Term-III, Week-10 (21st – 25th September)

Friday, 25th September: Propagation – Nursery

Sudden changes in the weather caused a snow fall in the night. It was raining in the night. Morning was cloudy.  I reached polytechnic little early. I looked through the internet to find the official declaration of presence of water in the moon. We had a great mission called Chandrayan-1 and it stopped responding after ten months. NASA also had one payload with this rocket and specifically focusing on the moon water presence. Final announcement was positive. Yes… there is water in the moon. Because of my excitement I spared this to everybody and they all were laughing. 



Meanwhile Jo declared today’s agenda. No seed sowing or pricking out today. Potting up of some Asparagus, weeding and preparing community vegetable garden etc.  She has given some good details of Asparagus. We have some more than two years old asparagus plants on the veggie garden adjacent to the propagation room. We had a look around that crowns. We had a collection of some one year old plants in the nursery. We potted them  and send back to the nursery to grow further more. After that done some weeding on the nursery near by shade houses. In the afternoon session we, one group went to the garden located near the Cromwell  junction. One part of this garden is managing by the Polytechnic as a community service. This is a dry garden. No watering for the plants on this place. They looks well. After the little spring cleaning works, we went to our Bannockburn campus for make some preparation on the community veggie garden. It was a chance to do some weeding and fertilising on the Iris garden also. Came back to the campus at three. Today Vikash and Sreekumar presented the plant profile. Vikash Chose Italian Parsley. Sreekumar chose on New Zealand native plant from the garden. I forgot the name of that plant. At the end of the day Trevor has arranged some holiday works for we few people. It was really a great help. I was much worried on this days.. because of money problem. This works will help me to clear my debts during this holidays. Jo officially announced the two weeks holidays.  A day, week…   no…. term three ended with much more new knowledge.  I am updating my blogs here… 

Thursday, 24th September: Propagation – Nursery

Fancy basket flowers

Fancy baskets

It was freezing in the morning. Weather has changed from yesterday afternoon. When I arrived in the class, Jo was arranging today’s propagation programmes on the board. Then we all had a small discussion about yesterday’s wind storm in Sydney. Later on we moved to GH-1 and further to GH-4. Ten minutes weeding was more enough to pull all weeds from the pots at GH-4. Meanwhile people from Alexandra Blossom festival came to pickup the Fancy – Hanging baskets. All baskets are full of flowers. Really beautiful flowers.. different colours. It was really paining to handover these lovely kids. I  prepared some punnet mix for seedling pricking out. After the Morning Tea, we carried some pricking outs. I pricked out the Broccoli seedling and potted on the punnets. Send them back to GH-4 for further growth. Later I helped Ken for pricking out some Silver leaf seedlings. Later we sow some Lettuce on the punnet trays and send them to the GH-1. Sowing them directly on the punnets took little more time, but  no need to prick them out. People who buy these punnets can plant them straight away on the garden. Good idea. After the lunch I prepared some more punnet mix for sowing more lettuce. Then potted some July Muscat – Ornamental grape vines. Cleaned the propagation room and moved to GH-4 for shift some pots to Shade House and some other plants from Shade House to Retail Garden. End of the day Suzzeit has presented the day’s plant profile. She brought one Tulip plant with beautiful flower from her garden. A fully engaged day with lot of outcomes and new experiences.

Wednesday, 23rd September: Theory Exam – Term III

Exam fever…… I was feeling much sleepy in the morning. I was thinking that, what I will study at this 12th hour. I did not even open the books this time also. I was ready to write whatever I have in mind from doing assignments. Some people were putting their best efforts to study all subjects. Taking leaves and sleepless nights. As usual I reached before time. Everybody was well prepared and present before time. Some people were catching some last moment points. Why do carry much tension. If I had dedication like these people, I might have been an Engineer  before. Alex distributed the question paper just before the time and exam started on time. For me questions were simple to understand. But answers were away. I have answered some questions from  pruning and weeds and rest I skimmed with some answers. After the exam most of the people are confident and saying a better score above 80 %. Now I feel guilty for not preparing for the exam. I will be happy if my expectation works ie, score between 45 -50 %.

Tuesday, 22nd September: Fertiliser application

Another consecutive day at Bannockburn campus. Today we have practical learning of fertiliser application. Alex and Trevor have made all arrangements before time. ATV with fertiliser spreader and Tractor with Spray tank filled with digester. Alex started the topic class with some importance of fertiliser application. He brought the copies of the soil test report of the campus vineyard. We gone through each and every point of the test report. Continued with the importance of fertiliser applications. Fertiliser is a ready made support for the soil nutrients. Plants absorb and use nutrients, some nutrients lose from the soil  by drainage. In central Otago, we have a less rain and controlled irrigation helps to control this kind of nutrient lose. One important point that, even if we have soil test report and  better combination of fertilisers, if we apply fertiliser on the wrong way, if can make negative effects in the soil. After the morning tea, all of them divided in to small groups and assigned with various task like Fertiliser application, Digester (beneficial fungi used for breakdown the mulch and other plant materials in to the soil) spraying, Herbicide (polaris450) spraying, pruning apple trees, using hydralada, using ATV, weed control with mower, dropping down the trellis wires, fixing irrigation pipes etc. I have assigned with chemical store inventory. I have prepared a computer record of the same and handed over to Alex. After noon session, with the help of some others, we have cleaned the workshop and  nearby places and set all tools and equipments in order. Later we have fixed some external spare parts of the SAMI tractor. A wonderful day with verity of tasks. I really enjoyed the day. Most of us rushed for prepare the exam.

Monday, 21st September: Compost

SunnyLast class for compost making theory and practical. On the way, I have got a lift by Sreekumar. Some more Cars added for these people. Roger arrived with soil assignments and distributed that. Somehow I have managed to pass all. I think that Roger was thinking in mind that, I can not understand more than that of what I have written in the assignments and giving more chance for correction will not work.

Today we have covered the topics like Biodynamic composting, materials can and cannot be use3d for compost making and Vermi composting. Biodynamic composting method originated in 1920s. Biodynamic compost preparation use almost all the basic materials. But use some liquids for enhance and strengthen the biological process. They called BD preparations. They are very from 502 – 507. Most of them made by herbs. Example:- 502 made by yarrow blossoms, 503 – made by Chamomile blossoms, 504 – made my  stinging nettle, 505 – made by Oak bark, 506 – made by Dandelion flowers and 507 – made by Valerian flowers. Preparation method 505 – is cleaning cow heads before stuffing  with oak  bark and submerging in a pond for autumn and winter. It helps calcium forces in soil and combats fungal disease. 

We can use almost al the materials for compost making. Green stuffs like vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings and manures. Brown materials like leaves, straw, paper, sawdust, animal beddings etc. cat or dog wastes and diseased plant materials should be avoided in the compost. Making compost by using earth worms called vermi compost. It is also called worm casting. All composts should be matured before using in the soil. Matured compost can be identified by various methods like colour, smell, shape, volume etc. After the completion of theory, we went to the compost heap to check the temperature of the compost heap. Some heaps were working nearly 40 degree and some other heaps working below 30 degree. I have watered all the compost heap. Day finished with lots of new information and ideas.


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