Next year it will be cotton exclusion bags on all fruit.
We are busy planting seeds and seedlings and opened our last NZ compost which triggered the need to rapidly build another. There was no shortage of material. The weeding in advance of planting produced lots of material and the cows are in the paddock next to house which provided some additional input. The mulch hay bales we used as one wall on a previous compost had been used twice and were beginning to fall apart after the heavy rain. They also added material and of course the old trailer was full of partially broken down sawdust from the chicken run. Some of the green material came from just running the hand mower over the lawn where there was ample clover.
Having finished one it was time to get a second ready and it is now in progress. You can never have enough compost.
The Climbing bean seeds we ordered more than two weeks ago finally arrived. This seed supplier is incredibly slow and expensive $5 for a packet of 10 seeds. Must be part of the slow seed movement. Because it had taken so long to arrive all the beds were ready and waiting and it didn't take long to finish planting and watering. Normally we don't buy from this supplier as they are slow and expensive and there have been some quality and chemical issues in the past but varieties of climbing beans suitable for dried bean use seem to be difficult to source. This will be a good reason to save seeds.
|Re-using baling twine for the beans|
On the other hand some suppliers have an incredible service ethic. I've been making cheese almost twice each week and our supplies of some ingredients were running low. We placed a big order last Sunday online. The postage is quite steep and restocking a number of starters and rennet as well as some cheese wraps made it palatable. Well it arrived on Wednesday. A complex order packed and posted Monday and delivered Wednesday from Victoria. Incredible service. As opposed to three lightweight seed packets stuffed in an envelope taking 15 days also from Victoria.
But the slow seed supplier looks great when compared to a USA supplier. In September we took a trial subscription to an amateur winemaking magazine which looked promising. Our first issue was published in mid September. After waiting a month an email query was sent and the response was that the first issue to a new subscriber takes an extra month and it would be here November 23. Well it still hasn't turned up. Most frustrating. Our past experience with USA magazine subscriptions has been that anything outside the USA is another planet.
Our cattle have really taken to eating their sprouted grain. We've more than halved their hay ration as the paddocks start to green up and increased their sprouted grain ration. After this week we will start reducing the grain again and hopefully they will be on pure grass in two weeks time. This has been a good exercise. It means we will not need to stock as much hay as backup for the dry times. In future when grass runs short they will get a ration of some roughage in the form of hay and sprouted grains from the chicken feed. More nutritious and cost effective.
|Just the smallest of sprouts appearing before feeding out|