Annie Hope

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since Mar 05, 2012
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Recent posts by Annie Hope

Thanks for the hydrangea tip.

Sorry - my science terminology went a bit wrong - I meant a low PH garden, not low acid.

what application of sulphur do you use to make your soil more acidic (e.g. what form and how much and how often)?

3 months ago
A raspberry is not quite a tree, but I hope this is the best place for this.

I family emergency has meant that our 12 x 24m and 100 plant raspberry patch has been left untended for a few years.  Half is overrun by weeds, and there are still small plants that easily transplant, but where the woodchip went down thick enough, we have a forest of raspberry canes.  It is now early summer in NZ, and so the second year canes are giving us our first abundant crop, and I will cut them in a month when they stop producing, but this year's canes are now a thick forest almost as high as me.  I want to thin them so they are pickable and don't mildew, and also to establish another patch in our "pick your own" paddock.  

They are a first-year autumn and second-year summer variety.

If I cut the canes down about a foot high to move them, what will happen? I am not so interested in fruit this year, but production in following years.
3 months ago

Wondering about a low acid food forest for blueberries on a small commercial scale.  I have the following questions:

- Is this a good idea, our would they be better planted in a woodchip garden bed where they are not competing for soil and can be netted easily.

- Would it be best for them to be the highest plant, or do they prefer partial shade?

- What plants would also go well in a low acid environment?  It doesn't have to be edible.  We also have need for a windbreak, and anything that would be good for animal fodder, fire wood or untreated fence posts that don't rot would also be a useful plant in this.  I have also considered growing a small crop of Christmas trees, so that is one that could go together with the blueberries.

We are in New Zealand, by the beach, so frosts down to -2-3C often in winter, but never more than -4C on record.  We also have summers that average 22C high, and never more than about 30C on record.  VERY temperature zone!
3 months ago

I am basically wanting to make it safe for swimming without using chlorine.  So basically I am trying to turn a round plastic pool in to a small natural pool.  I am mainly wanting to sift out any nutrients carried in that  make grow algae, and also sift or balance the dangerous bacteria.
4 months ago
No - my son's pool that got abandoned during a family emergency for a few years currently has a frog living in it.  I have an old cement laundry tub moved into position that I will set up as a frog pond so the frog has somewhere to go, and then we will turn the pool back into a swimming pool for the New Zealand "summer".  
4 months ago
I am wanting to make a simple natural filter to get back into action my son's 8ft pop-up pool for the New Zealand summer.  (After we make a tub into a pond and relocate the frog in it).  It is 2,300L (600 Gallon) capacity.

I have easy access to river sand, gravel and stones.  Our hottest summer month has an average high of 23C (73F) so it will live inside a home-made greenhouse with lots of stones for thermal mass, and the water will be heated as well.

I am considering three options:

- a simple sand filter

- a basic aquaponic set-up, with heat-loving plants like capsicum - as the water we pump through its roots will be heated

- A water cascade with water plants in them similar to grey water tank filtration (hence this forum but feel free to cross-link if you know how or where)

Which would be best - or should a do a combination of all three, and if so in what order??

Any suggestions or links to really easy ones??

4 months ago
I am in New Zealand on the North Island where very little grain is grown, and straw is usually sold by pre-order before harvest.  But I do have my local tree guy dump truck-loads of wood chip in my pasture.

This includes some fruit trees, but mainly ornamentals, including a lot of New Zealand natives - and often a mix of trees in the one dump.  New Zealand natives are usually a soft-leaf evergreen, as we are in a climate where is is light winter frosts, but not enough to kill the grass, as most land is so close to the coast.  I think they are often also a hardwood.

I have read bits about what type of wood will grow oyster mushrooms and so far have gleaned the following bits of information:

YES - hardwoods, oak, deciduous

NO - fruit trees, pines/conifers

What I am wanting to know is the theory behind it.  Or to make it more simple - if a mushroom grows on the wood, is it OK?  E.G, do they not grow on pinewood, or if you grew it on pine would will it give a bad taste to the mushrooms?

Basically, can I go out to each pile that does not smell of pine/conifer resin and steam a trial batch, and if spawn grows on it, then I know I have a winner pile, and I save it for growing mushrooms?

5 months ago
Have you considered increasing your spores by growing spores in cardboard?  I just came across it last night, as well has how to sterilise grain in jars and increase your own spores that way.  Plan to try it myself so can update.
5 months ago
We are putting in a market and "pick your own" vegetable and fruit garden in a life-style block area.  The paddocks we plan to put these in are at the front of our property where there is a 10m+ wide verge that people often use to go jogging, walking dogs etc.   I thought as a good advertisement for the business I would put in a grazing garden for people that went past to eat based on the following Deuteronomy verse:
When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, but you must not put any in your basket. When you enter your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pluck the heads of grain with your hand, but you must not put a sickle to your neighbor’s grain.

I want to put in plants that people can pick and eat as they go past, but that the birds will not devour first.  
Also want it to be something that people will not be tempted to pick or eat out the whole lot in one go (e.g. grape vine).

It could be fruit or cherry tomatoes or nice greens to munch like fennel.  Is there a cherry tomato birds are  less likely to eat?
I thought cape Gooseberry / ground cherry may be an idea.

Any other ideas?
5 months ago

I am not sure the best place for this topic, but this seems an option.

I am about to establish a wood-chip garden on bare soil, and also have 1.5kg of seed potatoes looking at me on our book case waiting to be planted out (it is spring here in New Zealand).   There are 16 which range between 50-120g (2-4oz).  I plan to keep covering them with wood chip, and spread out sideways later.   I have 8 acres farmland, and about 200 cubic metres of well composted wood chip with more arriving on a regular basis.  

I am trying to decide whether it is better to plant the potatoes whole or to cut them into pieces.  If I cut, I won't be treating with chemicals after.    

WE are in a very temperate climate near the sea.  We have 6+ months of frost free weather ahead at least, and summers average a maximum high of 22C   (71F).  So we have a long growing season ahead of us.

If I cut, we will get more plants, but will each plant give less potatoes?  What would be best n a hgh nutrient environment?

5 months ago