You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Greenhouse’ category.

This was quite a mild week. It passed by in such a blur. Mainly fine weather, with a bit of sunshine here and there, and cold winds.

IMG_2017

Rainfall this week, 0.5mm. We have a high of 15dC and a low of -1dC.

IMG_2016

That’s the main thing that’s been going on this weekend. The Giant Cloche had its greenhouse film put on. I’ve lined the edges with double sided tape, put the film on, and stapler it in as well.

All was well, until the job is done, then I remembered, the so call one-sided anti-condensation coating on the greenhouse film that was supposed to be facing the inside. Which I have completely forgotten about.

So, I checked it this morning, and I think I had all the different sheets installed the same way, by some odd chance. But is the anti-condensation coating facing the inside or outside? I have no idea.

I supposed it doesn’t really matter, but the alternative remedy is to get another greenhouse film installed on the inside of the frame the right way round. And it will be sort of double-glazing as well.

IMG_2019

Lots of bud movement is happening around the stone fruits. The ever elusive Santa Rosa Plum had green tips but no sign of those flowers still. White tips coming through on the swollen Apricot buds, these guys will be well protected from the frost by the surrounding Tree Lucernes.

IMG_2018

The Orchard Cottage this week. Waiting patiently for Spring.

Advertisements

2 more weeks of Winter and then it will be Spring. Somehow this Winter doesn’t feel that wet. That I am surprised to hear that North Canterbury is still in drought. Do people realized by now that the man made change to the natural landscape is the reason for climate change? Perhaps, too much credit is given to our co2 emission? Nature is always on a correction course, whether we like it or not.

IMG_2010

Rainfall this week, 26mm. A high of 13.1dC and a low of -0.6dC. The snow has been washed off the hills from the weekend rain. The land is saturated, waterfalls are happening, and yesterday, the river came right up.

IMG_2004

What happens when the water reached the top 2 electrified wires on the fencing?

IMG_2006

It turned out to be a beautiful day today, albeit a bit windy. I gave all the Tagasaste Tree Lucerne a good haircut. It helps them to form a strong trunk, and also opens up the view.

IMG_1999

The tulips are coming through now, this one has divided into 2 bulbs.

IMG_2001

And the bluebells. I am thinking of some snowdrops next season. And a bit of division to go with that. Something like, cutting a hundred bulbs into quarters and you get 400 bulbs out of it. Did I read that one out of the Propagation Hand Book?

Some different tomato varieties that I am going to trial this season. It also occur to me that I can grow 2 generations of tomatoes in one season, with some luck. I’ll give that a go and see how it pans out.

  1. Eclipse Fireball F1 – Fruit are golden yellow with a distinctive ‘Eclipse’ colouring/shading on the shoulders of the fruit. Yellow fruit about ping pong ball size. The dwarf plants cascade well making it perfect for containers, baskets and small gardens. Most golden tomatoes are low in acid, but not this one! Acid is high, giving a magnificent flavour.
  2. Amethyst Cream Cherry – Lovely white cherry with purple antho splashes on the top. Great flavor, delicate but complex. Big production. Sunburn, crack resistant. Great hang time and shelf life.
  3. Blue Gold – Amazing 2-3 oz. Blue and gold bright yellow tomato with tops that turn black with anthocyanin. Interrior is red-yellow bi-color that is sweet and fruity. High production plant. Sunburn, crack resistant. Great hang time and shelf life.
  4. Weissbehaarte – We are proud to introduce this rare, old German heirloom that produces lovely, little 2 oz. cream to pale yellow jewels that are very juicy and sweet. Large vines set high yields, and tender fruit are globe shaped; skin is shiny and silky smooth.
  5. Blue Berries – 75 days. Here’s a small cherry variety from Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farms. Very dark purple color, which means it’s super-rich in anthocyanins. Unripe, the fruits are a glowing amethyst purple. At maturity they turn deep red where the fruit was shaded; the areas that received intense sunshine are a purple so deep it’s almost black! The flavor is intensely fruity, and sugar-sweet! Plants are very productive, yielding all season in elongated clusters that look so beautiful. A new favorite here at Baker Creek!
  6. Wagner Blue Green – 80 days. This great “Blue” tomato comes from renowned heirloom/OP breeder Tom Wagner. Color is an incredible blue, with green flesh! We were impressed with its beauty and great flavor! The round fruits are around 3 inches in diameter, and are very smooth and blemish-free
  7. Sunrise Bumblebee – 70 days. Chefs love the luminous swirls of reds and oranges, inside the fruits and out! Everyone loves the sweet, fruity taste, too! Oblong little fruits weigh barely an ounce, sometimes show a pronounced beak at the blossom end. Another member of the incredible new ‘Artisan’ series

These are out of stock at the moment, but hopefully I will be able to get my hands on them in November and grow them this season.

  1. Kaleidoscopic Jewel – Exotic small striped. Very, very beautiful tomato. Large productive plants. Oval shaped fruits that start off green with beautiful purple anthocynin stripes and splashes. As it ripens it turns mutiple shades of red and black with dark stripes. Flavor is good and it does well in hot and cool weather.
  2. Amethyst Jewel – Gorgeous pink with purple amethyst splashes. Large trusses load up with great tasting exotic looking fruit. 1-3 0z. Large production, hang on the vine ability with real tomato flavor. All around crowd pleaser.
  3. Gold Berries – 80 days. Incredibly beautiful cherry type in purple and yellow. Long clusters are packed with small, half-inch bright yellow cherry fruits. Each has indigo shoulders, bursting with loads of antioxidants, anthocyanin in this case. The flavor is very sweet and rich, and the plants are so productive. Sunburn and crack resistant, and the fruits hold well on the vine or in storage. A choice selection out of the original Wild Boar Blue Berries

IMG_2005

The Orchard Cottage this week. The existing tomato varieties that I will keep growing will be Indigo Rose, Tomaccio, Small Sweet Orange, Yellow Pear, Super Snow White, and Black Zebra.

Wow! That’s some sort of weather! And I was just telling someone else that it ain’t gonna snow as the event was downgraded. And the very next morning, I woke up to a foam party.

IMG_1998

That’s 50mm of rainfall, snow, hail, sleet combined! We have a high of 19.8dC and a low of 0dC.

IMG_1988

The good news is that the mikroclima frost cloth roof for the greenhouse is very much uncompromised despite of the snowfall. I am truly grateful that I have covered the grounds and driveway with large grade pebbles. Otherwise, my shoes will get all soggy every time I step out of the house. It is so unmuddy now.

IMG_1994

It continued to snow sleet hail shower on Sunday. It didn’t stop me from unloading the crusher dust from the ute into the greenhouse and the giant cloche. Working in between the deluge, and mixing the crusher dust in with the compost and mulch mix. Top it up with a sprinkling of rolled oats so that the birds will come and eat and shit and get some bio going.

IMG_1995

And the strawberries babies are growing. Its strawberries planting time now, but I am more interested in planting more shallots.

IMG_1993

And the Saturday snowfall split this Tagasaste Tree Lucerne three ways! Will be cutting them back hard, and hope that they recover. Will be sowing some tree lupin seeds though, for replacement.

image

A change of view, some droopy looking Tagasaste Tree Lucerne abound. I’ve ordered some interesting tomato seeds from a rare seed company based in US. Will be interesting to find out if it will arrive at all.

image

I took this when it is snowing on Sunday. I am looking at Victorian bells to enhance early Spring growing, however, they cost about $13 each, and I am looking at having a couple dozens. That’s just not going to be a financially prudent decision. I’ve figured something else out instead, I’ve managed to amass a huge quantity of yogurt pottles, which will probably do the trick. All they need is some holes to be drilled on the base.

“Seek out the beauty in every imperfection”

Yep, it snowed, but nothing down to sea level here. The surrounding hills are white again, and it got really cold!

image

From the frozen rain gauge, we can tell there’s 28mm of rainfall accumulation. A low of -4dC and a high of 9dC. It’s quite wet, and frosty, and cold. I have started uploading my weather data onto Weather Underground again, just the temperature and humidity of the Subtropical station.

image

The frozen forest garden. Had a walk around Sunday morning to find out what are the areas that don’t get frost bitten.

image

The subtropical area, clearly, didn’t made it this season, the tree lucerne will grow more dense and they will be able to do a better job next season, hopefully. Will see what made it into Spring.

image

Frosted pattern. Pittosporum?

image

Frosted hazelnut catkins.

image

Frosted almond buds, will be interesting to see if those buds will be alright?

image

The sign of a really harsh frost.

image

Caesar’s paw, frosted.

image

The rainwater catchment tank is frozen, the ice about 1cm thick.

image

The raised beds are all frosted, the saffrons are enjoying the cold.

image

Luckily I had the lemon and lime covered. And the waxeyes are enjoying a feast on the bird feeder.

image

Without further ado, I have built the new door for the greenhouse, and put the old mikroclima frost cloth back on. Should last for another year or two.

image

If you have too many old newspapers and magazines and boxes that you want to get rid of. Build a raised bed.

image

The Orchard Cottage this week. Totally frozen. I’m running out of space on this site too, am considering if I should pay for an upgrade or start another chapter on a new site?

The weather has been mild this week. Mother Nature is considerate in allowing things to dry up a wee bit before she pours again.

image

Only 0.75mm of rain this week. We have a high of 16dC and a low of 1dC. The weatherman says there’s a chance of snow this week. That will be nice if the snow settles.

2011-08-16 08.49.06

Be cool if we get something like this again. That was 16 August 2011.

image

The roses are blooming in Winter over here. And the bumble bees have a cozy spot to rest. And get drunk on pollen and nectar.

image

I’ve done some upgrading on the rainwater catchment tank. This little thing here is an automatic siphoning thingy. Similiar to how you siphon water out of an aquarium, except this works on its own. When water goes above the top of the pipe, it will start the siphoning process until the water drops below the green thing.

image

This is an old float valve which I have reversed the float ball position. When the water fills up and lifts the float ball up above a certain point, water will start to exist through the float valve.

image

The saffrons are making good progress. This week of drying out is good for the raised beds. I’ve aerate the soil a wee bit as well to fluff it up.

image

Giant Cloche is now structurally complete. The hinges have all been installed. Now, I just need to fill it up, and add the greenhouse film. I’m planning to grow watermelon, okra, eggplant, and chillies in it.

image

The greenhouse too, just need a door, and mikroclima frost cloth. I’ve filled the beds with equal mix mulch and compost. Transplanted the lemon and lime in the center. Hung a bird feeder on the rafters so that the birds will eat and drop some shit, get some good old biology going. I’ll do the same with the Giant Cloche too.

image

Nothing much happening in the forest garden, just the lime doing its job. Come spring, will be spreading NH4. NH4 also has the benefits of stabilizing soil temperature. Stops it from going too hot nor cold.

image

The first four leaf clover was discovered at the Orchard Cottage today!

image

The Orchard Cottage this week. The day is getting longer, the sun is rising higher.

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

image

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

image

One of the almond can’t wait for Spring.

image

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.

image

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.

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

Some tiny hail stones in the raised beds this morning.

image

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.

image

 

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

image

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

image

 

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

image

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

image

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

 

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

 

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

image

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

image

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.

image

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

image

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

image

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.

image

Meet Fanny the fantail.

image

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.

image

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

The ceiling was wet. Its leaking somewhere. I opened the hot water cylinder cupboard, and its quite wet in there, something’s leaking in the attic. I found the leak in the attic eventually. Some thirsty rat must have chewed the water supply pipe so that it could get a drink, didn’t bother to inform me to patch it up. A 15mm joiner does the job. The past few warm days were good, I opened all the doors and windows to air the house out. Got the hedge trimmer out and gave the native hedges that were growing too close to the back of the house a good trim back, reduce the damp, according to River Cottage.

Bought a book. Permaculture – A Designers’ Manual. Authored by Bill Mollison and published in 1988. It cost me AU$104.45, and a painful AU$39.05 to have it posted here, it must be a really heavy book. This is the textbook for the 12 Day Permaculture Design Certificate course. If I am going to take that course one day in the future, I might as well start preparing for it now. This book better be worth the read, its cost 5 times the price of other Permaculture books. That is, if you judge the book by its price.

image

About 7mm of rain has accumulated this week. We have a low of 4dC and a high of 18dC.

image

The mild weather means that the greens are growing. I need to give some of the forest garden area good mowing soon. I can see signs of weeds I don’t like starting to grow. Like the cleavers. And that fumitory. Thistles and nettles are easy to deal with, with the hoe, I no longer call them foe, the way they fall prey to the hoe. Cleavers and fumitory on the other hand, a bane even for the most resilient gardener. If there’s any weed spray that kills specifically only cleavers and fumitory, I will happily pay for it.

image

Daikon radish grows like weed in the forest garden. They got here because I sown packets and packets of seeds. Just like putting in piles to build a solid foundation for a building, these drillers helps build the foundation of good soil drainage. How deep does the root go?

image

The pumpkins airing out. I think I might be planting a few variety of figs together in that tyre next season.

On the other hand, I have moved the some soil, really good soil, from the greenhouse, into one of the raised beds. In it, I transplanted the saffrons, and various hard neck garlic. I still have a lot of hard neck garlic left in the greenhouse, I will have to lift them, divide them, and plant them somewhere else. They have been left in there for 2 seasons now. I think I will plant them under the cherry trees. The spring onions project I did before did not take, so hopefully this will.

The saffrons I have had, had never flowered for me, I had them for a few seasons now. A blog post I stumbled upon recently shed light upon it, that I must have not planted it deep enough. The little corms just keep dividing. And dividing. And dividing.

image

Early in the season I sown a lot of calendula and cornflowers, but nothing do come up. Until now, the calendula are popping up. I think there’s a few different varieties in this bundle. Might have been one of the seed balls I have made.

image

The Orchard Cottage this week. I was meaning to fit the pole pruner that I got on Boxing Day Sale on to the weed eater attachment, but the engine refuse to idle, but instead stalled. Something wrong somewhere, I have sent it in for service. I must admit it wasn’t well looked after. I only use it once or twice a year. I’ve got about 25m of overgrown privet hedge to chainsaw back to a more manageable height.

By the way, there’s some volunteers needed for a conservation work at Little River this Sunday 24 May at 9am in Little River. Tract cutting, and some weeding. If you are keen, please get in touch with Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust.

%d bloggers like this: