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Urban Garden Report August 2014

Urban Garden Report  August 2014 

The big news this month is that we now have our first litter of bunnies from our own breeding stock where neither does nor bucks have ever had industrial pellets to eat. We were concerned at one point that we were malnourishing them because it took the buck longer to mature than usual, and we didn’t know where the problem was , but all has been revealed, we had a healthy litter of 8 kits, and they are growing very very fast and all rabbits look very healthy and fat.

The baby rabbits are under the bundle of fur, that the mother picked off herself to keep them warm.
The baby rabbits are under the bundle of fur, that the mother picked off herself to keep them warm.

 

They have been eating tagasaste all winter but now that it is going into flower they don’t like it as much, and we were concerned about what could be a nourishing diet for a milking doe., without tagasaste at this time of year. We found a wonderful website that gave us the confidence to feed whole grain and another book that recommended supplementing with sprouted grain over winter explaining that in the wild rabbits would be eating sprouted and whole grain over the period after the grain and grass seed naturally falls.

We tried it making sure they also had all their other choices available, and right now that includes alfalfa hay, loads of herbs and greens and peach, willow  and apple prunings as well as small amounts of tagasaste.

They are eating small amounts of whole grain immediately, and I imagine it will be something we feed them in winter or seasonally when tagasaste is not available.

So we are back into our rabbits breeding program and Delila went to the buck yesterday so every 6 weeks a doe will go to the buck which means every 12 weeks each doe will go to the buck giving them far more time to recover and regain their weight and strength than is usually given. Rabbit will be back on the menu again in around 3 months, and if all goes to plan we will have 1 per week for the Kitchen .

This month we brought in 2  pullets to ensure the flock of chickens had both young and older laying hens . Each year we aim to replace 1/3 to ½ the laying hens., to maintain a flock of birds at their peak of laying. The older hens only 2 years old could be eaten or sold as laying hens as Legbars will lay fir many more years.

This month we had the following outputs from the garden, we imagine we can easily treble that nest year by having rabbits available for the kitchen, by doing a way better job of getting the autumn garden in on time, and by having wicking beds set up with cloche covers for more winter growth.

August_2014

Vermiliquid

We also have now harvested and stored around 300 litres of a vermiliquid/rabbits urine mix from the worm farm under the rabbits. I’ve been aware from the past that one must be very careful applying what seems like local, cheap easy to get sources of nutrients to the garden, because I saw in Kaiwaka that it often did more damage than good. This time we decided to get the liquid tested to see what was in it and how we could best use it.

The result  came back showing reasonably high nitrate nitrogen and also potassium, with low untestable quantities of calcium, phosphorous and magnesium. Calcium and phosphorous are what we need , and if we keep putting on potassium we get further and further away from growing nutrient dense food, and sequestering carbon. Grant has given us some ideas about how we might use it so we’re going to work on that and report back next month.

We’ll put no value on that until we know how to use it in appositive way.

We have been feeding worms from the worm farm to the chickens, and the soldier fly farm is now finished and ready to go, and the passive solar cloche almost ready to go… more next month on those.

Hand Over A Hundy

Most of Kane’s energy this month has gone into beginning the process of starting up a Hand Over A Hundy Project in Wairoa. He held the first meeting and we have 13 beginner gardener families and several people for mentors and it will be kicking off in 2 weeks with a demonstration  compost making session and a bed preparation session for all.

We’re following the Koanga Beginner Gardener 40 sq m vege garden in our Urban Garden so September is the month we will be beginning our seed planting. This garden plan is described in our Beginner Gardener Booklet and the seeds to plant this garden are available here. 

 

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