Starting to plant

I've not tried the crops Andrew is putting in, but I had good yields after planting this time last year:

  • Yams
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Strawberries

I had very average yields of:
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Broad beans
  • Onion

And failed with:
  • Pumpkin
  • Passion fruit

It was mainly the winter frosts that finished off the pumpkin and passion fruit. Every thing else survived through and is catching on again now. I'd really like to see the passion fruit work so I might relocate it to a more sheltered spot. Interestingly I put a second round of onions and spinach in half way through last summer and now they look as though they'll produce good yields early this summer. They didn't mature before last winter but survived through to now. As a result they are far more dense than the early summer crops I put it, so I'm looking forward to an early high yield on them.. but I seem to recall reading somewhere that onions mature when colder days start coming...

This time I'm trying tomatoes and capsicum but reckon its unlikely I'll get much there. I've put some seedlings in today so we'll see how they go.

What I ultimately want is a fairly self sustaining garden. Something I can dip into when I'm cashless or forget to do the shopping - so staple foods really. I don't really want to be constantly tending it and worrying about frosts and winds etc, so I'm looking for hardy crops like yams and potatoes.

I have a lemon, grape and fig tree in, but no movements there yet. Hopefully they'll make good progress this Summer.

My soil is pretty good and moist, with clayish areas and doc and clover growing generally all over - which signifies low nitrogen apparently.

I've started emailing a few permaculture people to see if there are people here with more local knowledge, or working bees etc. I'll blog what I find out.

Fireplace is in

We successfully installed the fire place 2 days before the wedding.

Richard (pictured) through his weight into the project and spent 4 hours in the roof directing Marlow, Chris Aaron and I.

I purchased the flue kit from Valley Industries and it cost me a little over NZ$500. In all it is 5 metres of flu, with 3 metres of 200mm and 250mm liners, spacers and top 600mm over the apex of the roof. I also bought a lead flashing seal for $130. It was an expensive exercise, but its good to know that we now have a fire installed to Dunedin Council standard. The fire puts out 1.27 g/kg of particle per Kg of fuel and is 89% efficient - which meets Dunedin emission controls, and the heat is unbeatable!!

We now cook on the fire when ever we use it, so we expect to save a lot on electricity costs - at least while we have renovation timber waste to burn. The heat from this fire is outstanding! For the first time Sunshine and I are able to wear light clothing in our living room :)

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