Sunday, 15 January 2012

15 Jan: Sunday--Farming in Paradise

Up at 7:00; breakfast of muesli and fruit for me and Jacques; “smoothie” in a bowl for Molly, Rex and Jo.  We harvested huge weeds with dynamic nutrient roots (and chopped them up into compost salad).  Separately, we pulled up rye and thistle for hot-compost building tomorrow.  We cleared two beds for planting—one in the main garden, and one as a strawberry patch.

Weeds "stolen" from the neighbors property

hefty nutrient-filled weed roots.

chopping weeds for composting

cleared strawberry beds.

main garden

view from the house garden

house garden

tunnel garden and shade garden


compost fixin's
 Lunch was at 12:30…Yummy hummus and homemade wholegrain sourdough bread. We had some time off.  First, I took a walk down with Jo to the neighbors whose property  they were looking in on for about a week.  There was a dog there—a very adorable brown Lab-like dog named Chloe, who was almost exactly the size of the pigs. She loves to be petted and groomed, and probably gets much of her girth from eating fallen avocados...
Jo with Chloe

We began work again at 3:30 to 6:30—this time… clearing space in the high grass for the windbreak of native trees to grow.   Because Rex had told us of the Katikati “haiku walk” and Jo had joked that they should start their own haiku, I gave it a try (NOTE: I got the name wrong on the first go-around, and I have corrected it here):

Young native trees hide.
Niwashi sharking cuts grass.
Trees now breathe easy.

Niwashi is a company that makes special gardening knives.  The knife called a "niwashi" is actually a smaller blade, sharp and perpendicular to the handle.  This tool is actually called a "shark", and it, too, is a very nifty Japanese gardening tool, with a serrated edge on its inner curved blade.  Handy.

I was confused because it is labeled "Niwashi" and it says it is made by Empress something or other...actually I was very confused because I originally called it a "nishiki."  I should have zoomed in to my own picture. Live and learn.

the Niwashi

Mushrooms near the trees we were clearing a space around

We then planted brassicas (brocciflower, cabbage, bok choy) and leeks.  Here was the method for the brassicas:
1. Wet down already turned and fortified good dirt…to a depth of 1 finger.
2. Cover with grassy mulch, to 4 inches.
3. Create nest-clearings about a foot and a quarter apart, to allow for  a canopy of growth to form, stopping weeds, and creating a nutrient run-off when watered.
4. Soak the seedlings in a bucket—a “bubble bath”—keep them in until the bubbles stop and all air has been replaced by water.
5. Plant them up to the first set of double leaves, since brassicas root up to that point.
6. Cover with a huge netted wooden cage that you have already built (ha, ha…I guess Rex or Jo or some other wwoofers had that task).  This prevents the white butterfly from laying eggs on them, and therefore prevents those big nasty wholes feeding the larvae.

Brassicas planted and caged

Seedlings were grown here

Molly and Rex at work

Rex and Jo making decisions.
 Leek planting involved a prepared bed, a 3-4 inch hole pegged in with the semi-pointed end of a 1 inch in diameter long wooden dowel.  The leek seedlings were then place in the holes, not filled in or tamped down, but rather filled with water.

Leek seedlings

Leek habitat holes

Molly at work

Distant trees, viewed while gardening, that looked fake, even though about 80 feet tall

Jacques makes a leek habitat...or is he hitting a home run?

Molly and Jacques

It was a lovely day’s work.

I was less tired at the end of the day than I had been at lunch.  Hmmm… Maybe that old homeopathic thing: Better from movement.

Dinner was the inspired combination of sauerkraut and avocado as an appetizer, followed by bulghur and kumara (cooked) and a beet and parsley salad. Unfortunately, Jo, the cook, was not feeling well.

Nevertheless, this place is heaven. Jo is energetic and a good planner, with flexible organization and vision.  There are a solid amount of tasks and a vast amount of knowledge about permaculture, local gardening practicalities, EFT (emotionally focused therapy), Reiki and who-knows what else…  More is revealed every hour…

Jo bakes bread, makes hummus from scratch, and picks our salad from the garden just before every meal.  Rex is also great, often playing string instruments and singing.  They seem to be such an attuned couple.

The place is healing and full of wonderful surprises.  Here are a few:

gooseberry in a surprise wrapper

the compost toilets

wwoofer made mural

Rex doing laundry

Jo petting her babies

the piggies--Ceres and Juno
Jo also provides daily lessons:  here is today's:

In the evening, Molly was looking at other WWOOFing sites, to possibly stay on in NZ after I return home. ..

No comments:

Post a Comment