Archive for June, 2009

Term-II, Week-9 (22nd – 26th June)

Monday, 22nd June: Assignment catch up

Winter looks
Winter looks

One more cold day in this winter. A day for work with the assignment ‘Pest, Diseases and Disorders’. Most of us were sitting with books in the library and completing the assignments. I was in the computer room to do my assignments. As announced before, we went to Bannockburn campus in the afternoon to learn some basic lesson of ‘Grape Pruning’. Raywan has explained some points of grape pruning just for our holiday work. We are going to do some pruning works during our two weeks holiday on the second and third week of July. Trevor was also with us to explain the things and later on he has taken us to an Agricultural material store in the Town for buy some stuffs which are necessary for during the pruning works. Later on we came back to Polytechnic and working with Assignments up the late evening.

Tuesday, 23rd June: Organic Certification

It was freezing in the morning. As usual, I was walking to polytechnic and a snow kind of (not real snow) white flakes were falling down. It has spread everywhere – Road, trees, vehicles and even in my Jacket and cap.

Today is the second day for the topic ‘ Obtaining and maintaining organic certification’. Wayne King started the class with points like need for standards which are from the certifiers. These standards give surety to consumers. They ensure standardization and consistency and stands as a gateway to enter in to the market. These standards are stands as a rules for growers as their ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts. Each certifying agency has their own guidelines and most cases they all are similar for all the agencies. Certification process is a long task. It will take minimum three years to get certified as a ‘fully organic’. The terminology is C0 – is the registration year, C1- is Certified in conversion first year, C2 – is Certified in conversion second year and later become a fully organic certified.  Prepare a property management plan is the first step to do the registration process. It includes all the information regarding the growing on your property including a plan and the practises, fertility management, pest and diseases management and the details of parallel production. During this long process, we have to undergo the Audit process every year. Fees for these should be paid in advance. Issues found at audits are ranked according to their severity. These are listed as minor and major corrective action

Meeting with NZHITO
Meeting with NZHITO

requests. Major CAR’s can result in the suspension or withdrawal of the certification. But minor CARs are not to harmful. We have covered the points like What kind of information in the standards, Permitted products, Restricted products, Not permitted products, Restricted products application, factors affecting certification, neighbouring non  organic activity, contamination from non organic product or plant materials, use of cell transplant materials from a non certified source, operation of property, product and records. The owners knowledge or performance, External influence such as neighbours and roads, past uses, current use and risk assessments are also important for the organic certification process.  Couple of days before, there was an announcement from Trevor that Grant Ingles from NZHITO and Chris Lucas  from NZFRIEND will be here to sit with us to discuss some concerns regarding the immigration and related formalities which are very necessary to continue our stay in New Zealand. They were arrived before time and meeting started at 12.00 PM and continued up to 2.00 PM. We have got a wonderful opportunity to discuss and clear the worried issues with them. Thanks for Grant and Chris to spend time with us. Great support from polytechnic part is also highly appreciated.

Wednesday, 24th June: Field Trip – Queenstown

Lake Hayes Estate
Lake Hayes Estate

Hi, hi, hi……… Today we are going for a field trip to Queenstown………. Weather is in favour of us… Good, clear and sunny day…… temperature was below 0 and  chilled air was around. The trip was mainly focused to see and understand the different landscaping techniques used in the newly developed residential areas in an around Queenstown. First we visited Lake Hayes Estate, a very new and small residential area near Queenstown. It was very interesting that, all that houses have no chimney for using the wood burner. This place is located below the road and valley is surrounded by mountains. All the houses, external structure is almost same kind and some of them are separated by fencing – used by plants, wood or stones. Some house do not have any fencing around and it looks good. But it is bothering on the basis of security and privacy. Sometimes it may leads an argument with neighbour

Watch Bunchy Jumping video here..

regarding the boundaries.  It is too dangerous for kids that they may run out to the road with out any hurdles. They can plant some evergreen  or ornamental trees with less canopy  in between road and pavement and some verities which are mainly bush and Hebes to make a hurdle in front of their house. Use some other verities to make fence around the house. For park and other public places, they should use some excellent ornamental trees to make  more attraction. Later we have visited Quail rise. It is little old residential area and very few houses with lot of boundaries and gardens. They have planted some deciduous trees in between road and pavement. Very few evergreen trees are also noticed their. It is a quiet mixture of all the wanted and unwanted landscaping techniques we noticed their. Finally we visited Jack’s Point. Similar houses, similar style, few verities of plants planted in a systematic manner. But nothing colourful or attracted their… later we landed in the Queenstown Garden. Spend little time with ducks. Giant trees are very attractive. Then walked around the Lake Wakatipu. Had a heavy lunch from Indian Restaurant. Rejoined at 1.00 PM and returned to Cromwell. On the way Some of us have done some shopping. Later we went for (Free view) Bunchy Jumping. It was really amazing that guys and girls jumping from the old bridge to the water from around 150 meter. Unfortunately I did not have enough Dollar in the pocket to pay the charges their. I have decided that, definitely I will do Bunchy Jumping during my next visit. 

At the end of the day, it was a really an enjoyed trip. Lots of knowledge and fun.

Thursday, 25th June: Propagation – Nursery

During this winter, a cool day we are dedicating to Lily.  Lily flowers………  have an important culturally and in literature in much of the world. Jo has brought some packets of Lily bulbs (Lilium regale) from the market and detailed about in the morning. It was quite different and interesting the propagation of Lily. We moved to nursery to do the Lily scaling. Separated all the scales one by one,  mixed with wet Vermiculite,  kept in plastic bags with little breathing  and kept it in the GH-1 for roots developments.  After that, we have potted out some Lily verities who have planted by our previous batch students. They were mainly verities like Casablanca, Lilium regale and Golden Lily ex-poly. All these lilies planted on the polytechnic garden.  Lily needs lots of sun and shade. Lights on top and shade on bottom.  After that we have worked with Olive plants. Repoted some olive plants to 6 ltr pots. They were mainly verities like Olive frantioio, Olive leceino, Olive pendolino and Olive koroneki. Some of us were potted some Galtenia candicans and some others done some weeding in the nursery. Sreekumar, Jhonson, Sreenath, Saji and myself  have made one cubic meter potting mix and repoted most of the olives to big pots.

A  wonderful opportunity to work with Olives and Lilies.

Friday, 26th June: Pruning

One full day dedicated for pruning plum trees at Bannockburn campus. Wayne King was with us to guide and monitor all the activities. Most of were earning excellent practical skill in pruning summer fruit trees. Some guys have skipped from the real task and was roming around. It was a great day to understand and train the practical side of the pruning. Completed the day one hour before the normal time and headed to homes for get ready to go for the Queenstown Winter Fest-2009.

Queenstown Winter Fest
Queenstown Winter Fest

Bob, OPSA leader was waiting for us with a bus to take all to Queenstown. Bus departed from the campus at 3:45 PM. We have arrived their before the scheduled opening  of  programs. Opening ceremony started at with singing performance followed by verities of instrumental performance and live band. At 6.45 PM, Hon. Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr. John Key has officially announced the start of Queenstown Winter Fest-2009. Inaugural function ended with eye skimming fireworks.  I had a wonderful opportunity to handshake with Mr. John Key. We had a chat for couple of seconds. Great moments…… but I could not take the photograph of that. Temperature was above minus and crowd was moving around ignoring the cold. All  restaurants and other eating places were  fully occupied and the entire town was densely crowded up to 10PM.  We returned  home at 11.PM. It was a great fun time…..                                                                                                                                                                                         

Fireworks (Click image to watch Video)

All of us enjoyed well.  But fireworks were little disappointing…. Because our Thrissur Pooram is one of the famous cultural programmes and its fireworks are world famous. It longs a whole night fireworks……. ……



 We do not have weekend works on this Saturday and Sunday. Two days for complete all the pending works, specially assignments.  But No money for meeting coming week expenses. What to do…………………..???????????


Term-II, Week-8 (15th – 19th June)

Monday, 15th June : Soil-less media



Second day class of the topic, Soil-less media. After the day’s programme anouncment, Jo has handover a sheet of Cross-Words to everybody. It was totally related to the topic and simple. Callum has completed the Cross-word in least time.  Few others have also completed followed by him. It was a serious fun for study the things. After that, we have started assignments of the topic. It was nothing to much boring. Make the recipes of the Standard Potting Mix, Punnet Mix (Short Trem Potting Mix) and Mix for hydroponics. Calculate the cubic meter cost of each recipes including freight and GST. Completed and handover the assignments before the Lunch.


Compost Plant

Compost Plant

During the second half of the day, we visited a Worm casting farm in the Cromwell Industrial Area.  An enthusiastic and energetic person named  Robby  is running this Warm Casting Farm in the name of Central Wormworx Ltd. for last ten years. He uses all the damaged fruits, vegetables and other such materials in an around Cromwell  to produce the compost. According to Robby, there is a huge demand for compost and vermicast products in an around Central Otago region and people are fond with his products. He sells the products in small packets like 20 litters and even in big quantity.  Also runs a small organically controlled vegetable farm adjacent to his Worm Farm. It includes  some Apple trees, Cherry trees, Vegetable garden, Flower Garden and all inclusive. It was an interesting thing to see and understand all the related process for a worm casting unit. Thanks to Jo for arranging this trip.

 Tuesday, 16th June: Organic Certification

A great day for learn all the aspects of Organic Certification. Wayne King was the tutor for this  topic. He started the introduction with benafits of Obtaining and Maintaining Organic Certification. It is a vital part of being organic. This means to ensure you meet the fair trading act and the consumer guarantee act. But it is expensive and time consuming. It is one of the very powerful marketing tools for the products. Organic means evertything like tree, trunks, leaves, branches and soil. It required lots of dedication and time. Organic production all over the world is increasing 10-20% every year. As per the latest records, New Zealand is having around 100,000 hectors  area  for organic production. High demand of organically produced products and best market prices are the attracting factors for this growth.

We have to put lots of efforts  to become an Organically Certified production centre. IFOM, CODEX and EU are the main Certifiers around the glob. BIO-GRO, DEMETER and CERTENZ are the national level certifiers in New Zealand.

 Biogro                         CertenzOrganic





IFOAM – The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements is an agency to provide standards and authoritive information about organic agriculture and to promote its worldwide application. IFOAM accredit certifiers who can meet their standards. CODEX is an agency to provide standards for Food Safety and Production. EU – Europien Union  guidelines are some standards for organic production.

BIO-GRO NZ  is  NZ’s leading organic producers  organisation and organic certification agency.  It is a premier trademark for New Zealand organic products.

DEMETER is a world wide certification system used to verify to the consumer that food or product has been produced by biodynamic method. This was established in 1945 to promote Biodynamic methods.

CERTENZ is a part of AGRIQUALITY NZ, a government owned agency that certifies product including organic.

In the second half session, we were working with some assignments related to these Certification Agencies.

Wednesday, 17th June: Tutorial Day.

Jo has announced the day’s and coming programmes for next weeks.  There will be an exam on 01st July (Wednesday). It will be a theory exam and cover the topics like Pest, Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Plant Biology and Weather.  There will be a short term Grape Pruning session on  second half  of 22nd June (Monday).  Some of us sitting in the library to workout the Pest, Disease and Disorder Assignments. Some others working with their blogs to complete.

Thursady, 18th June: Propagation, Nursery

Fig 'Lesa'

Fig 'Lesa'

Today, one of the coldest day in this season and  temperature was nearly -5. But  not feeling much cold. Ice was all around. Jo and Trevor were waiting for us. They announced the day’s programme and we were just getting warm inside the class. We decided to do some more hardwood cuttings today. Trevor has already arranged some deciduous hardwood cuttings like Figs and Black currant from the Bannockburn campus. Nursery room pretty warm and we have worked with Black currant Ribes ‘Magnnus’, Fig ‘Lesa’ and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. We used three litter pots  filled with half sand and half potting mix, dipped in the rooting hormone – Seradix –B3, and kept in the GH-1 for root developments. As an experiment, I have chosen some Fig ‘Leas’ cuttings. I just removed the apical bud of these cuttings and  kept them for root developments. Let me see the difference when it develops the growth.  After completing this task, I have selected some Hebe for making semi hardwood cuttings. Heliohebe hulkeana. Jo told me

Heliohebe hulkeana
Heliohebe hulkeana

that this  Hebe is one of the favourite Hebe items in the New Zealand.   Saji, Cindy and myself  made around hundred cuttings of this item and used Seradix B2 rooting hormone and kept in the tray  which filled with 3:1 soil and potting mix. Send them to GH-1 for root developments. Sreekumar and some other guys were working with Hebe cupressoides ‘Nana’ and using the same methods for its root developments. Some guys were working with Hydroponics routine works like trimming and cleaning.

In the second half session, we few people went to Bannockburn campus with Trevore for make some pinot noir  grape cuttings. Others were working with courtyard garden. After making the grape cuttings, we have also joined with this people to maintain the garden. Some of us were trimmed some Griselinia littoralis and Pittosporum tenuifolium. Our Molyneux restaurant Chef has served some Soup with  Bread. It was much enough for getting energetic at the end of the day. Thanks for restaurant guys for the lovely soup.

Hydroponics Stuffs
Hydroponics Stuffs
Hydroponics Stuff

Hydroponics Stuff

Friday, 19th June: Pruning

Ice blanket on branches

Ice blanket on branches

It was wonderful in the morning. Winter exquisiteness everywhere. Temperature was above -6 and all the places where covered with white blanket. Reached timely on the Bannockburn Campus. Today, Trevor was  waiting for us as a substitute for Wayne King. I Went out with my Camera and clipped  some ICY images. It was very nice to see that all the deciduous tree branches covered with snow…. Trevor started the topics with different techniques of pruning young trees and pruning matures trees. Some general pruning techniques and ideas to apply at all times like, it is easier to start at the  top of the tree and work to way down. Removing pruning caught on the tree on the way down. Sunlight is an important thing for tree’s growth and better fruit production. More light means better sized and better coloured fruit on the tree.  Ones we do

Lovely pets  on ICE

Lovely pets on ICE

proper pruning, beside getting better sunlight, it will be helpful for good spray penetration, better ladder access, reduced fruit damage and better wood renewal. We have gone through the points like different pruning timings and different types of pruning techniques in trees like Apple, Peach, Nectarine. Apricots, Plums, Cherries and Roses.  In the second half of the day, we were pruning Peach trees. One more experienced day for pruning.

We were engaged with weekend works on Saturday and Sunday. It was really freezing on both days.  We have terminated work on Sunday at lunch time and engaged with some ice funs. It was really wonderful moments to laugh together

Ice Fun

Ice Fun (Click the Image for VIDEO)

Term-II, Week-7 (08th – 12th June)

Monday, 08th June : Soil-less media

SunnyToday we have learned a new topic, Soil-less media. We had little idea about all these things. During the topic introduction, Jo explained about use of soil less growing media in horticulture industry.  A growing media is the substances in which a plant can grow. Soil less media is always called Potting Mix.  Soil is always not enough  for growing  plants in containers  due to its poor level of aeration, drainage, water holding capacity and sometimes may contain pathogens.  But potting mix like growing medium can provide a stable anchor for roots, an excellent reservoir of all necessary nutrients, enough oxygen for roots and sufficient water for plant’s growth. Beside these functions, potting mix should be  weed free, heavy, light enough to handle (transport etc), well drained and better water holding capacity. While arrange  a potting mix we have to consider the following factors like  cost, availability of the materials, consistency  in batches, stability of the media overtime and environmental issues.  Most common materials used for a genuine potting mix are Peat, bark, Sand, Pumice, Perlite and vermiculite.  Other materials like coir, sawdust, green composted waste, vermicast, grape marc, brewery and tobacco waste, cotton seed and rice hulls, oat husks, sure cane, polystyrene, lignite, paper and rockwool can also be used for making a growing media. Physical, chemical and biological characters of the materials are important while considering these things.

Physical properties like AFP (Air Filled Porosity), RAW ( Readily Available Water), bulk density, partical stability, wettability, flowability and infiltration rate.  Chemical properties reflect the level of avaiilabe nutrients. Biological properties may include pest, diseases and disorders, environmental issues and its kind of characters.

PH level is an important factor for a plant’s growth. 7.0 is neutral, below 7 is acid and above 7 is basic or alkaline.

Peat – dugs from swampy areas in temperature zons like New Zealand, Ireland and Canada. It is a mix of partly decomposed remains of plants that grow in swamps. Sphagnum mosses like things.

Bark – Pinus radiate bark used in New Zealand. Softwood bark is the better choice. This stripped barks composted using CAN for 4 – 8 weeks. When the bark goes black and loses resin smell, it can be used for making a media.

Sand  – Most common material, used for making the a growing media. It improves the drainage. Avoid calcareous  or coastal sands.  Particle size of the sand is an important thing to improve its water holding capacity.

Pumice – Mined volcanic pumice. It provides aeration and improves the porosity.

Vermiculite – Is a mica mineral produced by heating. It supplies potassium and magnesium.

Perlite – Is also a heat expanded volcanic rock.


Tuesday, 09th June : Growsafe

Wednesday, 10th June : Growsafe

 We are going to cover the topics of Growsafe on today and tomorrow. For me it is an interesting subject. From my agricultural (family) background, I had already experienced advantages and disadvantages of the  use of agrichemicals. I still remember that during my childhood, my  grant father was using DDT (Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) for most of the pests or insects. Later on we realiazed that all of the good guys including worms  disappeared and most of the pests achieved a kind of self immunisation to overcome the effects of this DDT.  Later on we have started to make our own compost and organic supplementary for our plants. But it has taken a long time to go back to the previous stage and still struggling in some cases. Lack of awareness was the main reason for this mistake.

Today we have covered the topics like Management of Agrichemicals, Transporting Agrichemicals by Road, Storing Agrichemicals, Using Agrichemicals, Calibration, Disposal and other supporting information. Management of Agrichemicals include The product label, plant protection products – label information, veterinary medicines and animal health products – label information, priority identifiers, schedule heading, hazard classifications and packing groups, toxicity and LD50 figures, agrichemical residues in food, poisoning, protective equipments (PPE) and clothing and respirators. Section named Transporting Agrichemicals by Road include Transporting agrichemical – land Transport Rules and General requirements for transporting agrichemicals. Storing agrichemicals include Physical features of the store, managing the store, agrichemical use and tracking records and Location Test Certificates. For Using Agrichemicals, Notifications, sensitive areas,  handling and mixing,  signage, avoiding or minimising the spray drift, cleaning and decontamination and records including spray diary.  In Calibration, Calibration methods, calibration phases, volume based spraying and area based spraying and its calibration steps.  While covering the disposal  section, we understand that the disposal of concentrates, disposal of diluted ( mixed) agrichemicals and disposal of empty containers including triple  rinsing. Supporting information like useful contacts, RMA definitions, HSNO regulations, HSE definitions, spray equipment components and droplet size, non application periods for substances toxic to bees and measurements and symbols.

During the second half we were working with its assignments to complete them on time. Most of us have successfully complete the assignments next day during the first half. On Wednesday, the second half, I was working with Pest, diseases and disorder assignments and still pending that. 

Thursday, 11th June : Propagation – Nursery

Grape Cuttings

Grape Cuttings

Welcome back to Nursery. As I told before, most of the Thursdays, we will be in Nursery to learn some new techniques of propagations. As an introduction, Jo told us that, today we are going to do some deciduous hardwood cuttings – Grape cuttings. We have selected some ornamental grapes and “July Muscat” for propagations. Softwood grape cuttings will take 7-10 days root developments. Semi-hardwood cuttings of the grape will take 15-22 days and Hardwood cuttings of the grape will take 25-35 days for its root developments.

We have selected Vitis ex Jo-ornamental, Vitis ‘July Muscat’ and Vitis ‘Ornamental ex- fence’ for making cuttings and propagate. Cutted all separately with three nodes and removed bottom two nodes, used Seradix No.3 rooting hormone, We have used some pots with Perlite, some pots with Perlite and Potting Mix and some other Pots with Potting Mix and sand at 1:1 ratio for this propagation. Send them to Glass house-1 for roots developments. After that we have selected some Cistus x corbariensis from the Glass House – 4 (from the harden off) and potted in the 1.5 ltr pots and send back to GH-4 for grow. Some others potted  some Hebe ‘Oratia Beauty’ and sowed  Arbutus undeo seeds and Plagianthu regius seeds.

Golden Hands

Golden Hands

After the lunch, we decided to go to Kawarau Gorge Mining Centre for Gold Hunting…  This centre is a part of Otago Goldfields park and looked after by Department of Conservation, New Zealand. This field is a 25 hector reserve covers an area ones known as Gee’s Flat. Ground  Sluicing was the major technique employed by the first miners on Gee’s Flat and because there was always  a shortage of water, the method continued to be used by the men forced in to mining by the long Depression of 1880-1900. In 1900s there were major changes happened and lot of new developments occurred here. 1930, they started to use crude metal nozzles attached to canvas hoses to washed down the deposits. During this time, lot of underground works also started here. Tunnels and shafts are the visible marks for this development. In 1969, miners used to panned off his concentrate and for the final time saw the gleam of Gee’s Flat Gold at the bottom of his dish. In 1981, Crown purchased the site and under the management of the Department of Lands and Survey.  It was developed as a demonstration site for Otago Gold Fields Park.


After gaining the entry, we went to all the parts of the Gold Field. It was noticeable that “Chinatown”, the colourful memory of the history of Central Otago. Lot of Chinese Gold seekers rushed to this place and made a contribution  in to the culture and welfare of the  of the country. The cottages, were constructed in 1991 for a film set reflects the type of cottage the Chinese miners lived in.  Things like Tunnels, two interconnected Dams, Modern Hard Rock display tunnel, Stamp Mill and Gurdy Wheel (impulse turn system) used for pumping water for washing off the mud are wonderful memories.

They have helped us through a briefing of the history of the site, different qualities of the Gold, different gold mining technologies and many other useful information. Then we  went to recreational area for Gold panning. It was a really really enjoyable moments to doing the Gold Panning. One pan ( One scope of gravel) is guaranteed a minimum one or two small flakes of  gold. Everybody got some pieces for the memory. Returned at 3.00 PM and ended the day with small flakes of Pure Gold.







Friday, 12th June :  Pruning

Third day of the Pruning Classes. Wayne King was waiting for us to start the class. I was keeping in mind that, there will be no practical for this day because of the bad weather. During the first one hour session, we  have covered details of the pruning systems like Cordon, Tatura Trellis, Lincoln Canopy, Ebro Espalier, A or Y Frame, Axis system. As soon as we  making a pruning cut, we kill some surface cells. Suddenly a mass of new cells are formed from the cambium layer  and these cells are called Callus. They repair the wounds. Pruning in winter stimulates new bud and shoot developments. But pruning in summer will not develop bud and shoot for deciduous trees. The Top bud of the tree called Apical Dominance and shoot vertically with very little side branches. They are very common in pipfruit and cherries. Removing this apical bud at planting will remove the habit to grow up and produce side branches early in the tree. A Hormone called “AUXIN” (Indole acetic acid- IAA) is responsible for this. This hormone commercially called Indole butyric acid (IBA).Strength is an important factor for a tree to carry leaves, fruits, water at the time of the irrigation etc.

Pruning young tree is important and relatively simple. It sets the style and growth habit for the future years.  During the first winter prune the tree at one meter above the ground. Select four fruiting arms  in this layer and train them  grow horizontal for increased fruit production. Remove all branches below this layer. Remove all fruits during next spring. Next winter redefine the first layer and make second layer nearly one meter above the first layer. Remove all dead, diseased and damaged branches and allow other branches grow horizontally.   Enjoy the first fruit on the  summer. After the Cup of Tea, we started the pruning and done some pruning in Apricot,  Plum and Peaches trees. I am confident that, with the help and training  of Wayne King and Trevor, I can be an expert in pruning soon. Real experience.


Saturday, 13th June :  Weekend work


Sunday, 14th June : One day course – Relating well in New Zealand.

For building a better relationships at work, at home and in the community, Relationship services – New Zealand Immigration Services has organised a training programme in our campus. It was a one day programme and started at 10.00 AM and ended at 4.30 PM. Counsellors named  Sonya Antonsen and Bradley Terry from Relationship services Otago office presented this programme.  It was really useful for understand more about New Zealand Culture, new Zealand People, Country’s history, words and phrases commonly used in the conversations, their expressions and many more.  It was an extended opportunity to develop  knowledge and skills about migrants settlement process.  Training programme included discussion, group presentations and expression of future vision of us  through a colourful drawing . At the end of the day, everybody has awarded to the Certificate of Attendance.  Thanks for Yvonne Fogarty, International Student Adviser – Otago Polytechnic and members of the Cromwell polytechnic for arranging this programme for us.

Term-II, Week-6 (01st -05th June)

Monday, 01st June : (Holiday), Queen’s B’Day.

Queen's B'Day - A wonderfull morning.

Queen's B'Day - A wonderfull morning.

Queen’s Birthday is observed in New Zealand on the first Monday in June. It is a public holiday observed in other Commonwealth Countries too, although on different dates. The Queen of Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, is our Head of State.  Her actual birthday is the 21st of April and her coronation took place on the 2nd of June 1953. For Queen’s Birthday New Zealanders enjoy the extended weekend in a variety of ways.  It is winter here but many people go away for the weekend and spend time at the beach, sightseeing, and/or with family and friends.

 Today is a wonderful sunny day. Sun wake up at before 8 O clock. He was happy till end of the day. I am pretty sure that, tomorrow morning will be a really horrible Cold day.


Tuesday, 02nd June : Growsafe


After the holiday, we all were back to poly on this morning. As per timetable, it is GROWSAFE. I just had an idea that, what is GROWSAFE. As usual, the topic was displayed on the Smartboard. One of my favourite lectures, Wayne King was ready to start the topic. He has supplied a GROWSAFE welcome kit, includes GROWSAFE Introductory Manual – 2009, leaf lets – NZ needs  bees, MSDS and Labels of Roundup Transorb®, MSDS of Tordon – Bruchkiller Herbicide, MSDS of Lorsban 5 EC, Insecticide, RM plan – BH1Summary sheet – Otago Regional Council- August 2007 and some other short notes.

Growsafe introduction  includes and practical and specific guidance on the safe, responsible and effective use of agrichemicals including plant protection products, veterinary medicines, animal remedies and BH2agricultural use of detergents, sanitisers and fumigants.  Safe means use with out harm to people or the environment, Responsible means  being accountable for your action and effective means use with minimum risk for maximum benefit.  The section which are mandatory in order to comply with  the standards use the word SHALL and section which are for information and guidance use the word SHOULD, BH4which indicates that compliance is recommended but not strict. Growsafe is intented to avoide or reduce the risks like Spillage, contamination of products, wrong use of agrichemicals, damages  to important areas from spray, affecting on animal health, contamination of water ways, people getting affected and sick and residues in  the animal products etc.

 In New Zealand, there are four  laws that set out  the requirements  for the use of  agrichemicals. They are like  Resourse management Act – 1991 (RMA), Hazardous Substances and New BH5Organisms Act – 1996 ( HSNO), Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act – 1997 ( ACVM) and Health and Safety in Employment Act – 1992 (HSE).

 We have covered details like what is the purpose, what are the principles, how are they addressed, what information is available, offences, enforcement, possible defences and penalties for non compliance under these acts.  RMA is implemented by Regional, Unitary, City and District Councils developing plans to address the matters required by the RMA and granting consents if required by plan. Maximum penalty for non compliance of this act may BH6charge fine up to  $200,000 or imprisonment of up to two years. Under HSNO Act, you have to know the hazard classification and the controls that apply to the substances that you are using and how to meet that controls. The hazard classification is mainly two named Physical hazard classes and Biological Hazard classes. This Physical Hazard Classes  are divided in to two category – Flammability and Capacity to oxidise.  Class 2, class 3 and class 5 are under this  flammability category and Class is under the capacity to oxidise category. Biological hazard classification  has three properies. Toxicity (human risk), Corrosiveness and Ecotoxicity.  Class 6 is under Toxicity (Human risk), Class 8 is under corrosiveness and class 9 BH7is under Ecotoxicity.

 You need to be an Approved Handler (AH) to meet the HSNO requirements  for many agrichemicals.  An AH should  know about HSNo Act – its rules and regulations – and work accordingly.  AH handler should be able to demonstrate, operate and train the safe use of agrichemicals and its related equipments. And also responsible for maintain records.

The purpose of the ACVM Act is  to prevent or manage the risks from use of agrichemicals  to Trade in primary produce, Animal welfare and agricultural security. The HSE Act is to prevent harm to people at work or in the vicinity of work.   The management should follow three step process – Eliminate, isolate and Minimise –  to reduce the risks.  Employer as well as  employee is responsible for implementing and following these steps and rules.

All these Agrichemicals are in either DRY or Liquid format and always marked with symbols. Description contains lot of product information.  Some symbols like WP, SP, WG, GR are common with Dry formulations. SC, SL and EC are common with Liquid formulations.

 It was a great opportunity to learn, understand  and workout with different Acts, Hazard classifications, Hazard property and its classes.  This capable me to identify the classes and its classifications. Now I can say that class 6.1 means Acutely toxic, 6.3 means harmful to skin, 6.4 is harmful for eyes, 6.5 is danger for sensitation, 6.6 is can cause mutagen problems,  6.8 is harmful for reproductive  developments and 6.9 can target organs. Also it was  opportunity to understand about the responsibility of an Approved Handler. Now I would like to become an Approved Handler (AH). Thank you for Wayne King for helping us to understand all these. Great classes.

 Wednesday, 03rd June: Tutorial

Today was the final day for submission of the Unit 1670- Plant Identity and Specimen Sheets.  I was working with the this assignment  and successfully submitted before 3.00 PM. Half of my collections are pressed samples and other part is covered with colourful photos.  Photos are looking good. Hope that I may get 3 credits out of 5. Thanks for Sally to provide the colour printer.

 Thursday, 04th June: Propagation / Shelter


Shelter belt - Planting

I was well prepared while taking my breakfast. Becouse, today  we are going to Parkburn – Fulton Hogen Site to plant and manage the shelter trees. I have taken necessary precaution  in my clothings, because it is a cold day. We have planted nearly 350 shelter trees on that day. It was a real hard wok. While making pits, it was very hard and fighting with small stones in some areas. Planted the trees in a three layer shelter belt systems. In the middle layer we used Cupressus glabra trees. Outside layers are planted with Pittosporum tenuifolium, Griselinia littoralis and Olearia laxiflora. All the shelter belt are were fenced  before and we did not used rabbit guards their. We have fertilised and mulched all the plants well. Some of us were really worked hard and few others worked hardly. Lunch and tea provided at site by us. Hope that we all will full credits in  “Shelter”. Jo and Trevor with us till end of the day and they were also working hard. Great Team work!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Great results!!!!!!!!!!!

 Friday, 05th June: Pruning


Pruning - Click image to watch video

 Second day of pruning classes. We are always at Bannockburn Campus on Fridays. Today, we are leraning different shap of trees. They are Vase Shaped Trees, Central Leader Systems, Espalier, Cordon, Tatura Trellis, Lincoin Canopy, Ebro Espalier, A or Y Frame and Axis Systems.  In Espalier System, fruiting arms are tied horizontal, for maximum fruiting. Space apart 30 cm apart, Suited to the home garden with limited space and a lot of trimming required. In  Vase shaped, an open habit wineglass and traditional style of training trees with out a central leader.

After the first smoko, we all leaded by Wayne King and Trevor for apricot pruning. Completed  that before lunch. After the lunch we went for pruning summerfruit plants. Some of us were pruning with  Hydralada  till end of the day. It is easy to use Hydralada and Hydraulic Shears for pruning. It was a real  experience to do pruning.At end of the day, we said bye for weekends.



A view from Parkburn



Most us were working with Molyneux. Saturday was realy a cold day. Sunday was very warm and suitable to work.