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)


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