Posted on

Rootstock Sale

This year we have rootstocks that are excess to our needs in the nursery. As far as I know there is nowhere else you can buy organically grown rootstocks for apples and pears so be in if you are keen to grow your own apple or pear trees. The rootstocks will need to be planted in the ground this winter when you get them and then grafted in situ in October. Alternatively they could be budded in Summer. Both ways it could be possible to get heritage scion wood or bud wood from us.

Rootstocks are $5 each and are available only in bundles of 10 or more.

We have available:

  • Apple Rootstocks
    – Northern Spy large tree suitable for heavy wetter soils ( 45 available )
    – 793 large trees better on free draining soils but a very flexible stock ( 35 available) in bundles of 20 or more only
  • Pear Rootstocks
    – M9 dwarf stock, trees great for espaliering and cordoning, or staking to grow as a stand alone tree.
    – Quince BA 29… produces dwarf pear and needs heavier wetter soils to do well.. also in bundles of 20 or more ( 15 available)
    – Quince C super dwarfing tree suitable for cordoning pears in tiny urban situations (30 available)

Please email your orders to [email protected]

Posted on

Creating a Resilient Future on Your Land

All around us now we are hearing of wonderful ways to help create perennial systems that support regenerative, resilient , farming and agriculture and the back bone of these systems are trees. Here at Kotare Village are we planting perennial pig and chicken forage paddocks and we are designing living fences for our animal systems and one of the key trees for us and in temperate New Zealand is the hazelnut tree. Hazel nuts are ‘mast’ trees, they serve many functions including dropping super valuable food/nuts for many many other animals and for humans, as well as providing firewood, and material for charcoal, building materials etc etc. This link shows you well how hazels have been used in the past and their potential for the future. We have planted them in our animal forage system so that they can be coppiced on a rotational basis, and this winer we will be planting our first living fence line of them. We have a large number of high quality hazel seedlings from known trees producing high quality nuts available for you to order NOW from our nursery so that you also can begin this journey of creating resilience on your land..

Photo Credit: Mast Tree Network
Posted on

Fruit Trees- Pest and Disease

Every year we have people emailing us with pictures of either pests or diseases on their fruit trees and asking us what the problem is and what they can do about it.
The most common problems are:
1. Pear Slug, usually in November/ December as everything warms up and the pupate comes out of its case in the soil to lay eggs on the host tree.
Looks as though a gross black slug is eating layers off the leaves, leaving just the lacy veins.
2. Silver Leaf, which appears on the first flush of growth in spring, disappears again until late autumn and then appears again. Silvery leaves.
3. Bronze Beatle, damage (holes in leaves eaten at night most often but also in the day time).
Infestations occur by bronze ladybird-like insects, which live in long grass and attack trees in times of water stress mostly in November/December.
4. Leaf Roller, usually on apples in summer.
Leaves on new growth are rolled right up with caterpillars inside the roll, which eat the leaves as they hatch.
5. Cicada damage, zip like marks on the bark of main stems and branches that are actually the places cicadas lay their eggs. These hatch into larvae which eat the cambium layer of tree, and weaken the tree in that place, also in times of water stress, the worse the stress, the worse the damage.
6. Bacterial Blast, lesions on the trunks and branches of stone fruit where gooey sap oozes.
7. Leaf Curl, bubbly redish colour leaves usually occurring on the first flush of growth in spring, most often disappearing with second flush, usually mild but occasionally serious.
8. Die Back, where the tips die back sometimes, with the tree not getting bigger in the first year after planting. Usually occurs because the tree was not pruned before planting, and it was not planted with enough care and/or not watered well enough, also water stress.

9. Codlin Moth – As we are learning through the science of biological agriculture and epigenetic, our plants and animals and humans will only attract pests and diseases if they are out of balance and not resonating at their best functioning level. Pests and diseases are nature’s way of cleaning up the rubbish!! Apple trees get all kinds of diseases and pests and almost all of them are because the mineral levels in the ground are not optimal, and most are because of a lack of available calcium. Put the focus on soil health and ecosystem health and your codlin moth will disappear.. that is the only regenerative way I know of to  deal with such problems, this is why forest garden support species are so so important, they are the species that mine the minerals our heavy feeding trees need, and so we can wean ourselves off fertilliser

Genetics and Environment:
Over the years I have come to understand that tree health is just like my health, is just like my chicken’s health etc. Health is determined by genetic strength, and environment.
That means we need to plant heritage fruit trees.
Heritage trees are the only trees we have that were selected and grown to be strong and healthy and high brix without chemical industrial inputs… they have the best genetic strength, so long as we are careful about the selection process.
On top of that we must supply them with the minerals they need as well as the right amounts of air in the soil (50% ideally) and also the correct amount of soil moisture to avoid root stress and to enable the trees to pick up the minerals at all.
If we don’t do any one of these things pests or disease issues will undoubtedly result at some point in some form.

My suggestions are:
1. Follow our suggested tree planting guide on the website. The air, the minerals, and the moisture are all critical.
2. Only plant what you can take care of well. One tree well taken care of will produce more fruit than 10 trees that do not get their needs met.
3. If you didn’t do that, get advice as to the best way to achieve a similar result. It may mean you have to feed your trees well each year with EF Soil Force or EF Nature’s Garden, get a Reams soil test etc.
Find a way to water over summer.
Foliar feed in the short term.
4. And lastly there are short term ways to deal with the symptoms of stress, i.e. pests and diseases. My current choice is spraying our EF BioPesticide which is entirely composed of beneficial microbes, which helps create an environment that supports the trees, keeping bugs and diseases at bay. It will heal silver leaf, leaf curl, and everything else, so long as you also pay attention to the moisture levels and the minerals, the air levels and possibly the drainage.
There is also neem oil and several other acceptable options, see our website.
5. Check out our website for all
fertilisers and soil tests mentioned.

Posted on

Planting Fruit Trees

Koanga Tree Planting Instructions

• The aim of these instructions is to make sure you end up with a strong healthy tree that grows a main frame fast and is capable of producing high brix crops for many years.
• Dig a hole 1x1x1m for each tree, that is a 1 cubic meter hole for each tree. If you are on heavy clay or soil that does not drain, you will have to put drainage out the bottom of your hole, and if you are unable to do that you may have to build your tree space partly up above the existing soil surface.
• As you dig out the soil, separate topsoil from subsoil.
• Mix your top soil 50/50 with compost. You must use high quality aerobically made compost – that excludes all the municipal compost available in shops as far as I know, you have to get organized and make it yourself, or you could use well composted hay or well rotted bark etc.
• If you have your own compost, and it has been made aerobically using high brix plant and animal ingredients, and you have also added minerals (especially calcium and phosphate), and seaweed, then you may not need to also add fertilizer. I would suggest you still add paramagnetic rock dust to get the current flowing and things moving.
• If you don’t have high quality aerobic, highly mineralized and biologically active compost, we suggest you add 5kg of EF Soil-Force mixed throughout the topsoil/compost mix, or sprinkled in layers throughout the hole per tree. EF Soil-Force contains Sechura R.P.R. (soft rock phosphate) and provides available Calcium, Phosphorus and trace elements which are composted with Humic Acid, fish protein, 4 different seaweeds, Lucerne Dust, animal manures and a highly paramagnetic Basalt Rock Dust (CGS4400). It is also inoculated with beneficial bacteria and soil fungi (e.g. Azobacter, Trichoderma, Bacillus Subtillus and Bio-Vam Mycorrhizal fungi). Leave this mix for 3 weeks before planting your trees.
• Plant your tree into the hole so that it is sitting in the soil at the same level as it was in the nursery or pot previously, and making sure it is on a small mound, so that as the soil in the hole settles your tree will not be in a hollow!
• Your tree will also grow better and perform better if you plant it so that the strongest roots face into the South. Trees roots will have aligned already in the nursery with the magnetic field of the earth, which means the strongest roots will face south, so if you can also plant it facing this direction, your tree will perform better and be happier! All Koanga fruit trees have a paint dot on the North side of the tree so you can also check how to plant it.
• Make a berm at a radius of 1m around the tree to hold all the nutrients, mulch and moisture inside it. You may have to breach this berm in the winter so that it does not hold water inside and drown the tree! After year 2 it won’t be necessary to maintain the berm.
• Sprinkle another kilo of your top class compost out to 1m radius all around the tree or inside your berm, and mulch heavily to suppress weeds over the Summer or sprinkle 500g of EF Soil-Force to a radius of 1m all around the tree or inside your berm, and mulch heavily to suppress weeds and help maintain moisture over the Summer.
• Tree roots are like water pumps, one of their jobs is to pump water up into the tree branches, after planting the trees you must prune them back so that the short roots can support the size of the tree, if the tree is not pruned back, the roots could not support long branches and those will die back. Prune the trees so that when they re-grow they develop branches and growth where you want it- thinking of the main frame you want your trees to have years from now.
• Continue feeding your tree on an annual basis each Autumn after the rains come, using either highly mineralized composted animal manure, or high quality highly mineralized compost, or EF Soil-Force, or other suitable biological fertilizers.
• Our advice is to plant only as many fruit trees as you can take care of in this way. Your rewards will outweigh the effort required!
• PS: We use Environmental Fertilisers products, however the most important thing is to choose minerally balanced and biologically active products.

Posted on

Simple structures for getting seedlings going early in Spring

This spring (2014) Bob and I decided to take the plunge and spend no money on food this year.

In some ways it’s quite scary, because we have only been on our current garden site for 2.5 years, and the orchard is barely producing…. However it feels like time, and we have any amount of beautiful raw milk, amazing eggs, and meat as well as vegetables. We’ll be doing more wild fruit/nut  harvesting this summer, and we’ll be taking very good care of our bees and stevia plants, and making better use of the solar drier.

In the mean time, spring is a challenging time to begin such a thing because it is the leanest time of the year in the garden and orchard.

I immediately began thinking of ways to get a few of our basic summer crops producing earlier than usual here. Our winters are cold with many very heavy frosts that can be brutal. Two springs ago we had a frost on November 30th and another in March. Not long enough to get a good tomato crop in or to keep pumpkins etc.

My favourite garden structures man is Elliot Coleman, who has written many organic gardening books and I like his style, he is into Biointensive, uses hand tools and does a beautiful job, and he is especially good at getting year round vege in super cold conditions using simple structures. Four Season Harvest is his book especially about doing just this. His main theme is that every layer you place over your crop, takes that crop 1 climate zone warmer… and he shows us how he does it in Maine in 30 below. He actually earns a living selling fresh salads all year round in that climate.

We don’t get 30 below, but I would like to have tomatoes for the Solstice and courgettes in October, and loads of tomatoes over a long period for saucing etc… and eggplants and all those summer vege that need long warm growing periods.

I don’t like expensive structures, and I do like appropriate  technology!

My priorities are

  1. To get courgettes (Crookneck squash are way by far my favourite in a small garden. Gail will say her favourite is Long Green Bush Marrow because they not only taste good as courgettes but also as marrows!) as early as possible, my storage pumpkins will be gone by September. We only really need 1 good courgette plant, so I’m going to get somebody to help me build a cold frame… I’m going to copy Elliot Colemans design: wooden sides with a glass top that can be lifted and held up on hot/warm days. That is a start, but I still need to actually germinate the seed and grow the  seedling to 1 month old before it goes into the bed. I have a plastic cloche on a wooden bench, which we planned to turn into a passive solar cloche this Spring, (we still might but in the mean time I thought OK each layer of cover takes us up a climate zone and I covered my trays of early seedlings with bubble wrap plastic at night, inside the plastic cloche, (actually wrapped the trays right up in the plastic by placing the bubble wrap on the bench so that the trays sit on it and then around and over the top and tuck it in under the front edge at night) and left it on in the day time if it wasn’t hot and sunny. Each day I check them out and it is really clear that it has made a big difference to the warmth in the seed trays, even in heavy frosty nights there is still a little warmth in the morning.Then I remembered that a friend starts his seedlings off in deep trays that have 6 inches/25cms of fresh horse manure under the soil, then I thought, why don’t I place some boards around the cloche bench and fill the bottom of the cloche with 20cm sand, a heat sink that will heat up during the day and release heat at night to even out the temperature. Making life for tomato and pepper and eggplants seedlings possible in August in a cheap plastic cloche for no cost in the frost. Heavy enough frosts to turn all the flowers on a 30 year old magnolia black!!!!
  1. My second priority is to get some tomatoes and bush basil in and producing by Xmas… I have planted Henrys’ Dwarf Bush cherries, (also excellent croppers over a long period, and super tasty, great for children’s gardens too, or growing in pots or edges) which only grow to be very very small bushes, easy to cover with a cold frame and the same with the Basil. I will use a 1 sq m cold frame once they are ready for the garden, (25 tomato plants and a few mini basil plants) and will see how I go growing seedlings in my cloche with a sand bench, and bubble wrap plastic inside the cloche. If Bob gets back in time it may even get the water filled barrel greenhouse underneath the sand bench.
Bob's sketches
Bob’s sketches
  1. My third priority is to be able to plant out my pumpkins, peppers and eggplants early enough to have a long growing season and high quality long keeping pumpkins, and good crops of peppers and eggplants. My main effort will go into getting the soil in top condition because the more you have the right minerals in the right relationships the faster your plants grow and the higher the quality is the better they will keep. That is of course and ongoing process but were making god progress there (my next blog will describe that journey of  growing soil) secondly choosing cultivars I know are relatively reliable in a short growing season. My choices are Delicata squash, very early maturing and keep until May. Buttercup, my old favourite  and it keeps until June. (Gail would say Red Kuri and it is an amazing cultivar, sweet like Buttercup but not as dry,  in fact I’m going to grow some of them this year too) Then for long keepers I like Butternut because it keeps so well, tastes so good and is always reliable. (Chucks Winter is my ultimate long keeping butternut type pumpkin but it needs a longer season than we have, best in the warmer parts of the country. Then it’s good to have some variation when it gets to June, July, August and pumpkins become daily fare so Crown will be my choice although quite boring compared to Hopi Grey, which needs a good long summer but is amazing to eat, and Grey Hubbard, which I haven’t grow enough to really know it  etc. Crown is reliable, high quality flesh and a super god keeper.OK so I’ve got that part all sorted, the seedlings will be grown as my others on the fancy cloche with a 20cm sand bottom on the bench, and if necessary bubble plastic to germinate them, and they will be grown in there until they are good size seedlings. At that point, around Labour weekend, I’d like to be able to plant them, in the garden, and to do that they will need protection. I’m going to use my old tried and true system of covering the beds with hops and making an on the bed plastic cloche, way way easier than cold frames which are heavy to move around and expensive etc. I will use my old recycled metal cloche hoops we’ve had for years, place them 1m apart along the beds, cover with plastic leaving enough at each end of the bed to bunch it up and peg down with very strong pegs made of bent (in a vice) concrete reinforcing, and then place over the top of the plastic more hoops in between the others. This top layer of hoops means you can get tension on the plastic and so open the cloche as much or as little as you like each day depending on the weather. Tension must be kept on the plastic and you need the heavy pegs at each end to do that. I’ll have 2 x10 m beds of pumpkins covered, and another on my rock melons and early cucumbers, and another 10 m bed of peppers (My favourites for flavor are Yugoslav paprika. And Sweet Chocolate, and in the far side of the garden so they don’t cross or make my sweet peppers hot I will grow Hungarian Yellow Wax and Jalapeno, so I have hot frying peppers and hot peppers to make fermented chilli sauce) and eggplants covered as long as need be. I have all this gear stored away and it gets used year after year, so is not a great cost.

 

Posted on

Get in quick for the last of our available trees!

We have a limited amount of trees left for this season, check out our available trees and head on over to the store!

Images below of some of our favourites!

Greens Special Peach Tree- great for bottling, very nutritious and great flavour!
Greens Special Peach Tree- great for bottling, very nutritious and great flavour!
Little John Plum Trees have a red flesh and outstanding flavour. Ripe for picking early February.
Little John Plum Trees have a red flesh and outstanding flavour. Ripe for picking early February.
Batley Peach Tree. Batley peaches are amber fleshed peaches with a green skin turning honey coloured when ripe. They are late peaches and are the most incredible flavoured and textured peaches ever.
Batley Peach Tree. Batley peaches are amber fleshed peaches with a green skin turning honey coloured when ripe. They are late peaches and are the most incredible flavoured and textured peaches ever.
Matakohe Peach Tree- yellow peach, buttery and amazingly sweet!
Matakohe Peach Tree- yellow peach, buttery and amazingly sweet!
Grow your own Winter medicine. Adam Elderberries are great for any chest and lung issues.
Grow your own Winter medicine. Adam Elderberries are great for any chest and lung issues.
Marabella Plum Tree, very reliable, large crops and hints of almond when bottled.
Marabella Plum Tree, very reliable, large crops and hints of almond when bottled.
Posted on

White fleshed peaches – delicious and nutritious!

Everybody who has eaten the old white fleshed peaches knows they are the best!

Not only do we know they taste the best but Jo Robinson in Eating On The Wild Side  tells us that is where the nutrition is… they are more nutritious than yellow fleshed peaches.

Mary's Xmas, stunning white fleshed peaches ripe for Xmas

Our River peaches  are the original peaches that came from Tibet, and are the same peaches that are grown in Kazakstan and all over Central Asia, they are genetically  stable and grow true to seed. They came to this land with the very early ship captains  and we had  large peach orchards at least around Northland when the first missionaries arrived.

They have now  been through a process of human and natural selection for over 150 years and here at Koanga we believe they are way the best peaches around. They are not great for commercial production because they have have not been selected to keep for long periods , and often bruise easily, and sometimes don’t even look that flash… but they are awesome for home gardeners and people who acre about their health….. they  taste the best, are the easiest to grow organically by far, have the heaviest crops and are actually able to nourish us.

We have a wide range of these ancient super special white fleshed peaches for sale right now, (along with a  wonderful range of other heritage fruit trees also selected for home gardeners…..)

You can plant these bare rooted trees for another 6 weeks. We have a range of them that cover the entire peach fruiting season from late November through to late march. They are the real deal… the best peaches in the world,  if you don’t have one in your garden you are missing something very special.

 

Posted on

Soil Food and Health Internship – Did you get what you came for?

Soil Food and Health Internship 2013

Food Forest  focus

 

Did you get what you came for?

 

After reading about forest gardens prior to embarking on my internship here at Koanga, I had a lot of theory and much less practical experience.

This forest garden internship has met my expectations in more ways than I thought.  Although, I still had to spend time in the food and seed gardens for part of the week, there was heaps of practical application and time spent immersed in the forest garden and nursery.  Within the 10 weeks, both theory and practical application enriched my understanding of the forest garden design process, especially pertaining to how to meet the nutritional needs of plants and trees within such a system without using chemical fertilizer applications, but using, essentially, companion planting instead.

After learning about how to find heritage seeds and trees, how to propagate by cuttings, get them to root and then grow the cuttings in starter beds, how to store scion wood, root stocks, tree guilds, forest mimicry, grafting, transplanting, nicking, budding, pruning and fertilizing (with minerals) I could grow just about anything I set my heart to!

The forest garden internship definitely provided me with a solid foundation to either take on an already existing project or establish my own project from scratch!

Thank you for all of the valuable information and experiences!

 

– Cody Kerr