Wednesday, 29 June 2016

This year's apple cider vinegar

This Autumn's batch of apple cider vinegar is coming along nicely. The mother, or at least I think that's what it is, appears to be floating on top. The last bottle from last year's batch is in use, so when this fresh batch is ready, is something that needs to be worked out.

Vinegar, Apple Cider - 02 - 2016-06-27

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Planting out persimmon seedlings

Two summers ago, back in September 2014, I saved and planted out two persimmon seed from the local supermarket.  I scarified them in the refrigerator over the preceding Winter, and put them in these two pots.

Persimmon Seed - 01 - 2014-11-03 - 02 - Germination
September 2014
When they grew too big for the pots, I put them in planter bags and lost them amongst a whole clutter of seedlings on the North side of the house.  Eventually, they were rediscovered, identified and put in another clutter of seedlings.

Persimmon - 2015-12-31 - Seedlings
December 2015
Now that the leaves have dropped from them, I decided to plant them out.  First step was clearing the thick clumps of grass along the selected orchard row.  In the distance, you can see blurry in the background what looks like stakes.  There are two existing persimmon trees there, perhaps 1.5m tall each.   In the foreground is one persimmon seedling in the planter bag, and between the distant stakes and the foreground persimmon you can perhaps see a second persimmon seedling in another planter bag.

Persimmon, seedling - 2016-06-24 - 01 - Pre-planting
June 2016
And here they are planted out.  The older staked persimmon trees are more clearly visible in the background, and the midway seedling can be made out by the stones surrounding it.

As I finished planting these out the chickens came over and started scratching around them.  The stones tend to prevent them from doing any damage, or digging anything out that's just been planted.

Persimmon, seedling - 2016-06-24 - 02 - Post-planting
June 2016

Monday, 27 June 2016

Winter pear

In late Autumn, the Packham's Triumph pear tree flowered in one location and one of these flowers has since pollinated against.. well, I have no idea.  Since then, at the start of Winter, it has gotten down to almost 0°C at least once and there have been white frostings on the ground, but the lone pear keeps growing.

Pear, Packham's Triumph - 2016-06-27 - Winter fruit

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Tree lucerne dying

In the beginning, the idea was to buy or save seed and grow things. In theory what is a permaculture fantasy, in practice it just doesn't work out as idealised. One of the things I bought was tagasaste or tree lucerne seed, from Trade Me.  What tended to happen was that I'd prepare the seed and remove the coats, and find spiders had been growing inside them eating the seed.  Twice I did this.

In the end, I just went online and bought seedlings from Appleton's tree nursery.  It cost me a few bob, but at least it resulted in actual trees and less time wasted.

Unfortunately, a few have been dying off.  They tend to go grey, and I guess the roots die and they can just be pulled out of the soil.  Two to the west of this one died a few months ago, not long after planting.  This one has just started greying (look at the lower part of it) in the last month, I guess.

Tree lucerne - 2016-06-24 - 01 - Diseased

I have another six over the other side of the orchard, and they are consistently fine.  They're sitting up on either side of the water race, so perhaps it's about the drainage.