Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Getting Growing

On 24 October  I went on an Organic Farms NZ field trip to Earthtalk at Awhitu which is owned by Tanya Cumberland and Charmaine Pountney. When they first moved there they had Kay Baxter of Koanga do a permaculture design and, with a few modifications, they have followed it, resulting in a delightful property. They were great hosts, and I loved how they gave credit to all the people who have helped with the work over the years. Some places I visit or read about leave me feeling totally inadequate as it appears that just two people do amazing work while both still working away from home for at least 40 hours a week! Tanya and Charmaine talked gratefully of their helpers, professional and voluntary.
an old mangle used to squeeze out the juice
They offered us, among other things, a delicious drink of sugar cane juice and kaffir lime - and I came home with a piece of rooted cane to try and grow - here's hoping. But even if it grows, I fear the possums will get it. Note to self: need to buy more traps, and a gun.
sugar cane growing near the middle of the picture
It was most inspiring and so since my last report on the garden we have done a lot of work. Mac and Steven, with a little 'help' from me, made me two compost bins out of recycled pallets from the rubbish heap around the back of Bunnings. On Monday we got three more so will be able to finish my three bin arrangement.

Mac has hoed and mowed, and I have weeded and scythed, and now the place is looking a lot tidier.
 last of the broad beans
We have planted potatoes,
 tomatoes, courgettes,
tarragon, coriander and marigolds.
I've sowed corn, carrots, peas and beetroot.  They've gone in a bit later than they should have according to usual planting, but with all the wind, rain and cold I think it was a good thing we were disorganised! We have more seedlings which we will be planting out over the next few days.

We've had a few strawberries - and so have the birds, so yesterday I put the netting over them.
 The chestnut trees are looking gorgeous, and are starting to flower.
 The little olive trees we bought this winter were looking lost in the long grass, so out with the scythe, and now they are less likely to be tractor mowed.
 There are plums on the plum trees, nashi, apples, pears - let's hope they stay on the trees until they are ripe, and not blown off by more vicious winds. And I've planted passionfruit (again!)
 Feijoas too prefer to be kept grass free, so that area has also been scythed.
The ducks try had to keep the grass down in the orchard, but it was too much and on Sunday we attacked it: Mac on the ride-on we inherited from Greg, and me with the scythe.
It looks so much more like a picture postcard now. Being mowed hasn't stopped the harrier from stealing the duck eggs though.
It's all been pretty hard work, this reclamation from winter wildness.

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