Annie Hope

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since Mar 05, 2012
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Recent posts by Annie Hope

Actually after writing the post, I found these online if anyone
else is looking:  https://homeandsoiltestkits.co.nz/collections/soil-diy-test-kits
4 months ago
Hi, the above link does not work, but I am interested in doing my own soil test - PhD,  Phosphorus magnesium etc.  I am in New Zealand, but if it is available through ebay or Amazon the freight can be reasonable. I have three soil types although I only have 8 acres of sandy loom/.  Very poor ?acidic soil along a sand bank that is a few feet higher than the rest of the flat land.  More fertile lower soil. esp near trees.  Patches of pure buttercup where ground water flooding pooled for 4 months a year ago and I presume all the organic matter feed anaerobic bacteria and went acidic.  I don't want to pay for multiple tests.
4 months ago
In Laura Ingles Wilder's book "Farmer Boy", it has the family taking apples to be made into apple cider that even the young children drink through winter.  In other respects they were strict church-going Protestants, and there is no indication they drank alcohol.  Was this non-alcoholic, and how do you make and store it if it was?  How is this different to making apple cider vinegar?
5 months ago
It is mid spring in New Zealand and despite sharing my two new dairy cows with very healthy calves, I am swimming in milk for a family of two.   My chickens love milk and will eat the cultured whey, and will slowly eat some of the citric acid whey.  The dogs drink any of them but then pee in the house if given too much.   I am ordering the microbes to Make a hard cheese, but I am also looking a separating the milk and freezing the curds for winter for the chickens or dogs. Doing some research, however, it seems that the cheese curds will be mainly casein, and most of the limiting proteins for chickens will be in the whey. I can freeze whole milk, but have a limit in room. I don't have a woodstove with free heating to evaporate milk.   I am wondering about making them into yoghurt and then spreading it in the sun on a cloth to evaporate, hopefully the acid would stop bad bacteria.  (Or evaporating cultured curds)

I am third generation vegetarian, so a pig is not an option.
6 months ago
When we had someone to help pay the freight costs on a tonne, we have used both feild peas and fava beans.  Both I have soaked overnight and sprouted a few days.   I did feed both raw, but now cook my fava beans.  I don't know the research.  Some chickens love them, and some are more fussy.  If you have fussy or young chickens you can put them in the blender - if they are really fussy, then mix them in with wheat or rice etc.

Think also about green protein - depending where you are things like pigeon pea greens, tree lucerne, kale, clover rich grass clippings.  I realise you may be where there is snow part of the year.  
8 months ago
I am getting two in-calf Jersey cows from a local dairy farmer who puts in 90 new Heifers each year and takes out the worst 90 (empties first but then others are chosen).  He is drying them off now, and they should calf in about 6-8 weeks.  I have had an especially wet summer and mild autumn (in New Zealand), and so there is green grass still growing everywhere - probably enough to last the winter.  I have been told to restrict their calories before calving or milk production will be reduced.    This will be hard to do in practice on my pasture.  How important is this?  What sort of milk loss am I looking at?  I guess most people live there is not green grass available through winter, so this is usually not an issue.  I don't expect my pastures to maintain peak milk production yet anyway this coming year.  I plan to build in some perennial high-protein fodder plants next spring.

I should maybe add that it is typical NZ dairy cow that has spent its life on green pasture, but has also had some supplementation - mainly copra meal I think.
11 months ago
I live near the coast where they lowest temperature on record is -4C. (In New Zealand, so we are just starting winter).  Most biannual vegetables will survive outside in winter, and definitely inside a basic greenhouse

What is it that triggers them to go to seed in spring - the increase of light or temperature?  What is the earliest that these seeds can be planted and not go to seed?  If you want a year-round supply, how is this maintained without having a spring gap? Esp my celery and parsley and brassicas. This is one year of biannual vegetables I found:

Beetroots
Brussels sprouts
Cabbages
Caraways
Carrots
Onions
Celery
Parsley
Parsnips
Silver-beet
Turnips




11 months ago
Thanks for all the replies.  Now that it has young tender sprouts, will it freeze without killing these?
1 year ago
A major kitchen cleanup has uncovered a garlic with about 11cloves with 1cm (half inch) sprouts.   It has no sign of roots.  Mum is not sure if she found it in the fridge or outside, and it was store-bought, so it could be cold stored and shipped from USA or China.   It is late summer in New Zealand.  Normally people say to plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest day.  Garlic is something I don't use myself, but would like to grow some for a tiny market garden business I am starting. At NZ$35-70 per kg for garlic, I would love to grow this to several bulbs or bulbils for July or August planting.

Any suggestions?  The internet says they need a month or two at 0-10C to allow for root growth, and then it doesn't matter how hot.  Do I need to put them in the fridge in small pots to make the roots grow, or will the roots grow once they hit moist soil if the shoots are already growing?  Our summer heat is only average max of 23C and average min of 13C.  Should I put them straight in the greenhouse and give them as much heat as possible?

There is also the question of daylight hours.  This may effect bulb production, but will they still grow bulbils in the shorting days autumn?

Anyone been successful with this, or should I just put them in the fridge and see if they last there till July?

1 year ago