Summer Joys and Woes`

It has been an interesting summer for us. Well that is one way of describing it. Certainly the driest year in the 26 years we have been settled in Tasmania,
We have been continually irrigating our row crops with mixed results. It is very difficult wetting sandy soil. The more you water the more likely you are to remove the nutrients that the plant needs. With rainfall the mechanism is different and the nutrients outside the rootzone can migrate back to the plant. We have had a couple of showers one of 30mm and the improvement in growth for the strawberries was impressive. But alas that was some time ago and now it is back to the dry conditions.
The main orchard  is some distance away from the farmhouse and much higher. It is on a north facing slope on sandy soil with hard pan less the a metre below the surface. Very poor soil obvious by the lack of vegetation outside the paddock. Even the bracken is having a hard time this year. Gums trees have also been dying. But inside the paddock we grow apricots, plums, citrus and other trees. The citrus have really struggled with many dying. These are shallow rooted trees and thus much more susceptible to drought. 

Gary picking apricts

the yellow carpet of Apricots

A different story for the apricots. Picked a couple of tons this year versus a negligible pick last year. Quality was very good too. Apricots unlike citrus have a deep root structure as they obviously liked these harsh conditions. There were so many that at least 8 tonnes were left and dropped to the ground. 

Visit Eureka Farm in the Autumn

Leaves on the apricots are starting to drop now.

Leaves on the apricots are starting to drop now.

Autumn weather has come at last. But so far it has been a beautiful autumn with extremely mild weather. (winds still from the north).

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We are still picking strawberries and with the mild

weather they seem to be getting bigger and better. 

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hard to beat home made cake with Tassie’s best icecream and fresh fruit. Always a winning combo

What a nice time to drop in for one of our special desserts. Home made fruit pies or our super fruity Summer Puddings seem to be the winners at this time of year.

Berry fruity crepes are great in winter

Berry fruity crepes are great in winter

Farming

Diego, Mizuki, Robin all Helpz workers doing a great job

Diego, Mizuki, Robin
all Helpx workers doing a great job

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Diego clening the fence and putting netting on top

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the netting installed on one section. several refinements have been made since then

More about keeping the animals out. This is an obsession of mine now as to how to keep the animals out of our orchards. It is been raining a lot lately and I think this has taken the pressure of our orchard. But one or two wallabies getting into the orchard can do a lot of damage. Young trees particularly seem to be targets and strangely not the young suckers on older trees. Once the trees harden up then they are able to survive wallaby attacks but then the possums can still denude them of all leaves but again strangely leaving the fruit so they will die. But generally possums start their havoc at the end of the rows where the damage is very visible and we can do something about it.

So it is the wallabies that you really have to get under control. In the top orchard which is some way from the house I think these animals believe they can behave in an uninterrupted manner. The plan now is to put a barb wire as a top wire and another one just above the 300ml netting which follows the ground. Then I will put in strips of bird netting which can be easily stretched between these two barb wires and the barbs in fact will hold it in position. (pictures above)

We have tested the prototype and whilst it has worked to an extent the determination of the animals when getting out has caused some damage. We now have modified the procedure and put netting on both sides of the wire so that the animals whether going in or out still have to push the netting against the wire and hence then will back off without getting caught.

We have also put a radio on each night which seems to warn the roos that there could be people about. And finally we go shooting every night. All of these measures have gradually made the roos back out of the orchard. I might add that the dogs like hunting in this paddock now that the roos that do get in are more constrained. However they won’t go near the fence and sometimes the roos can still make there escape.

Will update this info as we do more trials.