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I’ll be growing peppers, watermelons and maybe okra in there.

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It is a beautiful day, and a lot of doing. I’ve got the REAMS soil test on the North Fence and Forest Garden back. It appears that it needs Ammonia and Lime. I will work the numbers and share the details next week.

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Meet Fanny the fantail.

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And Porky the morepork.

“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.”

They are the guardians of the gate. The light in the darkness.

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The Orchard Cottage this week. The privet hedge avoided an attack this week. It is imminent. It will happen.

Pardon my England in regards to the title, I just can’t help it. Another killer frost on Friday with a -6dC in town. It definitely felt like Winter at night now. We are in the month of June now, Queen’s Birthday welcomes the Winter. I had a feeling this Winter is going to be a really cold one.

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This week we have 11mm of rainfall. In the sheltered Subtropical Station, we recorded a low of -1dC and a high of 15dC.

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With Winter starting, I have decided to round up all the pumpkins and ripen them up indoors. Apparently you can still help the pumpkin to color up with sunlight and warmth.

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Bringing all the harvest in means that I can now move those compost bags which I grew the sweetcorn and pumpkin in. I have to harvest all the raised beds then, so that I can top up the raised beds with the spent compost in the compost bags.

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Something else that I started doing as well is to cut back the privet hedge really hard. I pretty much took out half a meter of thickness from the hedge.

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It will make good mulch and firewood. I am also going to bring down the height of the privet hedge as well after I slim it down.

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I’m saving the seeds off my sweetcorn. And each cob goes into a separate bag. Here, Silver Platinum specimen 1.

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Silver Platinum specimen 2.

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Silver Platinum specimen 3. Stubby and not a bit on the yellow side. Seems to have a heavy degree of cross pollination with another variety.

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Silver Platinum specimen 4. Skinny.

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Early Gem specimen 1. The only one, I think we ate the rest.

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Golden Bantam specimen 1.

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Golden Bantam specimen 2. A pretty well crossed specimen.

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Golden Bantam specimen 3. Not a lot of crossing.

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Rainbow Inca specimen 1. Bendy.

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Rainbow Inca specimen 2. Seem to have cross with Silver Platinum.

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Rainbow Inca specimen 3. Good shape.

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Rainbow Inca specimen 4. This is a good looking one.

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Rainbow Inca specimen 5. Blue corn chips?

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Rainbow Inca specimen 7. I somehow skipped 6. 7 is as good as it gets. So much for saving the best for last.

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I have also seeds for Pumpkin Australian Butter. Its the tiny one a quarter the size of its big brother of the same variety. I prefer the smaller size single serve pumpkins.

Winter came, I’m going to start building the giant cloche next week. I am not sure if I will finish it completely right away, I might just build the structure, fill it up and grow the three sisters in there again next season.

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The Orchard Cottage this week. Caesar is really tired, he had a long walk yesterday, and had a good swim in the river today.

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