Posts Tagged 'compost activators'

Term-III, Week-7 (31st Aug – 04th September)

Friday, 04th September: Motorised Sprayers

One more practical day at Bannockburn campus. As usual Alex and Trevor were ready to help us. Alex started the class with spraying techniques. Calibration of the sprayer is an important part of the spraying process. All the chemicals we spray in the property should be in the recommended format. Excess application of chemical or herbicides can make negative impacts on the soil. If we are doing organic production,  wrong use of any restricted products can cause loosing the certification. Under usage of any chemical will not provide the desired effect. Recommended level of quantity and application rate is very important. As an example, required minimum quantity of the copper spray is 3.75 Kg @ hector. But it should be 190-250 gram @ 100 litter water. In this case, spray output per minute (V), width of the spray pattern (W) and speed of the sprayer (Tractor speed in kilometre @ hour)  are the important factors. Formula for finding the right figures  of Application Rate per Hector (ARPH) is  ARHct = 600 X V / W X S. Speed = 3.6 X Distance / time taken.  Simplest way of find the spray out per minute is Load full tank of water in the spray tank, run the nozzles exactly one minute and add water to the tank and measure the level of added water. That is the spray output per minute. Simple……. Alex and Trevor demonstrated the process to us in the outside. Meanwhile they have explained some more interesting details of the sprayer. After morning tea, some people leaded by Trevor to do the copper spraying for the peaches. Others went with Alex for pruning pears. It was really interesting and a new experience to do the pruning on pears trees. After that we pruned apple tress. Pruning apple trees continued till the end and later on the class room session Alex declared that everybody has successfully completed the practical assignment of pruning and training mature fruit trees.  Thank you for the support. A day with handful  experience. Great support from Alex and Trevor.

Thursday, 03rd September: Propagation – Nursery

Another propagation day. Frosty morning. Temperature was below minus two. Jo had a  friendly talk with everybody about the Oamaru trip. Everybody enjoyed that well. Great response. After that she presented the days programmes. Deck walk in Glass Houses. Look all the seedling and cuttings in the glass house and if anything is required to move for hardening or potting, removing the flowers from the hanging basket plants, thinning off of basil and coriander seedlings and potting of raspberry etc. We all went to Glass House and had a look around. Some of the ornamental grape vine cuttings were ready for potting and moved them to propagation room for further process. Later on went to the Glass House -4 and pricked out all the flowers from the hanging baskets plants. Continued some weeding around. Collect some seedling trays to the propagation room for pricking out. Thinned off basil and coriander seedlings. Kept only 5-7 basils / corianders in one pot and removed the rest. Some of them transplanted to new pots. Good root growth for these seedlings. Right time for transplantation. Chris and myself were busy with pricking out of Chives which are seeded by Gandhi. It was really a task to relocate these chives from hygiene tray to punnets. Some others pricked out some pansies and potted them in the punnets. Used punnet mix for all these punnets as growing media. In the afternoon session we went to Bannockburn campus and collected some autumn raspberries (autumn bliss) and potted nearly 110 of them. Some others worked in the hydroponics – adding some fertilisers and doing some cleanings . Before the end of the day we have done some preparation and weeding in the proposed veggie garden in front of the propagation room. Someone has supposed to present today’s plant profile presentation. Ironically he become absent and there was no presentation in this week. Busy with tiny activities and at the end of the day, it all got counted as a good experience.

Tuesday & Wednesday, 01st – 02nd  Sepetember: Field trip – Oamaru.


Oamaru (Click here for Video)

Yessssssssssss!!!! We are going to Oamaru…. We want to explore whole Waitaki valley (North Otago). As part of our study, we have to visit some places out of the campus to see and understand the horticulture and related industry. Our Alex and Jo were with us to help.  We all went in a bus driven by Alex. Our principal lecture is a multi skilled person and I really admire him. A good teacher, friend, son, father and husband for the family, highly skilled horticulturist and a good driver – Truck, bus, tractor and ATV. He cooks well and sometimes serves tea and coffee for us. What else we need???

We started the trip at 8:00 AM, Weather was looking little unattractive and I was worried about rain during the trip. When we reached at Lindis pass, it was  snowing lightly their. Get out of the bus and enjoyed the snow little and continued the tour. At Omarama we stopped for little refreshments. After  that the we moved towards Kurow. On the way we have seen the places like Otematata, Avemore dam and Waitaki dam. When we reached at Kurow village, it was around 11:30.  Kurow means the mountain of ‘many mists’. We went out see the Kurow Estate, a vineyard  and its  winery. Mr. Jiff  explained all about kurow  vines and  some other specialities. They have verity of vines like Riesling – GT, Pinot gris, Pinot blond and Rose-1. A good winery is just operational. It all was really interesting to see and understand all the knowledge, techniques and implementations.  Then we moved towards to Oregon Nursery. A ‘Small !!!!!!’  nursery produces millions of Pine (pinus radiata)  and Leyland cypress trees every year. Beside these , they have a wide verity of amenity, forestry, shelter and native plants developed from cuttings and seeds. They have a huge collection of stocks (bud wood) of Populus and willows. Some interesting facts like Growth factor, not using any fertilisers in the potting mix, use their own rooting hormone  and different hardened off methods like details were really new for me. This nursery spread around twenty hectors of land. One green house which covered more one hector has a full capacity of handling five million plants at the time. It is totally controlled by the computer system. We spend almost one hour in the nursery to see and understand all the process. A great experience. After that we moved toward to Headford propagators. It also an another average size nursery handle thousands of plants useful for gardening, landscaping, amenity and shelter purpose. It was really attractive that their systems to store seeds, making potting mix and potting up process. Spend almost one hour with them to move around and see their cuttings, seedlings, green house and stocks (bud woods). Then moved towards see penguins at Oamaru sea shore. It was nearly five o clock. We spend almost one hour at their to see blue  penguins. ironically  there was no penguin movements during that time and we went back to the town  and ended the day programmes at the hotel.

Place which is arranged for our night stay was excellent. Myself and Ghandi shared one room. Nice bedding and other facilities. After refreshments, we went out and had a look around in the town, had the dinner and came back to the place. I spend little time to check my email and update them. Later on I went to bed at around 10.30 and had a lovely sleep. Some people got a chance to see  penguins at the car park behind  the hotel. Wake up at 6.30 AM and got refreshed and then moved out for the breakfast.

Alex and Jo were waiting for us to continue the second day programmes. We headed to one cherry orchard who planted some amounts of Tart cherries. On the way  I got some leaflets  from Jo to read. Tart cherries are something special. They have great medicinal values.  Mr. John from Cherryvite was waiting for us. An enthusiastic entrepreneur. He is basically a dairy farmer. But he got interested with Tart cherries and went to US and Europe to find more about them. After the return he took some helps from Horticulture research station located at Clyde, Central Otago and started his venture. As part of his horticulture efforts , he has got awarded with Business excellence, Winner for emerging business from Westpac Otago Chamber of commerce. Tart cherries have medicinal values as a pain killer, sleeping pill, good for arthritis and even effects for preventing cancer like deadly diseases.  He supplied some samples of Tart cherry fruits, dried tart cherries and Packed (concentrated) cheery juice. While talking with him, I cam to know that, his entire family is very much interested in this business. Spending some golden hours with him, we continued our trip. On the way we visited Elephant rocks. It is a kind of lime stone shaped in various forms especially like Elephants by weathering. It a one of the attractive tourist location in South Island. Some film set was also visible in that place. On the way back to Cromwell, we enjoyed the beauty of the snow from lindis pass. All the Lindis pass meadows and mountains were covered with white blanket.  Around three O clock, we ended our two days tour programmes at Polytech campus. Thank you very much for Alex and Jo for their supports, service and care.  Really memorable and enjoyed a lot.

Monday, 31st August: Compost (Unit-21045)

No need to worry when you hear about compost. We  know the value of this black gold. It is an active part of a farmer – like me. We make compost at our place and use them for all the agricultural purpose. As part of my Horticultural study, toady  I started to learn the technical side of the compost. Composting is the method of speeding up the decomposition of organic materials. As per the basis of compost , nothing is a waste. By composting, recycling the organic matters, reduction of waste going to the lands, saving money, conserve water, adding humus to the soils, preventing pollution and fire and improves the soil organic properties. Humus is the stable part of soil organic matters remaining from the decomposition of plant and animal remains. It improves the cation exchange capacity. Humus has a large surface area  and better water holding capacity. Decomposition  (making compost) process are mainly in two types. One is  with the help of oxygen (aerobic) and mostly happen in the nature. Other process is fermentation – with out oxygen (anaerobic). Air, water and activators are important for compost making.

There was a half an hour video session about compost making has played before lunch. It was really useful one. Roger brought  one bucket (bokashi)  for making compost indoor. This system commonly used for making compost inside the house. Some of us brought some kitchen waste and we filled them in the bokashi bin and kept them for breaking down. In the afternoon session we went to nearby dumping area for preparing a compost plant. We used damaged wooden pallets for making the compost plant (aerobic method) It has four section and one section is separated for dried materials. We used green materials and dried materials in other three sections. Used some activators and saw dust while preparing the compost beds. Waiting for coming days to monitor the breaking down process. Good theory plus practical day. Hands on experience.