Moving Mountains One Bucket at A Time

What a great weekend weather. Morning frost, then great fine day, none of the gusty chilly wind. I love my weekends. When they turn out fine. I get productive.

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Caesar’s kennel is now moved to a more sunny spot. The previous spot don’t get much Winter sun at all. The run is now attached to the kennel, so he has got more choice of terrain to hang out on, kennel, elevated run, lawn, concrete driveway, concrete patio.

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My latest attempt at dog proofing the berry fence. Instead of 2 horizontal bamboo stakes, there’s 3 now. I have managed to keep him in so far this weekend while having him outside most of the time.

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The five citrus planted along the berry fence has got their nurse plant now. Each got a Tagasaste Tree Lucerne planted next to it. I have taken extra care to stake and train the center leader of the Tagasaste as well. Just for some reason, felt like it needs to be done. You would have known I don’t stake tree until after they are blown sideways by the wind. That’s after the fact.

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The Tuscan Blue Rosemary have arrived. These were planted along the Belgian Fence towards the front of the property where the apple trees don’t go.

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The rosemary are going to be trained to the bamboo stakes. I got the idea from a garden visit in Ashburton where the gardener trained something like a conifer or something else up a spiraling up a stake, instead of branching out.

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Another bamboo fence on the side of the Olive and Guava Fence. This is future proofing my dog proofing. I might plant something to be trained to the bamboo stakes. At this stage it could be a full length of Alders.

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The planting for the Olive and Guava Fence is pretty much done. Five Chilean Guava along each section right at the edge to form a clipped hedge in the future. The bamboo fence at the front will be removed by then and make way for a greener open design. Down the middle strip, from front:-

  • Guava Cherry Red
  • Guava Cherry Yellow
  • Olive Koroneiki
  • Feijoa Seedling
  • Feijoa Mammoth
  • Olive Leccino
  • Feijoa Seedling
  • Feijoa Triumph
  • Olive Picholine
  • Feijoa Seedlilng
  • Tree Lupin | Tagasaste Tree Lucerne

I still need to plant an Acacia each between the guavas. And Globe Artichokes and Cardoon will be added as well. Feijoas, are also known as Pineapple Guava. Hence this patch is called the Olive and Guava Fence. The patch will be finished off with a nice thick mulch. Some serious weeding on this patch due to the rampant nightshade and some beautiful poisonous native with eggplant like fruit that grow in abundance in the area.

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Its not like its all work. And Caesar watching me work. He had some fun at the river yesterday.

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I don’t throw sticks with him at the river. Because he will fetch it and never bring it back. So I just sit by the river bank and throw stones into the water, he’ll swim over, have a gulp, swim back to the shore and wait for the next stone throw.

I managed to get hold of a couple of cheap 200mm coach screws on TradeMe, they will work very well for me to anchor in the Belgian Fence trellis. That’s a job for next week.

I’ll also probably have to start preparing the grounds for the main forest garden planting. Through the season I have heaps of dirt here and there. Some I have sown cover crop over to get some biology going. Some I might get a carrot harvest too, or not.

My neighbour asked me about my front lawn the other day. She was wondering why I have a hundred square meters covered with weedmat. I am just thinking now, should I stick with the original plan for a 12 straight 5 square meter garden bed? Or do a double mandala garden? I think the double mandala is going to be a lot more fun and therapeutic.

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Rhythm of Winter

The Winter season has started to dig into me. Everything slows down and so do I. It appears that I am not accomplishing much in the garden nowadays. Except to just go around observing, thinking, contemplating. And to continue to dog proof the property to keep Caesar in.

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That’s a low fence that Caesar can easily jump. Reinforced. And the Berry Fence has been further reinforced, twice, over the weekend, because Caesar got through again just when I thought I have managed to keep him in for good. The latest round of reinforcement should be able to keep him in, so I say, every time, until proven wrong.

Perhaps one day I will resort to running electrified tape…

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The bananas are not doing so good at the moment. Only the Basjoo seems alright while they others definitely felt the chill. They are now in the sun room. And will most likely spend Winter in the sun room. Hopefully they will recover. A question mark on the Australian Lady Finger and Gold Finger.

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Things I do in Winter when I should be doing something else. This, like sowing more Alders are definitely not on my to-do list, until a spur of the moment ago. All the asparagus seedlings grown in individual peat pots are now in the big seed tray, filled with soil, they will be in there maybe for another season to let their roots develop. Or maybe not, depends.

I’ve sown 3 trays of Alders without cold stratifying them in the fridge. These are getting naturally cold stratified through the Winter at the bottom rack of the seedling nursery.

The new seedling nursery is on the to-do list, for a very long time. And I have yet to start.

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Instead, I went and chop and drop the corn and sunflower stalks. Then spray digester onto them. The plan in here, Olives, Feijoas, Strawberry Guavas, and Chilean Guavas. The bamboo fencing will be removed and Chilean Guavas will be planted as a low hedge along the fence.

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I have finally reached the end of the Permaculture text book after more than a year of daily reading. Next up, Holistic Management.

The weather next weekend looks good. I’ll probably setup the grape trellis by then. Maybe plant out the front fence. Maybe do a bit more work on the Belgian Fence trellis. And maybe, finally start on the new seedling nursery.

The Secret

What does plant do when the weather gets cold?

Well, I doubt they’ll put the fire on as there won’t be much of them left after…

Nor would they be able to pay for the heat pump as they don’t deal in currencies…

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Especially for these bananas. My last lot got the death sentence in last season’s frost.

This week just gone by we had a series of frost with recorded temperature going down to -0.2dC. That is the sensor mounted undercover 6 feet above ground. So, out in the open, on ground level, it would be a lot colder.

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I’m not taking any chances this season. My objective is to keep the bananas alive through Winter 2016. I’ve got a huge microclima frost cloth which I folded into 4 layers to wrap around the plants. Now you know what the bamboo hoops are for.

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I’m doing the crazy Guinness bottles thingy again.

How does it work again?

Black absorbs and radiates heat, hence, black Guinness bottles.

Bottle turned upside down with mouth below ground level. Sun shines on bottle, bottle heats up, air inside bottle heats up, expand and push out into soil beneath, heats up soil, plant roots feel warm. Bottle radiates heat above ground level, plant enjoy the warmth while it last.

Warmth means growth.

And that’s the theory.

In practice. I’ve seen the bottles steaming away the dawn condensation when the morning sun shines on it.

I’m going to wake up early tomorrow and go frost hunting in the morning.