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Over three years ago I began compiling a series of photographs showing the growth of the orchard here. Now 700 still photos later, I have compiled those photographs into a short YouTube video. This was the project that did not really want to happen and everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Even my computer died this evening! I believe the engineer Scotty from the Starship Enterprise summed it up nicely when he said to Captain Kirk: “The engines can’t take it anymore Captain, they’re going to blow!” And blow up they did and now my computer no longer works.
Fortunately here at Fernglade Farm we are undaunted by technical issues and I now bring to you the video: 1,100 days in a Food Forest. I hope you enjoy it!
Fortunately many of the systems here are more resilient than the pesky computer and video software! The raised potato beds received a good dose of additional manure this week. And I must say, I am absolutely astounded at how fast these plants are growing here. This is a before photo:
|The raised potato beds prior to having the additional manure added|
None of those three raised potato beds have received any additional watering and I find that potatoes are happy to grow with just the rainfall supplied by the sky! After the almost cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of mushroom compost was added to the raised beds, they now look like this:
|The raised potato beds after having the additional manure added|
The flower garden on the steep slope next to the potato beds has also commenced. The flower gardens provide plenty of pollen and nectar for the many insects that live here on the farm and they work very hard! Starting a flower garden involves applying manure to the bare clay. Then that manure needs to get established over the next few months before planting it out with cuttings and plants in early Autumn. Getting established is the fancy label for not doing too much to it other than letting it stabilise.
|The steep garden bed below the potato beds was commenced this week with the application of a load of manure|
The drain within the chicken enclosure became blocked up. I had foolishly put a bend in the drain pipe so as to direct the water from the drain onto a walnut tree. The walnut tree died and the drain became blocked because organic matter collected in the bend in the pipe. This week I cut the drain pipe, removing the bend and replacing it with a completely straight section of pipe. Now the water flows out of the drain very well. Toothy can be seen in the photo below lending a hand by consuming some of the organic matter blockage which oozed out of the drain pipe! It didn’t smell very nice to me, but dogs will be dogs!
|Toothy assists with removing a bend from the drain pipe from the chickens enclosure|
If anyone is a bit squeamish, then I suggest to skip this paragraph and the next photo! The organic matter which oozed out of the cut pipe was about three feet long. It was kind of awesome to see!
|The cut drain pipe from the chicken enclosure contained about three feet of solid organic matter|
Speaking of the chickens, they have been assisting with - is destroying the correct word? – the new garden bed near to their enclosure. Aren’t they helpful?
|The chickens assist with digging up the new garden bed near their enclosure|
The wallabies which live on the farm like to destroy things too! One of their favourite things to destroy are roses. I grow roses in hidden spots in the garden and the wallabies are yet to find them! Here is one beautiful rose flower surrounded by herbs including soap wort:
|This superb rose grows hidden among soap wort herbs|
|The rhododendrons are also putting on a great show at this time of year|
Whilst catmint is not as attractive a flower as either the roses or the rhododendrons, they sure do hold the title for one of the best plants to feed the beneficial insects in your garden. Catmint positively buzzes with bees and other insects all day long.
|Catmint is one of the best plants to feed beneficial insects to your garden|
The flowers are all telling a story that the weather has been superb this week and the sun has shone strongly. The orchard in particular is almost dancing with the extra energy provided by the sun:
|The orchard is almost jumping out of the soil with the extra energy provided by the sun this week|
The sun is even reaching into the very shady fern gully that I planted out in autumn. The tree ferns have begun the slow process of unfurling new fronds and you can see new fronds in the crowns of those ferns:
|The tree ferns have begun the slow process of unfurling new fronds|
|Cherries should be the first stone fruit to ripen this season|
Earlier this season the mulberry fruit trees produced really insipid coloured leaves and I believed that the trees were sick or diseased. This week, due to the stronger sun the mulberry fruit trees have turned a more normal dark green colour and the fruit is starting to swell and ripen.
|The mulberry fruit trees are starting to look good after a dodgy start to the season|
The apple trees appear to be producing a bumper crop this year – and many of them are still in flower.
|The apple trees look set to produce a bumper crop this year|
The Asian and European pears likewise seem to be producing a bumper crop. The other day, I spotted this Corella Pear swelling and ripening in the sun and the colour of that fruit looks awesome:
|A corella pear enjoying the late spring warmth|
But nothing beats the Asian pears for sheer quantity of fruit. This nashi pear is a very reliable fruit tree. I just have to remember to net the tree before the parrots get to the fruit!
|The nashi pears are prolific and reliable fruiting trees|