Home' Waiheke Weekender : 5 July 2012 Contents 5 July 2012
8 Waiheke Weekender
Tis the season to be pruning, tra la la la la... at this time of year I
can't seem to get rid of this little ditty out of my mind. I start think-
ing about pruning a few weeks in advance, mostly because of the
not so small job of 2500 vines that are awaiting my attention.
I always enjoy the start of pruning season. There is something
satisfying about creating order out of chaos, and readying a plant
for another growing season. There's also beauty in the bare form
of a vine or a tree, without it's usual adornment of green. The bare
bones of a tree or vine contrasted against a bright blue winter's sky
are one of my favourite visual memories of this time of the year.
The vineyard has frst priority. After the initial 1000 or so vines
my enthusiasm does wane somewhat. Our vineyard may be one of
the smallest on the island, but it can still be daunting. I take my hat
off to those with much bigger blocks to manage.
I take pride in my pruning skills in the vineyard and am perhaps
a little overprotective of my vines, letting no one else make the
main cuts. I'm happy to have help with pulling out the canes
though. I always manage to get a least one decent fick in the face
with a cane as I'm pulling them out. If you're careful I
may possibly let you help wrap the canes left on to the
wire. Even I break off the odd one by mistake, but am
always unhappy when I do.
My berries on the other hand take very little skill
at all. My preferred method nowadays is simply to cut
down all the raspberry canes almost to the ground. If
you leave a few standing, you will get some earlier
raspberries, but I have decided that it is not enough to
be worth the extra effort -- and the necessity to also then
net the berries earlier. The boysenberries need a little
more care, cutting off last year's canes that fruited, and
then tying up the newer long canes grown last season.
The bush blackberries I have to psyche myself up for,
as they have vicious thorns which take no prisoners.
I'm not sure if I've ever actually planted seeds at this
time of year before. I had a look back through last year's
garden diary and there is a big gap between May and
September, although I'm sure I actually did do some
gardening during this time, apart from the pruning.
I've optimistically sown some pak choy, as I've a
hankering for some stir fries and this is supposed to be
quick growing. I rather suspect they don't mean in the
middle of winter though.
I've planted a row of seven elderberries along the top of
an orchard area. These were grown from cuttings taken
last year. I initially took about 50 cuttings, anticipat-
ing my usual erratic cutting take rate, but I think every
single one survived. There’s since been a steady fow
Above -- A favourite activity for the children after school
at the moment is to head off into the orchard, feed the
ducks and chooks and then raid the citrus trees. Alex
and Melina with the day's haul.
Musings from an island kitchen garden
Tistheseason. . .
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