Term-IV, Week-5 (09th – 13th November)

Friday, 13th November: Crop loading analysis.

Cherry - crop load

We are at the end of  this academic year. During this year, we have engaged in various horticultural activities. Pruning, grafting, spraying, weeding and irrigation. I was very much keen on while doing pruning that what will be the result during the growing season. Lots of fruits and leaves. It is an important factor for trees further growth and balance. Today we assembled at Bannockburn campus to learn and practice “Crop loading technologies”. Alex started the topic. Fruit thinning is essential for quality fruits, balanced growth of plants, improved size of fruits and reduced risk of pest and diseases. Fruit thinning is essential for almost all pip fruit and stone fruit trees. Some verity cherry has capability to drops an amount of fruits naturally and balance the required number of fruits in plants. Hand thinning is a labour oriented process and cost more. Pipe fruit industry, chemical thinning (using thinning agent – kind of hormones) to drop a limited number of fruits. Another amount of fruits will be dropped naturally by wind / frost and even by birds. After the class room session, we went to Apricot block for do some fruit thinning their. Later moved to nectarine and followed by peaches for fruit thinning and finished that before end of that day. In the afternoon session I was practising Tractor driving with attached implements. Now I am quite confident in driving Tractor in almost all kind of flat terrains.

Thursday, 12th November: Gardening at SHaC, Clyde.


SHaC - Home is under construction at Clyde

The Sustainable Habitat Challenge has nine teams around New Zealand designing and building 7 more sustainable homes by November 2009. Central Otago residents can look at building themselves a better future thanks to a nationwide sustainable housing competition being driven by Otago Polytechnic.

A team led by Otago Polytechnic and consisting of 10 people from Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell, Queenstown and Wanaka, has been hard at work all year designing and building a straw bale house as their entry for the 2009 Sustainable Habitat Challenge (SHAC).In clyde, this house is under construction and the owner  Sampsa Kiuru is eager to move in to soon.

“Straw bale houses are used extensively overseas, particularly in the U.S. where it’s become a very common building practice. “Straw is a great building material option for Central Otago – it’s cheap, natural and provides great insulation for the dry Central Otago climate. Essentially we’re taking a waste product and turning it into a solid, durable, well insulated and easy to maintain home.

“There won’t be any fossil fuels used in this home. Solar heating and a super-efficient masonry stove will keep the interior warm and provide for hot water needs while keeping environmental emissions to a minimum.

Located at 1088 Earnscleugh Rd, the three-bedroom house is built with non-treated timber and straw bales which give it a high thermal mass and insulation up to two times the building code requirements. Earthen floors, a five-tonne masonry stove, thick earthen plasters and a large central earthen massive wall will act as passive solar collectors, absorbing the warmth of the direct solar radiation during the day and warming the home on cold winter nights. The masonry stove radiates heat over a long period at a fairly constant temperature and only needs to be lit every few days. The fire burns hot and quickly, producing very little smoke, and the masonry stove radiates the heat slowly over a long period of time.

Polytechnic team on planting

Once the Clyde house is finished, Otago Polytechnic plans to build a public display centre dedicated to sustainable building practice.

Otago polytechnic Cromwell centre, horticulture team got a wonderful opportunity to participate in this movement and design and develop a natural garden around this house.

We went to Clyde at 9:00 AM with a trailor load of garden plants like Thyme, Tussocks, Cistus and Iris. Most of all these plants are highly dry tolerant and initial maintenance and  weeding will help to develop a wonderful natural garden at this place. We were pretty strict in planting without making any changes in the landscape or soil structure. Executed all planting at 12:30 PM and returned to campus. After noon, there was a visit from NZ Friend  for complete the application formalities for our next visa process. A great day with lots of new developments, knowledge and fun. We got a chance to place our hands for this house and its garden.

Wednesday, 11th November: Tutorial Day

Last tutorial day  for us. Next Wednesday will be the day for practical exam. I wake up at early morning and reached polytechnic before time. I decided to finish my Unit – 1670, ‘Plant collection records’ There was some minor corrections and I need some more new photographs to complete these tasks. I have successfully completed all these before lunch and submitted that. Jo verified that return it with in half n hour. I successfully completed that task also. Submitted the weed collection record to Roger and hope that will be back soon with some minor corrections. It was an opportunity to complete my blogs and make some more works in the Propagation records. Hope that I can submit my propagation record by end of this week. Enterprises Report is under construction and will be released by mid days of next week.

Tuesday,10th November: Bees

Bee hives



We are learning about bees and beekeeping today. I am little familiar with bees and beekeeping and so I was not much eager about things. But I did not skip the class because it was an opportunity to hear and refresh the knowledge. So I call that ‘ learning is a never ending process’. I am very much happy that, Alex was appreciating my knowledge. All the apiculture equipments like frames, bee excluder, smoker, uncapping knife, bee suit, gloves, honey extractor and queen breeding cup were available in the class. We can not present live bees in the class, so we used some big posters, pictures and even some slides and videos for teaching purpose. Everybody was keen in the whole class and it finished at around lunch. Bees have a valuable important roll in the horticulture industry. Pollination…. They do a great service to us on free of cost basis. Other side, they provide honey also. New Zealand is one of the best quality honey producing country and 25-30 % of the countries total honey is exporting to Asia, Europe and U.S. Manuka honey is well known and expensive and gets from North Island. In south Island, we have Thyme honey and it has also a huge demand in the market. New Zealand have many commercial beekeepers and most of them have quiet good turn over. Beside honey, there is huge demand for other things like bee wax, propolis, pollen, commercial queen breeding and nucle hives and  bee venom. Alex has a great knowledge and marvellous ability to express these knowledge to students with in a short duration. Overall it was interesting session and hope that everybody enjoyed a lot. After the lunch, we were win the computer suite and I was working with updating my propagation record. During these time, Mr. David from NZHITO made a visit and we all had got a chance to meet him and discuss some ongoing issues.

Monday, 09th November: Irrigation – Practical

Today, last day for the subject ‘Irrigation’. I was quiet sure that this day will be a practical day. Alex started the day with some important points like – ten more days to end this course, this week programmes and today’s tasks. We were doing some more irrigation tasks like putting new line and installing pop-up sprinklers in the grass area, pavement near the office.  Other things like some repairing works in the irrigation lines in the turf area in front of staff room, filling up the trenches made on last week by putting top soil etc… I have made some new trenches in the morning followed by some trenches on the bitumen placed road area. When others started to install  lines and sprinklers, I have moved with few others to the turf area and repaired some pop-up sprinklers damaged by mower. There was a BBQ lunch by OPSA and we all enjoyed that during our lunch time. After the lunch, I have assigned with some more works in the turf area. Rabecca and myself were working together  for placing a separate irrigation line for the mini sprinklers and pop-ups irrigate the plants near and around the catering institute its east side. End of this task, I was much satisfied because, we made a very clean and tidy work in the turf area. If someone new comes and look, it is very hard to find that, placed a new irrigation line here. Turf placed back in a well looking manner. As announced before, I had an interview with Rotary people for the selection of educational scholarships. Hope that luck may be in favour. A great practical day with full of work and outcomes. Little sad that, our Rabecca got little angry and complained about me when I used the word “Use your brain”. Hope she will be fine later.


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