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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Compost Bin

Compost making again. At this time of year we commence pruning around the property, various shrubs that have grown excessively and the fruit trees. We have a Budlea in particular that is planted near the carport. In the last month it has contributed to three NZ composts (see photos). These bins are 1.2 M cubed filled with multiple layers of mulched green pruning s, dry matter such as mulch hay, a tiny layer of soil, fire place sweepings, a little manure or blood and bone and lime. All with lots of water. Having just turned the first compost into the next bin after 6 weeks of fermenting, this week we built another compost in the now empty bin. Every morning you can see the steam rising out of the central air hole as the bin heats to between 50 and 70 degrees C. All this after 12 weeks in total will then be used in the vegetable garden.

Front panels slide into place as the compost is built

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dragon Fruit

Planted this Dragon Fruit about a year ago and have already had three pieces of fruit and another is on the way. The fruit is roughly spherical and about 100 mm in diameter. The texture reminds me of Kiwi Fruit but the flavour and colour is different. Lots of black seeds (all small), sweet flavour - love it. Very easy to grow. This came from a cutting that was stuck in a pot until it took root. Best planted out of the way because of the spikes, loves to grow vertically.
Dragon Fruit

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Potted Artichoke

In past years we had little success with growing Artichokes with poor size and disease problems. Last year we planted seed in April/May and potted up until transplanting into 200 litre halves in July. This resulted in a great yield with just a couple of plants. So this year we are following the same routine but putting in a few extra plants. The photograph shows a survivor from last year. Not sure how it will go. One critical factor was timing. A couple of other Artichokes planted late did not grow sufficiently well to produce flowers. We will see if these carry overs will produce something in the second year or whether we need to plant freshly from seed each year for the best results. It is pleasurable to sit in front of the TV peeling away a leaf at a time, dunking it into a sauce of some type and then scraping off the soft flesh with your teeth.

Wine - Bottled and Labelled

Sometimes it's nice to affix a pretty label before consuming. In the cellar we use drop down tags to keep track and make it easier to spot want is wanted.,

Building up the cellar for a rainy day

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bottled most of the whites today, Muscat, Semillon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The first dozen of each was made into sparkling by adding fermenting yeast and sugar. 15 ml of 25 Beaume water and sugar with yeast added while it was 40 degrees C. Then 12 grams sugar then filling the bottle. Using recycled champagne bottles to make sure they handle the pressure. A nearby resident celebrates Friday night with a bottle of French champagne. Rummaging through their recycling bin once a week has resulted in a good collection of top quality bottles. The rest of each batch of wine went into Stelvin sealed bottles also collected from recycling. The screw caps can be reused several times just need to check the wadding inside has stayed intact. Not a bad days effort six dozen whites and four dozen sparkling. Should get us through the year. When opening the sparkling it just needs to treated like a home brew i.e. decant gently into glasses or another bottle and leave the sediment behind. Getting crown seals for the champagne bottles is not all that difficult as a lot of home brew places carry them.