Archive for May, 2009

Term-II, Week-5 (25th -29th May)

Monday, 25th May – Unit 1670, Plant ID Test

I was feeling  severe  pain on shoulders and legs, because of the weekend works. But the other side, we were happy that, coming week will pass over with out an empty stomach. Because, we will get paid. Some of were on the  final touch process of plant collection and specimen sheets. As announced before, we are going to be tested today. We have to identify twenty five – Trees, shrubs, climbers and New Zealand native items – from the collections. She fixed the test time at 1.00 PM. Identify a plant is not difficult. But remember and write the botanical name of that with out any spelling mistake is the difficult task. Most of us were practicing in the class room like how we  had been  doing during the school times. Names like Aesculus hippocastanum, Cotinus coggygria and Parthenocissus quinquefolia were not getting stored in the memory. While identifying these plants, somehow we managed all and done almost perfect in accuracy and spellings. She has evaluated all the answers and published the result soon. Most of us were successfully completed the ID Test. Later on, we were in the Library and Computer Room up to late evening to complete the pending works on Specimen sheets.

Tuesday, 26th May – Pests, Diseases and Disorders.

A day for Pests, diseases and disorders. As announced before, today is the day for ID test of twenty five common pests, diseases and disorders well known in the horticulture industry. There was a bacteria in the Smart Board. Wayne King was ready to start his fight against the bad guys. While giving the day’s programme, he has fixed a time for the ID Test of the pests.

Bacteria  are very small one-celled organisms. Like fungi, they lack chlorophyll. Most bacteria are saprophytes (useful as they break down organic matter). A few bacteria are plant parasite. All the plant parasitic bacteria are facultative saprophytes.  Bacteria cell are about 0.001 mm long and great diversity in shape and flagella (tails) Reproduction of these bacteria is by asexual cell division called FISSION. In favourable warm moist conditions,  the cells grow quickly and divide. All these bacteria will be inactive in dry conditions. They remain protected and inactive inside disease tissue, however will die if removed from the host plant. We can easily identify the bacterial symptoms like Galls, Cankers and die backs, leaf and fruit spots, rots and wilts. Control measures are different for soil and aerial borne bacteria.  Timing is very critical for control these, because of the lifecycle. Prevention is always better that cure.  Use resistant cultivars, disease free plants, disinfected seeds, disinfected soils, good crop hygiene practices and careful growing practices and regular watering and feeding.

Viruses are other major role players in the horticulture diseases.  They are very tiny particles that can only be seen under an electron microscope. All are parasitic and cause diseases in plants and animals. They are not cells – a strand of nucleic acid and many protein units. Most are rod shaped or spherical and can not reproduce by spores or division. They spread with in the plant  carried from cell to cell in the cytoplasm through tiny tubes called plasmodesmata (very slow). Through the plants sap stream in the phloem (rapid). All these viruses are difficult to control because they are not cellular, therefore we cannot use pesticides, as they are designed to disrupt the cellular organisation. They are protected inside the plant. So, prevention is always better than cure.  We keep this virus away like boarder controls, control insect vectors, removal of diseased plants, hygiene, propagate from virus free stock and use resistant tolerant cultivars. They are mainly like mosaics, ringspots, chlorosis, necrosis and disorted leaves and fruit. Many virus can infect a plant with out causing visible symptoms.

Plant Disorders are also common in the horticulture industry. They may be physiological disorders and no pathogen is involved in plant disorders.  Plant disorders are mainly caused by  the following factors. Unfavourable climate conditions, nutrient deficiencies or toxicities and poor management.  Climate  has a major roll in plant disorders. Proper light and right temperature are necessary for plants. Unpredicted things like hail, wind and frost may cause some disorders in plants. Shortage of water and nutrients are also a major factor. Deficiencies of Nitrogen, potassium, sulphur, calcium, magnesium, boron, zinc, iron, manganese and copper will affect the plant growth. As a good horticulturist, we have to make a good practice of soil testing and better irrigation management. Test soil on June-July, Leaf on January -February and petioles on  the month of November.

Before the lunch session, we have undergone the ID Test of common Pest, Diseases and Disorders in the horticulture industry. Identified all and explained the most successful control time and  uncontrollable time of all these.  Everybody has done quite well and result will be announced on the next session. In the afternoon session, we were working with assignments.

Wednesday, 27th May – Completion of Specimen Collection – Unit1670

A day for Tutorial and got a wonderful opportunity to complete all the pending task like completing the Blogs (Weblogs), specimen sheets of plant identifications etc… I was working with computers till the late evening. A great day for completing  many task.  

Thursday, 28th May – Propagation – Nursery

Ready to grow

Ready to grow

Thursday…….Nursery Day… Propagation day…… Jo announced the day’s planning. Today we were working with Unit-44, Shelter and Units 20557 & 20558 – Propagation records.  In unit -44, we were working on a shelter belt behind the nursery. Hedge Trimming of Leyland trees. We used a petrol trimmer for this. It was really an interesting job. A wonderful practice for hair styling. Everybody has done the task quite well manner. Some of us cleaned the surrounding areas. On the propagation Unit,  we have pricked out seedlings in to HIKO ( Tubes- 24 Cells @ Tray) trays. Sophora microphylla, an item –scarification (scratched on sandpaper) done on the seeds on 09th April all were germinated and ready for pricking out. Other items like Phromium cookianum and Cordyline australias,  seeds kept for sowing on 26th March, were also ready for pricking out. ( we have kept all theses items on Glass House-4 for hardened off on couple of weeks before). In the afternoon, we have potted Thyme cuttings (which were rooted and kept in Glass House for harden off ) in to 10 cm pots. All these plants labelled and placed back  to Glass House -4 for growing.  Overall it was a good day for practice “Hair Dressing” and “Plucking Eye Brows”.

Friday, 29th May – Pruning  Pruning

Unit 830, Train and Prune Fruit Trees….., We are ready for the action. Learn, practice and do one of the most important works in the horticulture industry. Some of us reached class on time. Wayne and Trevor were waiting to start the action. But some guys (late arrivals) made us to wait ten more minutes to start the class. Trevor has given strict (warning) advice to them to come on time. Is it a good sign to go to bed very late and wake up too late in the morning…. ???

Pruning

Pruning (Click the Image to Watch video)

Wayne King has given a brif introduction of the class and explained that, there are two part to this course. (A) A theory based  workbook to complete, which works with the theory aspects of pruning. (B) a practical aspect where you need to demonstrate your ability to prune a range of crops and crops of differing ages. Pruning is very important for produce  the high quality  fruit or flowers, to increase the size of fruit or flowers, pruning is simply a form of thinning, but  conducted in winter and to reduce the pest and diseases problems on trees.  Beside these, to rejuvenate trees and improve vigour in the tree and to assist colour developments of fruits. One tree have two different kind of buds, Fruit buds and dominant buds. Pruning removes old wood and stimulates new shoots by sending hormones to the cut. Upright growth is the most vigorous, but the least fruitful. Flat and downward pointing growth is the weakest, but the most fruitful. Dormant pruning stimulates the growth.  Sunlight is an important factor for a tree’s growth. A thick canopy prevent reaching sunlight to all the part of tree. During the fruit bud development season, when trees get enough sunlight and tress will produce necessary hormones to start the fruit buds developments and later flowering. Even after the flowering season, pollination is also an important for fruit developments.

For a successful pruning, we have required some sophisticated tools. They are like Loopers, Secateurs, Pruning Saw and An OIL stone for sharpening the tools.  Do not buy cheaper quality pruning tools for a long term use. An average in an Orchard, We have to use these tools 40 hours per week at minimum three months. It means almost 480-500 hours per year. 

Raspberry - Summer Fruit

Raspberry - Summer Fruit

After understanding these basic theory parts, we went for the Raspberrypractical. We have pruned some Raspberry plants. There are two different verity plants , one verity produce fruits in Summer and other verity produce fruits in  Spring. For the Spring fruit verity, we have pruned some old, dead branches and for summer fruit plant, we have done complete pruning.  In the after noon session, we have pruned Apricot Trees. There we used ladder and all pruning tools. Wayne and Trevor were with us to guide and teach all the technical sides of the pruning. Thus, the first lesion of the Pruning is over with  handful experiences.

 

We were working with Molyneux  on weekends… Saturday was a foggy day and SUN was not happy  up to 2.PM. But Sunday, he was happy in the morning and later his mother called him to take shower. Later on he disappeared and till evening.

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Term-II, Week-4 (18th -22nd May)

Monday, 18th May: Unit 1670 – Plant identification…(conti….)

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Holly

After a wonderful, lovely and rainy weekend, we reached the polytechnic on time. We could not go for week end works on last Saturday and Sunday, because of the rain. Monday morning was slight well to go out. Today’s topic – Shelter, was already completed in its theoretical part and some practical works were pending. Because of the bad weather, Jo has postponed the practical programme for an another day and started to work with Unit 1670, Plant Identification. We were working with the preparation of Specimen Sheets. Some of us were working in the computer lab and others were on the campus library to search and collect the plant details. Jo has visited many times to update the progress and helping people to complete the task on time. I was working in the computer up to 6.00 PM.

 

Tuesday, 19th May  : Pests, Diseases and Disorders..

Botrytis

Botrytis

Some more Tuesdays are the days for Pest, disease and disorder in the Horticulture Industry. As usual Wayne King was ready to start his performance. A picture of an apple was displayed in the Smart Board and Caption “Disease” was clear. Topic started with a day’s introduction.

Diseases have a significant impact on the productivity of plants due to, infections of leaves, shoots and berries, poor plant health & fruit quality, reduction in yields and rotting of flowers, leaves and fruit. Cause of disease are  like fungi, bacteria and viruses. Fungi cause the gretest number of disease but disease symptoms can also be caused  by bacteria or viruses. These disease mainly occur when a pathogen alters one or more of the plants  physiological process. This will result  in the plant displaying visible sign of the disease.

Common difference between bacteria, fungi and viruses are…

Fungi

Bacteria

Viruses

Very common Less common than Fungi rare
Many saprophytes some parasites Many saprophytes some parasites All are parasites, cannot live outside the host cell
Long cells and flaments spores Single celled organism Not cellular – are particles
Reproduced with spores Reproduced by division Uses host cell to replicate
Micro. Average cell about 0.1 mm across. Micr. About .1 of a fungi cell – 0.01 to 0.001 mm Sub micro can be seen only with an electron Micro. <0.001mm

Fungi is a very small organism ( not plants) which are often only visible through a microscope. Fungi are either parasites or saprophytes. This fungi reproduced  in many ways like produce spores, fragments of mycelium break off, produce lumps of hardened mycelium called sclerotia. Spores are major mean of reproduction and can spread over large distance. They can use the medium like air, water, insects, birds, man and seeds. Ones they land on the host plant, will lay dormant until conditions are favourable. They enter the plants through wounds, natural openings, stomata, cuticle and  epidermis. Plants response these infections like leaf spots, blights, galls, moulds, rots and wilts. Classification of fungi  are hyphae, spores and fruiting bodies.

Following are the main signs and symptoms of fungal pathogens. They are blights, cankers & diebacks, damping –off, downy mildew, galls, leaf spots, moulds and tots, powdery mildews, rusts, smuts and wilts. Fungal diseases in grape fruits are like botrytis, leaf blight, powdery mildew, eutypa dieback, downy mildew, black ded arm, bunch rot, armillaria root rot, phomopsis, verticillium wilt, black spot, phytopthora, ripe rot and biter rot.

We have undergone a mock identification test of twenty plant pests, diseases and disorders name, life stage of them found, part of the life cycle which is most susceptible to control measures and part of the life cycle which is most resistant to control measures. Everybody has performed well. In the afternoon session, most of us were in library  and  working with assignments.

 

Wednesday, 20th May :  Unit 1670 – Plant identification…(conti….)

A cool tutorial day and all of us reached class on time. Jo announced our day’s programs. For everybody, it was an extra opportunities to work out and complete the pending in specimen sheets – plant identity. Some of us were working with blogs and updated  up to week. I was in the computer room up to 5.30 PM and updated some more plant information in the specimen sheets. As announced before, soup + bread with spreder were available during lunch. Thanks for OPSA and BOB for organising such event and serving hot soup during this cold.

Thursday, 21st May : Shelter Maintenance – practical

Shelter Maintenance

Shelter Maintenance

Tree in Jail

Tree in Jail

Mercury dipped down to minus. We all were shivering. Somehow we managed to reach on time in the class. We all knew that day is for outside activities. Jo announced the day’s agenda. It was very interesting thing. Practical side of the Shelter tree – planting, mulching, weeding, irrigation and pruning. There were two vans were ready for move to Fulton Hogan Ltd., Parkburn, Wanaka road. We loaded all planting tools, trees which are going to plant and supporting accessories in the trailer.  Smoko items, lunch and water were also taken with us. It was a full day programme.  We have replaced some damaged plants  from the last year planting. At this site they have a three layer shelter belt and that all  are still buried under the deep grass with  out any care. We have done a real hard work to remove all the weeds. Then put lot of mulch  for these trees. Planted many new trees  (selection planting). Trees we planted  all are one year old  and hope they will grow with other trees with out any competition.  It was a real experience for planting, maintaining of  shelter trees. Trees we planted are mainly from the collections  of Cupress ‘Blue Ice’ and Gum trees.  We have finished all activities and came back to poly campus at 3.00 PM. An announcement form Jo that some  more soup is waiting for us in the kitchen. It was really an energy soup on this cold day. At the end of the day, some of us were working with assignments up to late evening.

 
Shelter maintenance

Shelter maintenance

Weeding !!!!!!!!

Weeding !!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 22nd May : Budding and Grafting Plants

Today’s class is at Bannockburn road campus. Wayne king is always ready before time to start the class. Today’s topic, Unit 834, Graft mature fruit plants. He has gone through the general introduction of this topic, theory and practical assignment and other criteria. 

Teaching started with need of budding or grafting on plants. They are like improving production, introducing new verities, reworking older verities, repairing the damages and removal of diseases from the plants ect. Grafting terminology – the art of connecting two living pieces of plant tissues together, which unite  and subsequently develop as one composite plant. Budding is almost similar to grafting, but the scion is reduced to the size of one bud usually except for patch budding.  There are three important parts is this grafting. They are Scion, rootstock and interstock.   Scion is the short piece of detached shoot with several dormant buds, when attached to the root stock, will grow and produce the stem and branches of the new plant. It is the desired cultivar. Rootstock  is the lower part of the graft that develops in to the  root systems. The union can be high or very low on the plant. Interstock is  a piece of stem inserted between  the scion and the rootstock. Interstock can reduce incompatibility between  scion and rootstocks.

Some of the major factors are very important for a successful grafting. Compatibility, plant spices and graft type, environment conditions, moisture, growth activity of the rootstock and pest and disease.

Major types of grafting are Detached scion grafting, side grafting, bark grafting and  root grafting. But in budding, T Budding and Inverted T Budding are common. Splice Graft, Cleft Graft, Split Graft, Wedge Graft, Saddle Graft, Banana Graft, Side Stub Graft, Side Tongue Graft, Side Veneer Graft, Rind Graft and  Inlay Bark Graft are popular in the horticulture industry.  Planning of grafting is important. Identify the trees in the season  prior  to harvest on the basis of Cultivar, Colour, Pest and Dieses Free, Size, Habit, Cropping level and Fruit Quality. Mark all these trees with highly visible UV resistant tapes usually orange electrical tape is very useful. In June / July, collect the wood on the following basis.  Select from the marked basis, wood over 8 mm, upper part of the tree and from sunny side. Then store these woods cut in to 3 cm length, Soak newspaper, Lay these cuttings in the layer of newspaper and fold over the end and roll up, label the bundle, place in plastic bag and seal up and store in cool store or fridge at 2 degree (apprx) temperature.

In the afternoon section we had a “real” practical catch up the entire grafting activities. Wayne King was helping us a like an instructor, friend and a grandfather in all these processes. We all collected some bud woods from the  apple trees with the help of Bypass Hand Shears. Used the grafting knife to cut and joint together and  used PVC tape to tight well. Then practised with V cut tool for cutting the stocks.  All collected bud woods – Packed in the socked news paper and rolled up and packed well in the plastic bag and placed name and verity tag on and kept in the cold room.

An Indian style dishes at Dail’s House at Bannokburn – As decided before, we all gathered and prepared and served together some yummy Indian dishes for our Kiwi friends who are from the Akarua family. Including Gillian, nearly fifteen from them and we fourteen and Dail’s family were tasted the dishes. It was a real challenge and wonderful experience.

Weekend works  – 23rd and 24th – we all were working with Molyneux.

Term-II, Week-3 (11th-15th May)

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Monday, 11th May – Shelter………..

Winter – a cool guy, is standing in the door step……. to see her Girlfriend…. But her elder sister  Autumn is not ready to allow her sister to meet him……. Because this Autumn has no boyfriend yet and she is more beautiful than  the other. She is an amazing beauty. What a nice to see her…. Slim angel. I can not describe her colour….. is it yellow or pink, or (really I don’t know )…..I know only one thing that she is really awesome… I really love her….. her beauty……….. I think you to…………

A freeze Monday morning… there was no Sun on last two days and mercury was going down…… Everybody was wearing enough winter cloths and reached timely on the class.  Today’s topic (continuation of last class) was displayed on the Smart Board…………. “Establish and Maintain Shelter”.

Shelter Trees

Shelter Trees

Topic started with  Shelter belts tree species commonly used for Central Otago region.  They are mainly Alnus spp., Populus cultivars, Salix cultivars (Willows), Eucalyptus spp. and x Cupressocyparis leylandil.  Some other lower growing species like Pittosporum, Phormium and Cortaderia richardii (toi-toi). We have planted some  pots of toi-toi in the nursery a couple of days before… We call it as GOLs……

The main points of the day’s are like when to do shelter tree planting, how to do planting, how to protect these planted trees, how can we prepare the area for planting and how can we maintain these trees when they grow. We learned to choose the species of plants… Now the major task starts here….Spring and early autumn are generally the best season to plant shelter trees. Most people do some mistakes while digging the hole to plant these trees. Too small holes… A wide open deep hole is always suitable to plant these trees. Soaking  the container grown tress in a bucket of water before planting , will help to stop all air bubbles rising. Bare rooted plants should be planted as soon as possible. Otherwise it will be a major loss. All the planting process should be very careful and properly handled. Place the plant at the proper height in the hole, straighten them well and fill the hole gently but firmly. Water in the hole before planting and water after planted are good practices. Do not do over watering – it will cause oxygen deprivation- . Using super absorbent polymer crystals  will help a lot to maintain the moisture level. Mulching is an important  for maintain the moisture level and weed control. Applying fertilisers are optional and up to you. Don’t not over do these. Better to avoid pruning on these small plant except  any damage or structural deficiencies.  Always think twice before attempting to remove lower branches.  They are very important for trees to make needed food production and protection.  Always be cautious while doing the staking. Poor staking can cause major damages on trees. Sometime it may kill the tree (a merciful killing) Do not make them bondage… let them grow freely…..  Protect the trees from Rabbit, Hare and other wild animals.

Summary of planting…..

Chose a best species Dig a decent holeWatering well before and after the plantingControl the fertiliser – as needed- Mulch, if possibleStakingRabbit, animal and spray guardsDo necessary weed controlNecessary pruning and maintenance.

We all went for field visit in the afternoon. It was  a chance to see the shelter trees planted in different areas like Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell and its surroundings. Most of the shelter belt tree species are Alnus spp., Populus cultivars are Salix cultivars (Willows).  Artificial shelter have found in some orchards. Deciduous and  Evergreen trees planted together in some places. Some other places planted with trees and shrubs together…

Sheter Belt

Sheter Belt

 
Shelter  belts

Shelter belts

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 12th May –  Pests, Diseases and disorders…….

Aphids

Aphids

Just because of the cold weather, we all were sure that it is very difficult to find pests or diseases. Wayne King was ready for  remove or quarantine all the pests and diseases on time. Because, Pests, diseases and disorders are his horticultural enemies and  he is always behind him… He calls them as “BAD GUYS”….

We had  a task to perform on  today morning… As decided  on last class, anyone from the three members group should present a summery of the last field visit. What kind of pests, diseases and disorders we have found during visit to Bannockburn campus and Jackson’s Orchard. He has distributed a list of 21 pests and diseases IDs most popular on horticulture industry. They are  Black Spot, Powdery Mildew, Frost Damage, Aphids, Codling Moth, Mealy Bug, Shield or Vegetable Bug, White Fly, Snail, Silver Leaf, Bitter Pit, Scale, Phytophthora, Botrytis, Brown Rot, Shot Hole, Bacterial Blast, Grape Leaf Roll Virus, Verticillium Wilt, Erinose Mite and Leaf Looper Caterpiller.

Ladybirds

Ladybirds

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

He continued the topic from Flies. Bulb flies and carrot rust flies are common. Hygiene is the most important factor in the orchards to control all these bad guys. In major cases, with a very cautious, Diazinon can be used. There is another small pest called Springtails are also common in orchards. We all are familiar with Earwigs. This is a chewing pest which can do considerable damage to flower structure and some seedlings. Also a passenger pest with exports. Sap sucking pest are very common in the industry. Some of these verities get reproduced with in three days and spread all over very fast. They are very harmful and need lots of efforts to control them. While doing monitoring all these, we need to dedicate our time  for better results. Road side, Wind direction, Dusty area, Sunlight, Moisture, thick canopy and weeds are major considerable points.

Scale

Scale

Aphids are also sapsucking pests. They are very common destructive pests. Breed very quickly,

Mealy bug

Mealy bug

when they get plenty of food. Their next generation can be every week. They have very highly eveolved life cycle. Aphids have two dispersal during a year. (Spring and Autumn)Wingless Adults are parthenogenetic and they can produce males and therefore eggs in unfavourable period.  Control measures such as Parasitic Wasps, predators like Lacewings, Ladybirds and Praying Mantis are important. Keeping an ecological balance will help to prevent these pests.

Environmentally  friendly insecticides are very useful and help us maintain these ecological/ biological balances.  Use of natural Pyrethrum, Neem Oil and Garlic are common and affordable.  We have to be very careful while using chemical controls against these Aphids. Marvik or other such chemical will kill all good guys also. Aphicides can  be useful for Aphids attack.  Phylloxera is also a sapsucking

Thrips

Thrips

pest. It lives in soils. It can cause severe root damages in grapevines. Useful control methods like Cultural methods, frequent irrigation, weed control, hygiene, insecticides and plant resistances are very important. Chemical control is cost bounded and give limited success. Enzone, a new soil fumigant is little effective.

May thrips are common in horticulture industry. Clover thrips, Gladiolus thrips, Western flower trips and New Zealand Flower thrips are popular in these. They lay eggs under the surface of leaves and skin of the fruit. Thrips are very small in size. They can be transported through wind also. Oil sprays will be a effective control method.  Yellow Plate / stick board method are useful for monitor all these thrips.

Whitefly

Whitefly

Mealy Bug – another sapsucking pest common in some parts of New Zealand. Wash off like using more water  with chemicals are a successful control method. At least 3000 litter @ hector spray will help to control the mealy bug. Cultural methods, biological controls and predators are  also successful control measures. Scale is an another sapsucking pest. San jose and oyster shell scale are most common in New Zealand horticulture industry. Use of similar control measures for mealy bug is effective.

Shield bugs or vegetable bugs are also common in the New Zealand Horticulture Industry. Whitefly is also an another major  pests. They are very difficult to control with insecticides. Natural predatory wasps are one of the best control method. Whitefly is very common in Glass Houses. Another small scale like pests which limbed in to leaves, causing a blister like appearance is called Psillids. They are very common on Pittosporum. Wasps and bees are also should be monitored and controlled.  

Twospotted Mite

Twospotted Mite

Mites – they are not insects. Very small, eight legs, needle like mouth part and one visible

Nematodes

Nematodes

body part. They don’t have antenna or wings. Mites are sapsuckers. Spider mites are most common in horticulture industry. Two spotted mite, European red mite and clover mite are generally found. Integrated Mite Control (IMC) has been developed for control of mites. Nematodes are another common pest in the industry. Root knot nematodes produce small galls on the roots. Leaf nematodes cause distortion and deep patches on the leaves. They can transmit viruses.

After the first smoko, we have presented our field visit findings in its brief. During afternoon classes, some people were feeling little sleepy with pests and diseases.  Overall it was a great bundle of knowledge about pests and diseases in the horticulture industry.

Wednesday, 13th May – Tutorial

Sun was tired and  sleeping in the morning.  We cannot sleep late morning, because as a Horticulture student we have to study a lot. Wednesday is the only day to get little relax from the side effects of pest and disease control. Jo greeted everybody as usual.

We all were working with unit 1670, plants – collection, filling up data on the specimen sheets. Most of them were in the computer library to search and collect data. Few were working in the liabriary. Some others went to field to collect more samples. Some others were working with their Weblog (Blog). It was noticeable that most of us forgot to going for smoko. Some of us really achived the skill of searching data on the internet.

At computer lab, there were some serious problem in the Novell server. It was going on from last couple of weeks and become serious today. All the computers were unusually slow hanged it some times.  Many times it required the restarting. Some of us were really felling sleepy. Later on  we got some little relief from this major problem by the help of IT people.

Sun wake up at 11.00 AM. We all have completed a great part of the specimen data at the end of the day. There is only one more week to submit this assignment.

Thursday, 14th May – Nursery + Propagation

Peonies

Peonies

Sun was shy in the morning because he has waken up late on yesterday. We reached to poly two minutes before. There was a some pending tasks waiting for us. Working with Peonies. Jo has given a brief  introduction  of these lovely peonies. They are popular for the gardeners in Canterbury and Central Otago. These peonies do flowering  spring ( September –October). We have carefully lifted  some peonies with the help of Forks. Washed off all the soil and weeds. Dressed them properly  to clear all damages and disease affected portions. These peonies need good sunlight. We found disease on some plants which are growing on the shady area Divided them in to  small sizes and  replanted carefully in 6 ltr pots and filled with potting mix(eyes 2-3 centimetre under surface)  and firmed well.  Send them to Glass House -4 for growing. Peonies always need full Sunlight.

After the smoko, we have  done some weeding off in the Peonies division and help them to grow well.

Some facts about Peonies:-

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Lifted them for Replanting

Peonies are hardy flowering plants that need little care and live through severe winters. After becoming established in a garden, Peonies bloom each spring for many years. Peonies are also extensively grown as ornamental plants for their very large, often scented cut flowers. Peonies have been cultivated in China for more than 2,000 years, not only for the beautiful flowers but for also for the roots, which were used for food and medicine. The herbaceous Peonies have been cultivated in home gardens for over 600 years. Clumps of Peonies may survive for as long as 50 years, and they are reasonably free from maintenance problems.  Since ancient times, Peonies have been regarded as the symbol of wealth, luck and happiness. Peonies always represent elegance and poise.  The Roman legions first brought Peonies to England in about year 1200. Peonies were described in botanical books as early as

Ben dividing them

Ben -Action + Cut

1636. Peonies (along with the Plum Blossoms) are the traditional floral symbols of China, where it is called Mudan. In 1903, the Qing Dynasty declared the Peony as the national flower of China. If grown in the sun, leaves of Peonies turn from green to burgundy in just one week. Planted among fall-flowering perennials such as Echinacea purpurea (the purple cone flower) and Eupatorum purpureum, Peonies come into their own color once again! The Japanese name for the Peony, Ebisugusuri means medicine from China. In traditional folk medicine, Peony root was used as a treatment for menstrual cramps, asthma and convulsions. Peonies’ exquisite, large blossoms, often fragrant, make excellent cut flowers and the foliage provides a background for annuals or other perennials.

 

Eyes - Ready to grow

Eyes - Ready to grow

After the lunch we worked with Nursery. Myself was engaged with making a cubit meter standard potting mix. Others re-potted some plants like Kowai and Pittosporum. Earlier they were in small pots and we planted them on 6 ltr pots for better growth. While replanting them, always make sure that scooped top with 1 c.m of potting mix. Weeds off them before planting in to new pots. We re-poted some ‘Bearded Irises’. Weeded off and cleared old leaves of them before replanted.

 

 

 

 

Friday, 15th May – Maintain Hand Tools & Service Small Engines

 

Engine works

Engine works

Welcome to Bannokburn Campus. We are here on Friday. Looking ahead a favourable weather for this day. We have to do lot of outdoor activities today. “Checking and Servicing Small Engines” displayed in the Smart Board. Trevor was waiting for us to start his crazy driving…. He introduced us the small engines. Some of them were familiar to us. Hedge trimmers, Motomowers, Line trimmers, Chainsaws, Motorised Sprayers,  Generators, Small Pumps and other small machines.  Most of these machines require servicing and maintenance with some specific requirements.

There are some major difference between 2 stroke and 4 stroke motors which  needed to be identified and considered  in maintenance. But, most small engines are fairly similar their maintenance requirements. Most of these mall engines like Chainsaws and Line trimmers having Two stroke engines.  He has explained well about the difference between two stroke engines and four stroke engines. The biggest difference between these two engine types are The spark plug fires ones every revolution  in a two stroke engine. Fuel and air in the cylinder have been compressed and when the spark plug fires the mixture ignites. In the two stroke engines, on the other hand, the crankcase is serving a pressurisation chamber to force air + fuel in to the cylinder. So it cannot hold a thick oil. We should mix oil in with petrol(fuel) to lubricate the crankshaft, connecting road and cylinder walls. If you forget to mix in the oil, the engine will not going last very long. Two stroke engines are powerful and can work with any conditions. But they are very poor in fuel efficiency  and emission will cause lot of pollution.

4-Stroke Engines

4-Stroke Engines

 We all are familiar with four stroke engines. They are very common in cars, trucks and two-stroke-engineother vehicles including generators. They are relatively efficient, inexpensive and easy to refuel. They works in four stroke such as Intake stroke, Compression Stroke, Combustion Stroke and Exhaust Stroke. Less formally, the four strokes are sometimes called “Suck”, “Squeeze”, “Bang”, “Puff”. The Combustion chamber is the area where compression and combustion take place. As the piston moves up and down, you can see the size of the combustion chamber changes. It has some maximum  and minimum volume. The difference between the maximum and minimum is called the displacement and is measured in litters or Cubic Centimetres (CC), where 1000 cubic centimetres equals a litre. This is the technical side of measuring the engine capacity in CC.

Some problems  like bad fuel mix, lack of compression, lack of spark, dead battery and such issues  can make these engines stop working. Always check the manufactures recommendations  for most of the technical corrections. Oil: fuel ratio, Oil and fuel levels, Air filters, spark plug and cooling system etc are important.   Diesel engines intake a mixture of diesel and air and compress it and ignites the mixture with spark. The heat of the compressed air lights the fuel. Note that the diesel engine has no spark plug. Pump is and important part for all diesel engines. Fuel Pump injects this mixture of fuel and air to the chamber. This allows diesel engines to start no matter if it is dry or rainy and wet.

Small Engine

Small Engine

 

We have got enough time to play with all small engines. It was great day for some people to understand and identify some important parts of the engines. Open and cleaned the spark plug, oil filters and air filters. Check and correct the oil and fuel levels. Dismantled one old engine and displayed it for demo. All of us got a chance to see the technical side of an engine – how the piston comes up in the cylinder, how exhaust works etc.

Term-II, Week-2, (04-08 May)

Sunday, 03rd May – Lunch with International Student Adviser.

 

Lunch with Yvonne
Lunch with Yvonne

Finally that day came. As decided before, Otago Polytechnic student adviser for International Students, Yvonne Fogarty and her colleague Rosie have visited us on Sunday, 12.00 PM. It was a special visit for all of us. Purpose of that visit was to discuss the reality of adjusting to living in New Zealand.

Trevor came with them to our place and then we all went for  lunch. It was a chance to taste some Kiwi dishes. It was tasty and yummy. After the lunch we all went back to Polytechnic.

Kelvin, an alumni of this polytechnic was also with us. He has explained all about during his study period, initial workplaces and even the present living standard and level. It was really a great moment to understand some facts about our course.

We all sat together, discussed and clarified many issues related to International students. Everybody got chances to dscf0735express their concerns, future plans and ideas. Rosie has explained her experiences, when she came to New Zealand as a student and where she is  these days. It is really an encouragement to all of us to focus on life and carrier pathways.

Trevor was with us till the end of the day. Around 4.00 PM, we made a conclusion for the meeting and went back. Yvonne and Rosie have assured us that, they will go through the points we raised and work towards a positive out come. We are really grateful to Yvonne and Rosie for making the   efforts to help us.

Monday, 04th May …… Shelter……………….

Poplar trees
Poplar trees

After two weeks holidays, we all are back to class. As usual, we found today’s topic displayed on the Smart Board. “Establish and Maintain Shelter” “Unit 44”. Jo welcomed everybody. With a brief of today’s topic, she started the class. It was all about the shelter. Shelter for Plants, shelter for Animals and shelter for man.  In horticulture industry, shelter is an important factor. This shelter belt prevents  plants from wind & frost damages. Wind damages are mainly two, Direct and indirect.

Direct or physical damages are like, making holes in the leaves , scatter the leaves and will cause the reduction in photosynthesis.  During the pollination time, wind  causes poor fertilisation and other pollination problems. Wind can cause major problems to fruit development and its growth.

Wind causes indirect damages like decreases air, soil and plant temperatures, Increase transpiration, increase soil evaporation, retard bud growth  in spring and these all will affect  the plant’s growth.  Wind restrict or minimise the bee activity specially on pollination and wind restricts  pollen tube growth.  Wind can damage  irrigation systems and make difficult  working conditions.

Shelters can prevent all these physical damages, increase temperature in crop area, reduce moisture loss, improve pollination, reduce spray and sprinkler problems and improve the sustainability of the farm land. 

Shelter have many disadvantages also. High humidity  for crops, low air movements, shelter plant may compete for fertilizers with plants, attract pest and diseases, prevent sunlight, hideouts of birds, damage the drain, pipeline systems and huge amount initial and maintenance costs.

Shelters are mainly two, artificial and living shelters. Artificial shelters are like netting, covering etc.. living shelters are mainly planting shelter trees or plants. These trees may be deciduous or  evergreen.  It will be planted like one row or two rows. Artificial shelter are very easy and instant. It will not attract any pests or diseases. but some times it may harmful for environment and bear huge cost.  But living shelters required more planning in advance, selection of trees, design of the shelter and control of pest and diseases. 

For Living shelter, planning is always an important factor. Height, porosity and shading. Tall shelter works well. Distance of protected zone is directly proportional to windbreak height.  Shelter belts have two side named Wind ward side and Lee ward side.  Wind speed increase at end of the shelter, through the gaps (funnel) and at base of bare trees.

Wind break height  – 10 X H (Height) = Sheltered distance.

Wind break length –  Length should be a minimum of X 12 Height.

Tree Under power line
Tree Under power line

While planting the Shelter trees, think about Frost drainage, local legalities, power lines and irrigation lines. Central Otago has its own district plan for all these.  

Before the lunch, Jo divided us  to small groups and assigned some Shelter tree species to present  its description, how tall, nature of plant, advantages, disadvantages and cost.

Cindy, Sijo and myself were allotted to workout for Salix (willow) species. Salix matsudana and Salix Tangoio are two verities we have chosen for presentation. During lunch time, Cindy put her efforts to collect some branches of these two from near the lake. In the afternoon, Cindy presented all  these relevant information in an artistic form. Thanks to Cindy and Sijo for their great efforts. I helped them  with retrieving data from the internet. Other groups have presented the fact sheets of Alnus spp., Populas spp., Eucalyptus spp. and Cupressaceae spp.  

Today’s class is ended with lot of new information of shelter  methods.

 Tuesday, 05 May – Pests, diseases and disorders…..

 Tuesday, the day for Pests, diseases and disorders  in horticulture industry. Ones you a horticulturist, plants / trees  will become our body parts and we always have to extra cautious about the pests and diseases. Prevention is better than cure- idiom is relevant here. Pest or disease can attack the plant at any time. Signs and symptoms will be vary and understand all these and important  here.

 As usual, Wayne King was ready to start his class on time. He is like a “Time and Tide”, wait for none. Started his classes with some slides showing different kind of Pests, diseases and disorders mostly occurs in vineyards and orchards.  He has explained all about different kind of attacks like Codling moth, green looper caterpillar, Leaf roller caterpillar, Mealy bug, Garden snails, Stem borer, Balck spot, Bitter pit, Bloosm end rot, Botrytis, Brown rot, Crinkle virus, Downy mildew, Leaf pull, Leaf roller virus, European cranker virus, Powdery mildew, White fly, Phytophthora, Silver leaf virus, Mosaic virus and Tulip virus.

 Copper and sulphur are   mostly using  as basic for all chemicals. Bordo Mixture is very famous in the industry. Bordeaux mix is a mixture of Copper Sulphate (CuSO4) and Hydrated Lime (Ca(OH)2, Calcium Hydroxide) it was used as an agricultural antifungal and antibacterial agent. Originally used in 1885 in Bordeaux, France for the prevention of Black Rot on grapes and leaf spot and apple scab on fruit trees. Used as both a spray in the orchard and as a seed treatment. Its widespread usage continued until the early 1930’s.

Trap
Pheromone Trap

 After the Tea break, topics coverd with different kind of moths like Codling moth,  Brownheaded Moth, Brownheaded Leafroller and Light Brown Apple Moth, its life cycles, monitoring systems and control methods. It was very interesting that the use of Pheromone trap for Coddling Moth. These Pheromone traps provide the best form of identification to enable  correct timing of control measures.

 Different control methods like Monitor the canopy for them regularly, Insectidies applied to

Spined soldier bug
Spined soldier bug

meet with the result from monitoring, Organic and conventional methods and biological  controls. While talking about the biological control methods, he explained the diagrammatic life cycle of predatory wasp. Eg:, Spined soldier bug is a Podisus maculiventris, a predatory and beneficial stink bug.

 After the lunch, we all seated in the Van towards Bannockburn campus  to practically find some moths, funguses and disease affects the Apple trees. We got chances to find few eggs of Codling moth. Some other trees, their was some immature fruits with fungus. After that we all went to Jackson’s orchard to find more  pest and diseases. It was a wonderful experience to find some powdery mildew and some moth with eggs. Meanwhile we found some Mosaic virus in leaves.  It all was not major cases and nothing to worried about this. Thus the day ended with a fruitful field visit.  Overall it was something to understand that pests and diseases management is an important thing while managing a vineyard or orchard.

 Wednesday, 06th May. Tutorial..

 Wednesday is always a day for tutorials. As usual, Jo prepared some agenda of the day before the class starts and displayed on that same in the smart board. She commented about everybody’s blogs. It was a great appreciation for all of us. After that she designate us to complete our major tasks like, plant collection, completion of plant specimen sheets, pending blogs etc… I was caught up with plant collection and completion of the specimen sheets. In the morning itself, I went to take photographs of some plants. After the morning smoko, I was engaged with specimen sheet preparation till end of the day. Jo was helping some of us to complete their blogs and searching data for specimen sheets, from the internet.

Thursday, 07th May. Nursery….

Hydroponic

Hydroponic

Always I say that, Thursdays are our nursery days. Morning was so cold and  rainy. Sun disappointed with cold and disappeared. May be he was shy with snows’ beauty. Jo told us that, for a little relief from the cold, during the first session, we all will be in the Hydroponic   and Glass House to perform some major task and later in the second half session, work with  nursery. In Hydroponic, we were working with Cutting all the dead and old leaves, Sweeping the area, leak checking , clean the Gullies, check and correct the water flow, tie up the peas and many more major tasks. It was very nice to work with Spinach, lettuce, Spring Onion, broccoli and mint.  Some of us collected  lot of spring onion and spinach  for dinner. After that we turned to Nursery. Pulled some trays from Glass House -4, which were kept for hardening off. Very gently pull out these plants from the tray. It was really interesting to see the new roots coming up from all these cuttings. Then putted them on 2 ltr round tubes (pots) and filled with potting mix firmed well. After that send all them back to GH-4 for grow there. Then we all worked with some new items called GOLs (Growing On Lines. It was some special verity plants. We have pulled that plant out  from the tubes, potting mix off from the  top, planted gently on the new pots, put new potting mix and firmed well.  There were some  major point we noted during these time  like fill the potting mix up to top of pots while planting, tight/firm well to avoid air holes in the

Stella Bella

Stella Bella

pot, weeding off the plants which we take out from the 1.3 ltr tubes (pots) through removing the top part of the potting mix etc…. we all worked with different plants like Corokia cotoneaster, Phormium  ‘jester’, Phormium cookianum ‘Purpurea’, Hemerocallis ‘Stella Bella’, Cortaderia richdrdil  (Toi-toi).

Opossum

Opossum

After completion of these works we all went back to Hydroponic unserstand some technical sides of it. Trevor and Jo  explained many technical sides  like how the Hydroponic works, About Nutrafeeds A & B, CF value, and oxygen, acid etc….. I am still not clear about the technical sides and going to do more study on it… Hope that these people will help me in this….. Thanks for Trevor and Jo….

 

Friday, 08th May, Tools and Maintenance…

Tools ??????

Tools ??????

After  many Fridays, we went to Bannockburn Road campus on morning. Day’s topic was about different tools which are commonly using in the Horticulture industry and its maintenance. Trevor was ready with slides, notes and tools to start the action.  Unit-4, Maintain Hand Tools and Service Small Engines.

 We have covered in this topic, tools like Round Point Shovel, Square Point Shovel / spades, Irrigation Shovel, Transplanting Spade, Scoop Shovel, D-handle shovel, Barn fork, Spading fork, Garden hoe, Scuffle hoe, Weeding hoe, Cultivator, Bow rake, Level head rake, Lawn rake, Pruning Shear (Pruners) Pruning Saw, Hedge shear, Trowel, Cultivator, Weeders and Pick and mattock.

 Care and maintenance of tools are important. Wooden handles may loose their resilience and crack more easily if they  become dry. After using these tools, check them for breakages and store them neatly. Preserve wooden handles by wiping them over with a vegetable oil such as linseed oil. This can prevent them drying and crack the handles. For  changing the handles, remove the rivet /screw/ nail and take the handle out, clean the area for any rust / mud, fit the new handle tightly.

 While learning about sharpening these tools, we have got familiarised with  Grinders, Oilstones and fillings. Always be cautious while working with Grinders…… Protect your eyes with safety glasses and use ear muffs to protect the ears.  For sharpening the keen edged tools like pruners, knives and secateurs, rub or whet them on a oilstone. Use light oil (50/50 kerosene and motor oil) in the oilstone to float off the small cuttings of steel and prevent the surface from become clogged with dirt. Filling will help to sharpen the  spades, shovels, hoes and other such tools.

 In the afternoon, we all were busy with sharpening tools like pruners, shovels, hoes and knives… It was really wonderful experience with the practical side of these works.  Hope that it was useful for all of us.

 After the class, we all with Trevor went to Molyneux Orchard to  complete the formalities to start working with them on weekends.

Friday Night,,,,,,,,,,,,,  Party Night,,,,,,,,,,,, Harvest Part at Akarua Vineyard……..

 

From Harvest Party

From Harvest Party

When I reached,  their was absolute silence at our place. Specially in the Kitchen. All of them were hurry to get ready for the party going. Special  bath, nourishing odour of Soaps, deodorants and sprays…….. Polished shoes, wrinkle free shirts and trousers. Some people were not even ready to wear the winter cloths, because it may hide their party wear………..

 We all reached the Bannockburn coronation hall at 7.00 PM. No lights in the outside of the hall. Only candle light makes visibility inside the hall. Some unknown figures were roming around and welcomed us. Familiar sound and horrible figures……. …. Inside the hall, one corner-, their was a small garden of remembrance……. Some people are in RIP …… Some of them are”Poor” and some others are “Loving”……

 Within few minutes, all of the guests arrived… party has officially started….. still some more unknown, horror figures

Harvest party

Harvest party

arrived and talking to us. Later on we came to know that is “ROCKY HORROR SHOW”…………. Amazing…………

 Some of the people from Akarua, specially Gillian, Martin, Grant, Mark, Jack, Dial, Linda were excellent in their costumes….. Martin’s costumes was really amazing.

 Soft drinks, beer, wine and whisky… were  available for drink….. Most of the people tasted the Akarua Wines here…….. Buffet was ready and most of the dishes were cold and no / less spicy….. Different experience……. yummy kiwi dishes………….

 DJ was their…. But no permanent DJ to perform the task… some of us played the roll…. Dance started…… music become louder and louder…… Some of the people started with action by hands and later partly involved and then fully involved in the dance…. Great fun…… great food…….. great experiences………… Great harvest party……..  Party ended at 2.00 AM and all of us safely returned home….. Thanks God……..

Harvest Party

Harvest Party

Harvest party

Harvest party

 

 

 

 

 

 

  We had weekend  work with Molyneux on Saturday and Sunday. It was areal practical experience to perform some task totally related to pruning, in their orchard.  Hope that we will get more work there on all weekends.

Welcoming the Winter

Welcoming the Winter

Term-II, Week -1 (27April to 01 May)

 

 Monday, 27th April – Botany review, Individual Progress Interviews (Confession Day)

 After two weeks holidays and holiday works, all of us were happy to return to the polytechnic. We were sure that no more classes on this day. Most of us were busy with Botany Assignments. Today was the last day for submission. Jo welcomed everyone with “Good Morning”.  Enquired all about holiday works.  Some grape bunches – Two colours in one bunch- were avilable in her table from Akarua. She explained that the possibilites of these specility. After that  she has explained about today’s programes.  Individual Progress Interview was the day’s major task. Prescribed time schedule for all of us and it was for 10-15 minutes long. It was a recap and update for last ten weeks study. Status of Blogs’ update, completion of Botany Assignments and Progress of unit 1670, Plant  collection and its specimen sheets. I had alreday uptodated  my blogs  in the morning time. Botany Assignments were also almost completed. Plant collection progress was progressing and explanined the same. She enquired about holiday work  experiances and discussed some other common issues  like, more interaction programmes, site visites, cultural programmes etc.  Before going for this short meeting, I was joking it as a Confession. When we were in school, every first Friday of the month, their was  confession before the Holy Mass for students.

Trevor was with us from morning  and we got a great interaction time  to discuss some work place findings, week end works, personnel issues may happen while bringing our family before getting PR, School Fees, education and medical expencess etc. Everybody was concerned about their comming years survival.  After  the class time, some of us were engaged to complete the blogs and  Botany Assignments.

 Tuesday, 28th April – Pests, Diseases and Disorders.

 It was rainy in the morning. Before reaching the class, someone was telling that, Mr. Wayne King will be in the class before time.  When we reached the class room, it was absolutely right. He was ready with his cookery book having full of ingredients for Pest, diseases and disorders preparations. During the introducation and between topics many time he reminded that, he will provide only the receipy and rest  is with us. I can say that, he is an excellent book ( Published, but not available in the library and market) for all kind of Pests, disesase and disorders. His soup recipe was an amazing expample for his teaching technics. A well prepared two page details of  his classes on Day one to Day eleven. day one covers Introdcution includes overview of next eleven teaching days, dates and units coverd including assignments, (2) History of pest and  diseases management including where we have come from and where we are going., (3) Run through PPt slides, (4) Start on unit 21557, explain assessment requirments.

Pest

Pest

While covering the topics, it pointed details like soft chemicals, Different  pests, differnt

IPM

IPM

kind of diseases and disorders. If I am right, he might have carrying some pestisides with him. Becouses, half an hour the classes start,  most of us  become unconcious. some of us  were realy struggling to keep their open  eyes. A sleep with out snoring. Sorry, a nap only.  Break times arrived early. Thanks for his support.  During the continuation of topics, we have coverd the details of Life cycles Insects, Complete Metamorphosis – Eggs, Larvae,  Pupa and adults-, importance of identifing the insect and pests and different types of control methods.  Control methods are (a) Cultural Control, (b) Plant Resistance, (c) Biological Control, (d) Plat and Animal Quarantine, (e) Mechanical Control, (f) Physical Control, (g) Chemical Control, (h) Integrated Pest management (IPM).  With some assessments  and recap of the classes, the day ended.

If anyone  wants to sleep in class rooms, practice these.

The “I’m taking notes method”:   Place some paper or notes, preferably with some writing on them, on the table. Place your left elbow on the table and rest the corner of your forehead on the heel of your left palm. Face your head downwards so that you are looking at the edge of your desk. Hold a pen in your right hand to the paper in front of you, as though you were writing something. Also, you can adjust your seat so that you tilt your head and body away from the teacher as much as possible. Switch hands where necessary so that the arm you’re resting on shields you from the teacher.

The long hair no-fail method:  If your teacher stands in one place, and you have excessively long bangs, put them in front of your face about a few minutes before you decide to sleep. Then, fold your arms on your desk and rest your chin on your arms so your face is facing the teacher.  Sweet dreams.

 

Wednesday, 29th April – Plant Collection and preapartion of  specimen sheets

saffron

saffron

Rainy morning and we all reached the class room on time. As anounced before, all of us  were  ready to visit Megan to see saffron. We all and frineds from cookey classes also went to see the saffron. It was realy a wonderful and worthy trip for us.  Megan was waiting for our arrival. Triver and Jo were with us. Jo has introduced us to her and then she started to explain all about saffron. I dont know what i will call her enthusiasm. This is the real passion. A well dedicated lady with saffrons. We all had many questions in mind about saffrons. But their was no need to ask all that. She was talking everything like from a printed book.  Saffron is a spice derived from the dried stigma of the flower  of the saffron crocus. Just imagine that howmay flowers required for one gram of saffron?. Stigams from around 150 flowers are required for one gram saffron.   Most of the flowers with four or

Saffron- Red Gold

Saffron- Red Gold

five stigmas. The ones with four stigmas are ‘princesses’, the ones with five are ‘queens’ and the ones with six are called ’empresses’.  One gram of  good quality  saffron may cost you  around NZ$-20 in the market. It means NZ$-20,000 for one kilogram saffron. Real GOLD. 

 

Botanical name of Saffron = Crocus salivus  Click and select the line up to here

For One Kilogram saffron, Stigmas of  1,15,000 flowers are required CClick and select the line up to here.

Saffron History  According to Greek mythology, handsome mortal Crocos fell in love with the beautiful nymph Smilax. But alas, his favors were rebuffed by Smilax, and he was turned into a beautiful purple crocus flower. The word saffron derives from the Arab word zafaran, meaning yellow, and it was mentioned as far back as 1500 b.c. in many classical writings, as well as in the Bible. Further derivations come from the Old French safran, Medieval Latin safranum, and Middle English safroun. Saffron is harvested from the fall-flowering plant Crocus sativus,a member of the Iris family. It is native to Asia Minor, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years to be used in medicines, perfumes, dyes, and as a wonderful flavoring for foods and beverages. The red-gold threads were also highly prized by pharoahs and kings as an aphrodisiac, yet large amounts produce deathly narcotic effects. Saffron has been used medicinally to reduce fevers, cramps and enlarged livers, and to calm nerves. It has also been used externally to for bruises, rheumatism, and neuralgia. (Warning! Do not use medicinally without consulting your physician.)

CHICKEN BIRYANI with SAFFRON ( 4 Servings) Prep Time: 20 minutes,  Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, quartered
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 green serrano (medium-hot) chile, seeded and chopped
  • 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea-salt flakes
  • 2 onions
  • 6 Tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1-1/4 cups basmati rice
  • 20 green cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, blanched and skinned
  • 1/2 cup dried mango pieces, raisins or sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon saffron powder or 2 pinches saffron threads, crushed
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Preparation: Place chicken, stock, chile, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a large, heavy saucepan or flameproof casserole. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until fairly tender. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Pour cooking liquid into a measuring cup and add water if necessary to make 2-1/2 cups. Quarter onions, then separate into petal-like layers. Add ghee to saucepan and heat until melted. Add onion and fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a small plate. Add rice, cardamom pods, and cloves to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes or until rice is browned slightly. Return chicken to pan; add almonds, pistachios, mango, coriander, cumin, and garlic. Sprinkle saffron

into mixture and cook 2 minutes. Return stock and onions to pan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, undisturbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Rice should be tender and the liquid completely absorbed. Sprinkle cilantro on top. Note: Though it is usual to remove the skin when cooking chicken in the Indian way, if you leave it on, the flavor will be richer and even more delicious.

 Thursday, 30 th April – Propogation – Nursery 

Apple - Click the image to watch Video

Apple - Click the image to watch Video

Still in Nursery, especially on Thursday. Before the classes starts that, Jo informed us that some of the people are going to do a promotional video of Otago Polytechnic.  It was one small clip (less than nine minute) for upload in the “YOUTUBE”    about Cromwell polytechnic,  different courses, Polytechnic nursery, Appletrees, plucking Apple and other many activites. We all participated in that media enrollment programme. During morning, while working with nursery, we went to Green House to monitor the propagation developments. Germination of some weed were going on and it was ready for Harden off and pricking out. Seeds Eucalyptus sp. were ready for pricking out. Some of us taken out the trays from green house and separated each small plants carefully and put it in small containers. All these containers are filled with potting mix. After that they all send to Glass House -4 for better growth. It was very sad to see that all that Red Robins (photinia) we propogated by cuttings,  couple of weeks before were deadly damaged.  Most of the soft wood cuttings and half of the semi hard wood cuttings were damged. But the hard wood cuttings (Done by me) were  still stable and some developments are happening in that. Update of these will be available soon.

 

Snow Cloud

Snow Cloud

snow-cloud-2

Snow Cloud Pink

Afternoon we all working with propogation of different kind of  semi hardwoodand herbaceous plants.  I was working with  Centranthus ruber  ‘Snow Cloud’. It is a herbaceous plant and having verities of three different colors of flower. White, red and pink. This is our first experiment to propagate this plant from cuttings. Most propagation is done by seeds.  Hope that things will work. Result will be announced after a month. Recipe will be published only, if the output is  positive. Others were working with some other semi hardwood plants. i realy love the plant named Cytisus alba ‘Broom’.

 This day we were working with herbaceous plants named Phlox oakington ‘Blue Eyes’ and Centranthus ruber ‘Snow Cloud’. Semi hard wood plants named Atriplex halimus, Cytisus alba, Salvia officinalis and Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’. Seeds named Eucalyptus sp.

 

Apple

Apple

 

Apple

Apple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 01st May – Grape Picking:

As decided before, we all were with Akarua for grape picking. Today was Akarua’s last harvest day in this season. Temperature was nearly freezing level and somehow managed the first couple of hours.  Warm up with Sun and were in action till 4.30 PM. End of the day Gillian and Martin invited all of us for the harvest party. It will be held on 08th May and hope that we all will participate in that.  Expecting a great weekend…..