Moment of Silence

On 6th of December 2015, almost 150 chosen plants from the Orchard Cottage packed up their roots and made the 69km pilgrimage travelling on the back of open trailers at 100kph to their new home in Rakaia. Let’s take a moment of silence for those who did not make it.


Apple Keswick Codlin, Prune Stanley, Prune Sugar, Prune Cheviot, Peach Batley, Elderberry Nova, Almond CY750, and Grapes Iona.

And let’s not forget those who chose to stay behind, the walnuts, pecans, chestnut, a few apple and pear trees, apricots, peaches and nectarines, and all the support species, awaiting their impending doom.

Let’s take a moment of silence for them.


For those who made it, they are now helping to weigh down the weedmats on the up and coming Biointensive Vege Garden. They are also serving a very important function. The function. They are transferring the soil goodness from the Orchard Cottage into the soil beneath when they are watered.


Work on the Belgian Fence has finally started. I’ve dug out all the pea gravel to unveil a ditch of about 10cm deep. Peeler post will then be used to create a raised bed and raise it another 12cm above ground. This Belgian Fence will be home to 68 apple and crabapple trees.


Ever seen the fourth sister in a 3 sisters growing system? Here it is. Pea.




I ate a lot of this last season.


Nice and shinny!


Watermelon lollipop.


The reason my neighbours don’t grow brassica. White butterfly caterpillars. The little buggers even ate the kale! They are kind enough to share the plant with me, I get to eat the broccoli shoots.

Come again next time we should be having more progress on the Belgian Fence.

Sandy Loam

The soil in the jar has finally settle out. 6% clay, 46.5% silt, 46.5% sand. More or less, something like that. Based on the soil profile chart, we are looking at Sandy Loam type of soil. Very free draining, needs plenty of organic matter to boost moisture capacity and fertility levels.


On the bright side, I have already brought in a few truck loads of compost and have since spread them out. The boundary fence for the vege garden has been installed. Just some gates, and one small fence to go, that can wait till a later stage.

I’m going to start covering the vege garden with weedmat. I started today but ran out of pins. Once covered, the whole thing will be wet down and I’ll spray Thatch Buster over it, which is a compost activator, and that will speed up the decomposition of the compost and all that moss and grass underneath.


Its a mossy place. I was up on the roof spraying them off last week. Did I mention my fear of height? The roof smelled like seaweed for a while.


Looks like we have some solid progress when it comes to growing watermelon. That’s fruitset! Now the challenge is to get ripe watermelon out of it. I’m thinking lots of Guinness bottles and frostcloth.


The sunflowers are still making a good show. I’m thinking, what sort of border should I do for next season, and for the future? Chilean guava perhaps? I think I’ll be doing sunflowers again next season.img_2585

The bees are visiting.


And the weather has been really hot and sunny when its not cold.


So hot and sunny that this sunflower decided to use its leaf as a sun hat.