Pondering from Purple Pear.

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by purplepear, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Not too sure how much time I can give to this but here goes!
    Life at the farm has been hectic of late. Despite council approval to go ahead with the shed that could take some wet weather education, we have not commenced construction. The money we had set aside for the concrete footings was used to supplement income when the last PDC did not fill and we had to cancel. Today I have been using some of the windows and doors to modify the carport/shed to serve as a lecture room and will be used very soon to run movies for Transition Towns.

    We are organizing the equinox festival atm with various games and entertainment for all. The festival is aimed primarily at subscribers for our CSA boxes to enhance their unity with the farm and many more who support what we do also come. This year it will be a bit different as we have hired a great blue grass band and will be charging an entrance fee to help cover the cost. May be Woodstock started this way.

    Thats all for now but more soon I hope.
     
  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Thanks PP, nice to hear what you are up to.
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Hmmmm 2020 the International Purple Pear Blues Festival - kinda has a nice ring to it I think...
     
  4. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Thanks guys. It is probably not a great idea as I have little time for this even now I am supposed to be packing the ute with push bikes to go off on a Transition Town bike ride in Dungog.

    Enough time to say that we have preped beds for tomatoes and have propagated around two hundred tomatoes 150 capsicums and egg plants and basil all ready for a bumper summer crop.
    Bugger gotta go - I'll be back.
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I'm jealous -- NONE not a single one of my capsicums and egg plants have germinated yet. The tomatos are all up though. I've been telling myself that it is still too cool, but then you go and prove me wrong! Are you using a heat pad or something?
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    What are you going to do with 150 capsicum plants? I mean how can you eat that many capsicums? Are you selling the plants or the fruits?

    Strange Eco, what are you doing? I was able to germinate my capsicums in winter even (up here) but they didn't grow. I've got some more on the go. Im waiting to see what they will do this time? I use bought seed raising mix. What do you use? I also germinate them in the sunshine.
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I'm using bought seed raising mix. They are in a shadehouse under 50% shade cloth. Should I just move them to a sunny spot? Last year the ones that did germinate never got really big and I only got about 3 caps off each plant.
     
  8. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Maybe its poor seed. My second batch of seed is from a shop capsicum whereas my first ones were from a seed packet. When i put them in the ground and nothing happens, i figure its the soil. Maybe next time I will sow direct into the garden. I don't know what's going on. I had used to think that capsicums were easy to grow for some reason. Maybe they just need some rain.
     
  9. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Hey sunburm
    we grow the capsicums for our food boxes in the CSA and for sale to farmers markets in the Hunter Valley
    Eco
    My best response has come from a capsicum that came in food scraps from the organic shop and was destined for the chooks but I got the seeds as it was big and red and yes I have used an underheater to get them away early

    The farm continues to imped on other things in our life. Yesterday we went for a twenty Kilometer bike ride as a part of the Transition Towns push to get people away from fossil fuel depentency. Today we address a crowd (I hope) at the Sustainable House Day about what permaculture can do for the masses.

    The garden is looking after itself though we need to plant out a bed today (it should have been Friday) We plant about 250 seedlings twice a week. This equates to the rythum set by moving a chook dome every two weeks. As we have four domes in operation on seven mandalas it is a move on Monday and a move on Friday and a subsequent plant out. It is important that we stay on top of it because we can not put the food into boxes till it is grown and it will not grow properly without being planted in the soil.

    Images are still a bit of a mistery to me but you can see some in the mandala town photos and I suggest that may be the best we will get for a bit.
    Sorry but gotta go and I see spelling mistakes that I have no time to fix. Back soon I hope.
     
  10. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    250 is a lot of work. I don't actually like the planting part of gardening. I much prefer weeding. I think i'm going to stick with perennials as much as possible. But its great to read about what other people are doing. I'll hunt around the mandala group for pictures.
     
  11. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Would hot water bottles work for bottom heating.
    (stop laughing I'm serious).
    I have no trouble getting tomatoes to germinate but capsicums dont like me.
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I've moved my seed tray to the sun. Fingers X'ed!
     
  13. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I reckon the hot water bottles would work great mischief. I read in an old organic gardening book that they use horse manure at the bottom of cold frames to under heat the propagation. Any organic matter that heats up when it is breaking down would do.

    Eco I wonder if it would help to enclose the seed trays - we have styro boxes cut in half with the top half covered in plastic to keep th heat in ala hot house.

    My under heater was made from a water bed heater - that dates me i guess.

    Today was overcast and looking like rain in the Hunter Valley. The calendar called it a leaf day and being spring and growth happening - the only thing to do was to get fertalizer on the the pasture. Some months ago I was able to procure a couple of 200 litre drums of carp after a fishing competition in the upper hunter valley. Since that time the fish have been brewing with a solar air pump and a set of Biodynamic compost preps. They have been sited waaaay up the back with attention to prevailing wind direction and such. Today they came out and I filled a 200 litre drum with water and added a half bucket of the fish brew. A trailer, purpose made with gravity fed irrigation pipes and towed behind the ride-on allowed me to get the fish solution on to the paddocks just before the shower came.

    I am most pleased with the results but have had to sneak into the house to post this as I am not supposed to be anywhere near the house till I somehow get rid of the smell which seems to have permiated my skin so no amount of washing makes a difference.

    I may spend the night in the cow shed - gee I hope I get fed. The grass will be high as an elephants eye.

    Not sure of the sustainability of the fish as it is an off farm "input" but we have so few inputs here and the fish would have been a problem if we didn't take them. They make great fertalizer for pasture, fruit trees and vegies too.

    Gotta go - I think Kate's coming.
     
  14. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    She'll know you were at the keyboard you know.... You are SO in trouble!
    I think that's a very clever use of local resources that were going to be wasted anyway. You are going to have enough to use for many a leafy day!
     
  15. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    With the odour of fish subsiding I thought I could risk another adventure and when to BD preparation day yesterday where we removed the oak bark preparation from it's over wintering. This involves splitting open the sheeps skull after taking it from the barrel of putrefied water that has been it's home for some months.

    Guess what? I am again in trouble for the rank smell that exudes from my presence. Last noght we went to the Permaculture Hunter meeting and I got some strange looks from the guy who sat beside me. He seemed happier when Kate sat between me and him though I think the extra distance would not have made much difference.

    Ah - the things we do in the name of fertility and bounty.

    The garden is "between seasons" a bit with some of the winter stuff no longer interested in growing and the time not yet right for the summer crop. We are still harvesting plenty of cabbage and turnips and lettuce and kohlrabi and snow peas but english spinach and other winter crops are bolting in the warmer days.

    We are in count down to the festival in a couple of weeks so a pause in garden activity is welcome though each "fruit" day is used to it's max for perparation of the beds for tomato and capsicum and the other "fruits" of the summer.

    It is worth noting the difference in crops between winter leaf vegetables and summer fruits. Could this have something to do with the rain in winter and the warmth of the sun in summer?
     
  16. philippa

    philippa Junior Member

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    Hi purplepear,
    great to hear that you are involved with biodynamics. I've been doing it for two years on my small vineyard and it makes a big difference. I can look over to the neighbour's place and see some green on their side of the fence but when I pan my eyes over to our place it looks so much lusher. I spent quite a few years practising "conventional" chemical input farming before I found out I was pregnant and decided on the spot that I wasn't going to use anything that I couldn't either eat or pour on my head safely.
    I am of the firm belief that permaculture alone is not enough if we are not healing the main driver of sustainable fertility; ie the soil. after several years of putting out BD preps in the vineyard and the vege garden the soil is spongy and dark and the BD compost smells sweet like a forest floor. And it really is such a little thing to do. When I first started doing it I had on my scientific sceptic's hat and I could not possibly believe it would work, but I went with it anyway. After two years I am a convert. And the wine made from the grapes is good, really good.
    It is totally ridiculous to think that we can fight nature.
    Kind Regards,
    Philippa.
     
  17. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    hmmm.
    This is good.
    Its one thing to read in a book about something but its quite a different matter to listen and learn what someone is actually doing/why and how.
    I dont have access to sheep heads but I am getting a beef for the freezer shortly so I could probably get beef bones.
    Surely these could be a good substitute?
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I'm not sure that you'd want to pour that carp mix on your head Phillipa! It sounds evil....
     
  19. philippa

    philippa Junior Member

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    Haha, certainly wouldn't become pregnant again, Eco! No one would come within 500 metres of me!
    Mischief, a skull is specified in BD practice, possibly available from an abbatoir. Sheep skull for choice, but goat is also okay, I think. You need to be able to seal the hole in the top with a plug of clay before you bury the skull in a swamp.
     
  20. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I would advise that you join a group and make your preps together - it is a great social thing and the costs are minimal. There should be plenty of groups in NZ but if not then start one.

    It is amazing to see the sinus of the sheep and the way they measure the efficacy of the thing they are about to eat.

    Phillippa - I se BD as part of the overall "care for the Earth" and so is a part of my concept of Permaculture just as LETS and Transition towns is and mandala gardens and food forests and companion planting and earth dousing and so on - All permaculture to me
    I just love striving to live in tune with the rhythmns of the cosmos and it is nice too that you like using the biodynamics. Thanks.
     

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