Just an update. As I said in the last post we had rain on the weekend. Whilst this could cause disease in the fruit trees such as brown rot it meant that the fertiliser I added last week got soaked in the ground.

Ideally you should add orchard fertilisers in the dormancy period so that the soil has time to absorb these nutrients. One can happen is that surface feeders get an imbalance of nutrients as they are too close to the fertilisers and this can cause serious problems. So the rain just helps accelerate the distribution.

Lisa sidedressing strawberry rows with compost

I also had a truckload of dolomite delivered. The problem with getting fertilisers to Scamander is the freight component. This applies to everything we get delivered and increasingly it has affected our profitability. It not only applies to deliveries of raw materials coming to the farm but also to sending fruit and other products away. For example we have almost given up on sending our apricots interstate as the freight is too much and the value of apricots too low. Even a high value product like cherries is having a much harder time selling its product on the mainland due to the gradually decrease in its selling price.

Getting back to the dolomite the pH in many  paddocks has been dropping. It was still just ok in most places but not so with the newer paddocks across the river which were cleared after the bushfire. This area has really only had one spreading of dolomite and that was probably almost 4 years ago. The soil tests showed that the pH was 5.5 and visibly some species of grass had disappeared that we managed to establish 3 years ago. Also this year that paddock has been waterlogged due to poor drainage and runoff accumulating in certain areas due to the layout of peripheral roads.

One of my aims this year is to get the pH of this paddock up to about 6.5 and to shape the ground by ripping and grading so that drainage and runoff problems lessen. I will need this paddock in future years for more strawbs.