Archive for July, 2009

Term-III, Week-1 (20 – 24 July)

Monday, 20th July: Soil

Welcome back to Polytech after two weeks holidays. I was working during my holidays. Term – III starts here. Weather is in favour  of us. Days are very clear and warm enough. No matter if there is any frost in the morning. Through out this term, we are going to study the topics like Soils, weeds, Grape pruning techniques, Frost control methods, irrigation methods, fencing techniques, marking out and planting, compost, firearm and its useage, Fertilisers and it’s applications and some important filed trips also.

 I have reached the polytechnic before time. All of our staffs like Alex, Jo, Trevor and Roger were waiting to welcome us. Principle Lecturer Alex is back after his long break. He is one of our energiser.  I had a petty conversation with all of them. Trevor was asking about the holiday works progresses. Theory exam result has been published in the notice board. Most us have achieved a  good score like above 75%. During this term, we have some new friends from NZ and Philippians. During this tem lots of events are going to be occurred in the campus. As a first step, we have a BBQ luch on Wednesday 22nd of this month. During this term, Roger is teaching us.

Lots of Soil

Lots of Soil

Roger started the topic – Soils. We all are very familiar with soils. We call them Soil, mud, gravel or dirt. But we were not aware about the properties of soils. It is a mixture of water, air, minerals and organic matters. All of these properties are very important in the structure of the soils. Organic matters holds the soils together and gives structure. It attracts and hold water. Supplies re cycled nutrients. It is a food source to support life. We know the important of water and air. It is the basic thing of all the living organisms.   Minerals are very important in the soils quality.  It gives a texture to the soils. It also release nutrients  when they broken down.

 Pedogenesis – Process of soil formation and development by soil forming factors: climate (mainly temperature and precipitation), parent material, living organisms (plants and biota), topography,

Going up to see soil

Going up to see soil

time, water and Man. Its creates horizons. O horizon and A horizon called top soil and horizons B, C and are called sub soil.  Soil is also have physical, chemical and biological properties. Physical properties give texture, structure, porosity, water holding and releasing capacity and infiltration to the soil. 

In the afternoon session, we went to Bannokburn area (fulton road) to see and understand the structure  of the soil. It was  a great experience to understand the horizons and such details.  This was a gold mining area during 1860-1940s. A good fun to walk around the mountains.

 Tuesday, 21st July: Weeds


Morning Cloud

Morning Cloud

Second day of this week. Yesterday’s walking has given a good sleep and wake up in the morning before time. The whole night was windy and mercury was above minus. In the morning, suddenly lots of clouds appeared and wind become strong and looks like to be going to be rainy. There was some warm fronts passing over through the south island. I took some beautiful photographs of the clouds. Roger has told that to collect some weeds and bring them to polytech. I have collected some on the way. Roger brought many type of weeds from his vineyards. Today’s topic – weeds and it looks little difficult to complete. A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-made settings such as gardens, lawns or agricultural areas, but also in parks, woods and other natural areas. Weed can grow in wrong agricultural place and interfere with human actuivites. Also it can compete for nutrieants, sunlight and air. 

 We have to do a written assignment, a weed collection, weed ID test and make a weed control plan. I started to learn DSCF1470some weed names and recognise them. Hope that I can manage it well with in a couple of months. Weeds are callsified as Annual, biennial and perennial.  Weeds like mallow, yarrow, couch, dock, hemlock, thistles, shepherd purse, thyme, chicory, lupin, clover and gorse.  In the second session, we walked out the campus, collected and identified many weeds.  Now I have to collect atleast 15 weeds, mount or photograph  and complete  them with in a month. 

There was a little shower in the late afternoon.  May be some cold front is coming near to here.

 Wednesday,  22nd July: Tutorial.. BBQ lunch!!!!!!!

 As usual, this Wednesday is also  a tutorial day.  I came to polytech little early. Because, I lost my files while working on yesterday. There was some maintenance going on the server. For recouping this loss, I came early. Alex  explained the  summery of the Assignment – Pest, diseases and disorders. Some of us have already completed and he  was helping

BBQ Lunch

BBQ Lunch (Click image for videos)

us to complete the same on or before the  new deadline. After the first smoko, some of us started to work with assignments and some others were working with their blogs.  Alex and Jo were sitting for a small interview with all students one by one. I always call this as ‘confession’. BBQ lunch was ready at 12.00 PM. Everybody gathered in the courtyard of the campus. Weather was very calm and sunny. 

 It was really  a great BBQ. Heavy lunch. Because of   yummy, some of us had  double lunch… It was an enjoyable moment. A smart get together of all the staff abd students. Thank you for catering staff and students for arranging a great BBQ.

In the afternoon session, I had my turn to meet Alex for progress evaluation. My academic programmes were up to date. We have to select an industry according the taste. I  am interested to work with any kind of industry like orchard, vineyard  or nursery. But I have some previous experience (more than five years) in the apiculture. If I get a chance to focus on this industry in New Zealand, it will be a great career pathway for me. Does not matter that, even if it any other industry. Hope that every thing will come true.

 Thursday, 23rd July: Pruning (grapes)

Friday, 24th July: Pruning (grapes)

Spur Pruning

Spur Pruning

I was really waiting for these days. Came to know from the time table that Euan Nicole, a great experienced personality is coming to teach us the golden rules of viticulture.  After a formal introduction, Euan has stated his class. Length of the canes, number of buds / nodes required in the canes, pruning weight,  size and kind of canes to select and how to manage the balance of the plant before and after the  pruning. Internodes at 65mm, thickness at 8 mm (pencil thickness), golden colour, no diseases and damages…are very important while selecting the canes. I was having many doubts in mind about different pruning systems. Why some do cane pruning and others do spur pruning, some choose single cane and others use two canes etc… As a summery at end of the topics,

 I have understood the following things like cane pruning is a process of renewal of old spurs from the vines. In small

Cane Pruning

Cane Pruning

plants, it is difficult to do spur pruning. Cane pruning is much expensive. Plants we do cane pruning have less nutrient storage in the woods. They are helpful for prevent wind damages. Most attractive point is that they are more productive than spur pruning.

 But in spur pruning, more wood is there to store food for new shoot growth. They are comparatively less expensive and more time savings. No blind budding in this systems. We  can easily manage them after frost and wind damage. Mechanical pruning is practicable with this system.

 Guyot is a system used to prune vines. It  is similar to cane pruning. In this system, One cane is used and with 14-15 nodes on them. While doing pruning, if there is no  spurs are available, it is best to choose  canes that leave the lest old wood above the wire. Cane pruning is very much technically important. Considering the replacement spurs is one important point. If there is any space between plants we can use the cane from the end of the spur to extend and fill this gap. But consider the balance and growth of the plant. Bud formation and fruitfulness will be based on the light during the bud formation, health vine during the bud formation and damage and disease of the cane.  

Grape vines

Grape vines (click here for Video)

Both of the days we have got  much enough time to sharpen these skills by various practical. First day we have done spur pruning on Pinot noir plants. Second day we have achieved the skill on spur pruning in the  Chardonnay grape plants. Besides Euan, Alex and  Trevor has also helped  to clear some doubts regarding the pruning. Overall  these two days have given a bunch of experience   to train and prune a mature grape plant. Now I am confident that, I can use this skills in the industry.    


Term-II – Week-11 & 12 (Holidays)

Read more about Vinewise

Read more about Vinewise

This is the winter holidays….. from 04th  up to 19th of July included three weekends. Raewyn  and Trevor from polytechnic really helped us to get a holiday works during this season. We have got grape pruning jobs during this time. Working with ‘Vinewise’, a famous viticulture contractors. We were engaged with doing pruning jobs like stripping and trimming. We were working in Bendigo vineyards named Quartz reef.  Winter was its hardest stages and most of the days the temperature was in minus. Antimony Pandavas (Five of my friends who stay in Antimoney Cresant Road) supported me in conveyance. They came to Chalets every day to pick up and drop me. Thank you  Sreekumar (Arjuna) for helping me. Johnson ( Bhima) was our supervisor during this holiday work. He performed his best to coordinate all. Some of us have done excellent performance at workplace. Employer and his team was really impressed for this performance and used the word “Machines” is  highly appreciated. Few of us from this team were little tricky by knowingly or unknowingly. They were really aware that employer is looking only the entire team’s performance and not the individuals. They have utilised that option well…. Best of luck for them….  This holiday works give us a great relief  for our bread and butter issues. Now we are confident that our landlords will not kick out us from the house for not paying the rent on time. Overall it was a great experience of us to learn something while earn. Thank you for everybody who supported us.


The Pandavas are the five renowned brothers who are central characters in the epic Mahabharata. They are the sons of Pandu, named Yudhishtira, Bhima and Arjuna – born to Pandu’s first wife Kunti, and the twins Nakula and Sahadeva – born to his second wife Madri. The fatherhood of the Pandavas is attributed to different Gods because sex was mortally dangerous for Pandu due to a curse. Accordingly, Yudhishtira is the son of Yama, Bhima of Vayu, Arjuna of Indra, and Nakula and Sahadeva of the Ashwini deities. Arjuna wins Draupadi in a ‘swayamvaram’ (marriage) and later, on his mother’s advice, shares her with the other four brothers. The Pandavas engaged in the Mahabharata war with their cousins, Kauravas, and relatives, and won the war with the help of Lord Krishna. The Pandavas are symbolic of goodness wheras the Kauravas embody evil.

Term-II, Week-10 (29th June-03rd July)

Monday, 29th June: Assignment catch –up

Another cool Monday. Last week of the second semester. Lots of work like assignments and theory exam to be completed on this week. Jo announced the day’s as well as weeks programme. It was an opportunity to complete the ‘Pest, Diseases and Disorder’ Assignments. I was sitting in computer room till the end of the day to complete the same.  There is a great satisfaction at end of the day for completing the assignments successfully.

Tuesday, 30th June: Organic Certification

One practical day for the topic, Obtain and Maintain organic certification. Today the class was at Bannockburn campus. Today we have worked with a part of our assignment – Gaining Organic Certification. We learned that how to make a property management plan. We have selected the part of our polytechnic orchard – Apple block for converting to Organic. Taken the measurement  of the area. Made a property plan accordingly. Explained all the surroundings, roads, nearby forest and other farming, living and sports activity. After coming back to the class, we continue work with rest of the registration formalities to complete the filling up of Application for Registration for become organic certified. Wayne King has explained all the steps and points one by one and cleared all the doubts. We have completed all the registration process at end of the day one hour before and headed to home.

Wednesday, 01st July: Theory Exam – Term-II

Weather Before Exam

Weather Before Exam

First theory exam during this course as well as this semester. We have two theory exams and one practical exam till end of this course. Two weeks holidays are starting from this week end and it was just a  recap of last two semesters. Exam topics included Weather, Plant Biology, Pest & diseases and Pruning. I was not prepared  for the exam

Weather After the Exam

Weather After Exam

 because of many reasons. Outcome of this exam will not be counted with the unit credits. From these exams will select  a best theory student and best practical student. I decided that I will not be their for a competition. I am pretty confident that whatever I have learned is best for me and can  prove my skills through the learning process.  I did not make any revision for the exam. Like today’s weather, I was very cool  in the morning and found that some guys  going through the books till the last moments. Eyes of these guys were like Apple. My be because of eating lots of apple????? Jo was ready with time table and question papers. Exam started at sharp 9.00 and butterflies were in everybody’s stomach. I asked Jo to get only one sheet for my answers… … Some of us completed the writing at its first hour and others were passing through the second hours. I did not write anything from Plant Biology and weather. Pruning and pest & disease was little familiar and written something about all. Hand over the paper and apologised to Jo for not writing anything about her subject.  I am sure that I will remember all these questions and do the recap of these answers on coming days. That my exam experience. 

 I have got a chance to update the  blogs and later on sit with Robe Luke to practice English Language Proficiency.

Thursday, 02nd July: Pruning

Snow tree

Snow tree

It was freezing in the morning and headed to Bannockburn campus. Today we have to do pruning some summer fruit trees. I was walking to campus and just overlooking the status of clouds and thinking in mind that what will be the weather today. On the way, in front of a house, there was a little black Ice and could not noticed that. After slipping down and moving ten feet, I realised that. Fortunately nothing happened and looked behind that someone has see or not. Nobody has seen that I am falling down. I was laughing in mind……… Most of us arrived late  and we were sitting in the class room to get warm enough. Trevor has distributed the ‘Growsafe’ assignments and for me there were some incomplete answers to complete. We done that soon and Trevor was explaining some technical points of the pruning terminology.  Just because of the freezing weather, he advised us to work with some

Snow trees

Snow trees

assignments. After the morning break some of us headed for start pruning. Temperature was still minus four and was shivering outside.  After the lunch again we continued the pruning. Around two o clock, the great amazing thing started…….. Snow fall…….. Coooool, White……. Soft…….. lovely …… flakes of snow……. Just like a shower……. We continued the pruning for little more time and stopped when snow become stated to cover the ground. Some of us stated play in snow and snow fall was continuing….  Trevor suggested us to move back to homes and we headed home before  time. Snow fall continued till 6.30 evening and at end of the day it was around four inch thickness in  the ground covered all over the place and looks like a white (polyphil) blanket in the ground……… Some of us got memorable opportunity to play with snow, took photographs of snow and make snow men…….I took lots of photographs and video clips of snowfall.

 Friday, 03rd July: Propagation (proposed)

SunnyI have been waking up many times in the night to see the condition of the snow outside. It was still there and I was sure that polytechnic will be closed on today. In the morning, Trevor called up confirmed that there is no class today. Two weeks winter holidays started one day in advance…. I utilized the day to read and understand the New Zealand Road Codes…… Something useful for the day….. In the afternoon, I just came out to walk around  and later on went to polytechnic  and shopping……

 There is no work on this weekend also…. Very difficulty to survive…… As per the immigration rules, we can work only 20 hours

Night vision

Night vision - Click for Video

@ week. We have classes on Monday to Friday and if we get any work on Saturday and Sunday, that will come around 16 hours and pay from that is not enough to meet our weekly expenses. In between these if there is no work on any weekends, we have to borrow money from someone  and difficult to repay that on time… really horrible……… What to do…….??????