TRIP TO ALLIGATOR SWAMP
Robinson, Waiwera, Saturday 30 June 2001
|We took a
short cut down to Sarah¹s place, through bush down a steep winding
path to her home on a shared 100 acre property. Fifty percent is
bush, some under covenant, with other areas reverting back (gorse to ti
tree to bush), some pines have been planted for timber. Sarah has Bio-Gro
certified gardens and orchards supplying Ceres, Fresh Direct, Harvest Organics,
and has been organic for twelve years. She makes her own fish fertilizer
and showed up how she builds a heap, contained within walls and having
to make fish compost:
Layer of gorse
Layer of hay
Layer of fish
and mussel shells
lime (go fast element)
Lay of sawdust
Layer of grass/weeds
heap with plastic weighted down with tyres.
weeks she adds another set of layers as above. Drainage is important
otherwise the compost will become anaerobic. It needs air to work.
Sarah showed us a heap that was six months old most of the fish bones
had gone. Turning the heap would help if necessary.
are laid out in raised beds, only wide enough to reach from either side.
Newspaper and carpet was laid over kikuyu grass to kill it. Initially the
beds were double dug, sand was added to improve the heavy clay soil, then
bark and compost. The beds are composted with lawn clippings, dags
and the fish fertilizer. Vegies growing while we were there were
perpetual spinach, kale and leeks, and Sarah and her Woofer were getting
ready to plant garlic by weeding the beds and then adding a layer of compost.
the gardens is pumpkin, garlic, mustard, leeks. Compost is added
twice a year. Leeks are sown in a seedling bed in October, and the
tops are trimmed off before planting out. The leeks grow well in
the heavy soil and more or less look after themselves. Sarah¹s
not had much luck with caulis/cabbage etc as there are too many slugs and
snails. Suggestions for coping with slugs and snails were:
catch them at night; apply Garuda slug and snail repellant; or grind them
up, ferment and spray around (and it was suggested that what you were really
spraying was a concoction of bacteria that are the natural enemy of snails,
so infection was keeping the snails under control in this type of application?)
|One of the
orchards contains apples (Braeburn, Granny Smith, Gala) and pears (Bon
Cretien). The trees are given compost (fish 2 x shovels) and lime
every year (about 2 handfulls per tree). Sheep also graze the orchards.
The second orchard we saw was planted with tangelos, lemons, navel oranges,
feijoas and more apples. The trees are pruned by and for stock (and
protected). No watering is needed it¹s not really citrus/feijoa
country at all - and the orchard sites are very sheltered.
|The bush creates
rather a possum problem for the orchard and Sarah¹s answer to this
was hot-wired trees! With the materials on hand, she worked out a
system and woofers installed it. Possum traps (Timms) are used also
to keep them at bay. Pindone poison is placed in covered bait stations
outside the orchards. Traps for rats are also set in drain coil/covered
containers outside the vegetable gardens. The ARC has trapped and
poisoned in the area so possums are no so prevalent at present.
|Not so much
an alligator swamp but a little bit of paradise! Many thanks to Sarah
for a great day.