One year on (almost)

June 10th and in one month our fruit trees will have been in the ground for exactly one year, although the planning was begun almost two years ago. At times it seems like slow progress with gardening but I think when you step back now and look at all those healthy little trees we can see what a collectively great job we have all done and it is easy to imagine this little beautiful corner of Edendale thriving for years to come and providing  our kids with fruit and not least, the knowledge of where it comes from and how to grow it.

This morning I took a walk around school with my camera to take a few pictures of all the food producing plants we have put in the ground over the last year. Our most recent arrivals are three mandarin trees from Incredible Edibles which we have planted in half wine barrels around the vege garden beds. We have Neal Catty to thank for the wine barrels which he got very cheaply from his employers at Matua Valley Winery out in Waimaukau. Incredible Edibles as usual gave us great prices on the trees. They are called Mandarin Bay Sweetie and they are an easy peel mandarin/tangerine cross. They will grow to 2-3 metres high.

We also planted 8 blueberry bushes out in the big garden bed in the front courtyard. They must be liking it there because even though it is not time for them to fruit, 2 of them are trying to do so anyway. Either that or they’re so stressed they’re trying to reproduce. We shall see.

Our brassicas have been thriving over the last few weeks and I saw some kids skipping home with brocolli and cauliflower yesterday which is great.

People have been asking what the tall posts around the garden beds are for – I think the plan is to create climbing areas for crops such as beans and peas, and also next summer we will try to grow melons, cucumbers and pumkins, which is why they need to be more sturdy than just a few bamboo canes. (correct me if I am wrong Rosemary and Brian??)

Down in the orchard it’s a bit chilly in the mornings at the moment but this has helped our first mandarin to ripen! Did you know that citrus fruit need the chill to develop their beautiful bright colours? And so we have a grand total of one mandarin to share out between us, but since it can be 2-4 years before these trees produce I am happy to get one just as a taste of what is to come.

Finally, I noticed that our blog has been linked to and written about by Very Edible Gardens in Australia. This company was established by our first permaculture guru Dan Palmer, who helped us design our orchard and vege gardens and he has been kind enough to mention us on his website and call our gardens Spectacular!! So I just had to mention that.

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