Archive for October, 2009

Term-IV, Week-3 (26th – 30th October)

Tuesday – Friday, 27 – 30 October – Work Experience…


Working with bees


Beekeeping site (Apiary)

We have a work experience programme for a week long as part of our studies. This is the time to choose and industry to work after successful completion of the studies at end of this term. Most of us chose Orchard as an industry. Few people chose Amenity Horticulture and Viticulture for their future. I have some previous experience in Beekeeping and would like to choose Apiculture Industry.  Polytechnic arranged  a place for my work experience in near by town. A place with an average commercial bee keeper. I was working with this beekeeper for four days. During these days, I really enjoyed every moments. Nice person, helped me in all the manner. Explained every queries and beyond. He was much interested to teach me new skills and it helped me to gain that new skills. I really did not feel that, I was working with someone. It was like family kind of atmosphere, and recollected some memories of working with my father during the childhood. At the end of the fourth day, there was a photo session for ‘The Orchadist’, leading horticulture magazine in New Zealand. Hope that I will be there in the front page of  December issue of this magazine. I am much confident in my skills and if I get a chance to work with in this industry, that will be my carrier….. of course it is my passion. ….Thank a lot for the polytechnic team for their great help to provide an opportunity to work with this employer.

Monday, 26th October: Labour Day – Holiday

We have got three consecutive holidays here. Today is one of the  public holidays here in NZ.  Labour Day…


Term-IV, Week-2 (19th – 24th October)

Saturday, 24th October: Giant Plant Sale….


Waiting for buy plants...


Vegetable plants sections


Peony wase and vine.....

We are selling our kids… no.. plants which are propagated and cared by us. We came at 8:00 AM. Plant sale starts at 9:30 AM and needed some preparation in the morning. Enthusiastic people from the town and nearby places arrived in the gate before time. At the time of opening the plant sale, there was a massive gathering around 400 people at the gate. During the first one hour itself, we sold out almost 80 % of all and 100 % of vegetable plants. Flow rate become slow at around 12:00 noon and we closed at 2:00 PM. There was one counter for selling our vines and another counter operated by our food science people for selling refreshments for the buyers. I was in the entrance and welcome people, guided them, controlled the parking and availability of the trolleys, collected feedback from the people and such things. There was a heavy lunch at the end of the day with beer and some soft drinks. A wonderful result of great team work and collective efforts.

Friday, 23rd October: Propagation – Nursery


Ready for sale

Another frost morning. Frost machines in all the Vineyards and Orchards were running in the morning. Plant sale is going to be opened today for the Senior Citizens and Industry people. We done some tidy up works in the nursery. Shifted the plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and pumpkins to the “Cold Frame” and arranged their display. Made sure that all the things are in order and placed label for all them. At 11 AM, we all took brench and moved came back to the nursery for the official opening of the plant sale.

Really amazing that, our senior citizens were lined up before 12:00 PM. They were so hurry to grab the best plants.. still in thrill. All of us including staff located every corner of the nursery and helped the people to choose plants as per desires. I was in the gate to welcome them, say bye to them and bring the trolleys back. I got a wonderful opportunity to know people’s taste and selection of plants. Most of them have vege garden at home and more people like other garden stuffs. There was a huge demand for some selected items here. There was a massive rush till at 3:00 PM and we finished the day at 3:30 PM. Lucky that all the trolleys are in-house at end of the day.  It was a lovely day… warm enough and temperature was above 20 Degree. Need a big preparation for tomorrow’s giant plant sale….

Thursday, 22nd October: Propagation – Nursery


Final touch

Usually, I reach polytechnic before time. Today, I become little late and somehow managed to reach their one minute before. We have to clean and tidy up everything in the nursery for our big plant sale. Next two days are the examination for our nursery team… and defiantly for also… We are selling our plants (kids) to our local community. End result of the one year work. Various verity of plants. We arranged all the sales desk and placed them in various places of nursery. Installed entry and exit points, cleaned nursery and propagation room. Watered all plants. Later one crew including me were working in our peony division. Lots of weeds were and removed all. I really love these peonies. I know that people will come and look these on coming days. After the session, I was sitting with my Enterprises Report to make a visible start on it.

Wednesday, 21st October: Tutorial

Yes.. I had a list of tasks to complete in this day. Alex, Jo and Trevor were in the classroom to discuss something about the weekend plant sales. Jo prepared and assigned a list of tasks to all the students. After that Alex and Trevor explained about the on coming work experience week. Most of the people have job chances in the proposed employers and if they work well and prove their skill, they can grab that opportunities. I am the only one going for work experience in the Apiculture Industry and, they were making comments about bee stings. Trevor supplied a pair of Gumboots for me for that week. Thanks…. After the morning session, I was working with my assignments and some other pending task. Afternoon, Wayne was with us to explain some points which we had doubt about in the “Firearm Safety”.

Tuesday, 20th October: Enterprises Report – Diary

As I thought, Jo used this day for a “push” to start the ‘Big task’, making an Enterprises Report. Teachers know the students habits well. They are aware that we have not started the report yet. Jo explained all the points again and requested everybody to start and finish this task ASAP.  After her brief, I moved to the computer suite to finish the documentation for the weed collection. Weed collection is still pending with me. After the lunch session, I went to Bannockburn campus to collect information for the Enterprises Report. I did not sit for a long day in the computers, because I was little tired this day..  Hope that the details I collected will help to start my project soon..

Monday, 19th October: Irrigation


Type of Irrigation

We continued the studies of ‘Irrigation’ on this Monday. Study was a mixture of theories, problem solving and some little mathematics. Relation between ET (Evapotranspiration)  and irrigation are important. Evapotranspiration (ET) is a term used to describe the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth’s land surface to atmosphere. Evaporation accounts for the movement of water to the air from sources such as the soil, canopy interception, and water bodies. Transpiration accounts for the movement of water within a plant and the subsequent loss of water as vapour through stomata in its leaves. Evapotranspiration is an important part of the water cycle. An element (such as a tree) that contributes to Evapotranspiration can be called an Evapotranspirator. By irrigating, we fill that much escaped quantity of the water to the soil and make them available to plants. Pump is one of the important equipment used for irrigation purpose. Water gets in to the pump by atmospheric pressure and pump pushes that water to the destination. Watering early morning is the suitable time. Use soil moisture sensors to know that water availability in the soil. This day also helped a lot to gain new knowledge and skill about irrigation.

Term-IV, Week-1 (12th – 16th October)

Friday, 16th October: Grafting Practical


Grafting - Apple tree - Rind (Bark) Graft

As part  of our course, we have theoretically studied the grafting and budding couple of months before. Now the time for use these knowledge in to  and complete the practical skills. We were at Bannockburn campus. Alex and Trevor were their. Alex spend some time to refresh the theory studies in this subject in the first hour. After the tea break we moved to the ground. Trevor prepared some apple trees for the Bark (Rind) grafting. We had ‘Sunrise’ verity of scion in the stock and grafted them. We worked on pairs. Myself and Suzetai were working together. We done the grafting quiet well, cutting scion, opening bark, insertion of scion, taping and waxing well. In the afternoon session, we have grafted some ‘Samba’ cherries and later some ‘Southern snap’ Apples in the root stocks at the garden bed. I am waiting to see the result of my grafting and hope that most of them will success. At the end of the day, it was sad that, some of the grafting knifes were stolen by someone…..

Thursday, 15th October: Propagation – Nursery


Hedge trimmed Buxus...

This propagation – Nursery day is sued to be a preparation for the giant plant sale at out polytechnic. We have cleaned all the parts of Nursery, hydroponics  and shade houses. Weeding,  setting plants and shifting them for hardened off before selling were the main tasks. Myself worked with some others to complete the hedge trimming of ‘Lonicera’ and ‘Buxes’ used as a garden fencing at the polytech compound. A great experience in the hedge trimming of these plants and done quiet well. At  the end of the day, Calum presented the plant profile.

Wednesday, 14th October: Tutorial

Yes… tutorial day.. I always like the tutorials day because it is a chance to finish all the pending tasks like blogs, assignments and projects. This morning, Alex carried out continuation of the irrigation studies for an hour. Later we all moved out and engaged with completing assignments and such tasks. I used this day to complete my ‘Compost’ assignment and submitted that.

Tuesday, 13th October: Irrigation

Today,  we continued with irrigation topic. Irrigation systems design required some calculations. Calculating volume of water, size of the water storage, length of the lines, radius and area of the sprinkler delivery, water pressure and size of the pipes are really interesting and useful. Design and installation of automatic irrigation systems – Solenoid valves and controllers need little basic electrical knowledge..  I am little familiar with all these before. We turn around the places to see the irrigation systems, dams, water sources and various irrigation methods. Some brain storming – mathematical questions were really helped to keep away the afternoon hangovers in the classroom. Another day with bundle of knowledge in the field of irrigation….

Monday, 12th October: Irrigation


Ruben flowers at campus..

Welcome back to the polytechnic after two weeks holidays. I was working with Vinetech, a viticulture contracting company at Cromwell. We were doing pruning at Gibbston valley near Queenstown. It was a great experience… A wonderful time to experience the studies in practical. At the end of two weeks work, I have been selected as a best pruner, fastest pruning without loosing consistency. Ms. Andrea, business partner of the Vinetech awarded me a bottle of ‘Red Tussock’  vine. I am much excited for appreciating my skills. I strongly believe that, the full credit for this appreciation will go to my teachers at polytechnic.

This is our final term during this one year full time study. Much more things to be completed during this short term. Some work experiences, field trips, plant sale, learing and practicing subjects like Irrigation and bees. Practical skills for grafting plants, shoot thinning and fruit thinning etc. prepare and present an Enterprises Report before end of this term is going to be a big task. One practical exam just before at the end of the term. Yes, off course, there will be a great moment… big fruit.. our Graduation  Ceremony  at the end of this term….

Alex, Jo and Trevor were welcomed  all us. Alex explained a brief about this term activities. Later today, we started to learn design, install and maintain an irrigation system. Water is a necessary thing for the plant growth. Place like Central Otago is well known for drought area and need a strong irrigation system for the healthy horticultural activities here. For install an irrigation system, a well design, quality irrigation equipments and accessories and a water source are much needed. We are going to cover the areas like  irrigation terminology – the bits and pieces used for irrigation systems, various types and styles of irrigation, fundamentals of designs, installation methods and techniques and maintenances.. Drippers, mini sprinklers, over head sprinklers,  overhead sprinklers and popup sprinklers are well known and common. Travelling irrigators are becoming popular in the farming activities. They are comparatively very expensive.  Day ended with a vast knowledge in the field of irrigation…