Koanga Members Sea Kale Sale

Sea kale root cuttings available for $12 each plus freight. Each cutting will come calloused ready to plant in tray or pot and in a small bag with damp soil.

CLICK HERE TO BUY

seakale-232This is Elenor holding bunch of sea kale ready to cook for dinner, the stems are great raw!

Kumara Planting Time

It's kumara planting time again and it's not too late to order. It does need to be planted soon though so get your order in quickly if you don't want to miss out! We're busy packaging and sending out kumara tupu each week and orders can still be placed via the website

Kumara are sent out as tupu – small rooted plants grown in a tāpapa bed. As they are sent out as live plants we take great care with them - they are bundled and labelled, the ends are wrapped in damp newspaper and then a bio degradable plastic bag and then they are boxed and posted out.

Although we're starting to plant our kumara now the fantastic thing is that we are still eating last year's harvest. When we started growing kumara it felt like a bit of a luxury crop but now its become one of our major staples. It's easy to grow, stores and keeps well, and, as we grow lots of different varieties, we have different colours and textures to enjoy. We end up eating it most days at this time of year but can vary things by roasting it, boiling it, mashing it or even stir frying it.

If you'd like to read more about how the kumara is grown there is an article here to help you out

The Green Mantle – Kay’s Blog November 4th

Whilst we’ve been focused in the vege garden this past month it has been such a joy to have been watching the forest garden unfold. I can’t recommend more highly actually living in one’s forest garden!   They are so so full of life and everybody coming to Kotare feels that now. My little forest garden of 900 sq m is a microcosm of the whole village which is becoming a large forest garden! Check out the green mantle  that will continue to rise higher with each month up off the ground until the great returning next Autumn!    

BRIX readings begin – Kay’s Blog October 18th

I am very aware that going it without my trusty Environmental Fertilisers fertiliser is going to be an enormous challenge for me this season in my garden. I’m never going to be happy with any vegetables with a BRIX under 12, and that is really only the beginning. I’m also aware that things will be slower to react using only my own compost biochar and foliar sprays, however I do trust there has to be a way through this… we simply do not all have access to fertiliser we have to buy, and it is not along term regenerative solution. refractometer3 So… I went into the garden yesterday at 2:30, a good time to establish as the time to regularly do my BRIX Tests. For those of you unfamiliar with what BRIX is here is a definition, and also instructions for how to use a refractometer to do this testing. Here is also a very good explanation of why it is so critical to learn to grow high BRIX food. I tested my oats first.. they are usually the highest in the garden. Their BRIX was 22, and I have to say I was disappointed, they are often 29! It is possible that because they are now going to seed the BRIX is on it’s way down again, with the sugars now going into the seed, however that is my starting point. I then choose a root crop, a legume, a heavy feeder, and a perennial to follow through the season. Broad beans ( legume)   10 Newly emerging potatoes  (root)  7 Garlic (heavy feeder) 10 Sea kale (perennial)10 All of these are BRIX readings are lower than I would have found if I had planted into Nature’s Garden or Soil Force …. I’m depending on the compost and charged biochar. I have a whole series of things away getting Reams tested now so next week I should know what the garden bed analysis is along with the analysis of all my compost and liquid fertilisers so I’ll be able to decide my path forwards. … This is scary!!!!

Chicken Compost

I love my chickens… they have been in our family now for 30 years or at least this line of Brown Leghorns has been. I taught the Chickens for Eggs workshop at Koanga this weekend with Taiamai and I was reminded of all the wonderful breeds we used to have. I felt sad to think that for various reasons we don’t have the Golden Campines or the Golden Wyndottes we used to have for so long, but Taiamai reminded me that to do a good job of keeping a breed going for the long haul, requires a lot of energy and focus, and we can do that far better with fewer breeds of poultry! Taiamai has Golden Legbars, I have Brown Leghorns and we have Fawn and White Indian Runners, Chinese Weeder Geese and Muscovies. The muscovies sit very early if they are well fed, usually July, then again twice more if they are well looked after it is possible to hatch 3 clutches under 1 muscovy each season. We let them hatch muscovies the first hatch, then use them as our mothers to hatch the chickens and ducks. My forest garden has been designed to provide our chickens and ducks with high protein seeds and berries and the chicken house is designed to be a container for a large compost heap made by the chickens. We throw around 4-6 full woolsacks (fadges) of leaves in there in the Autumn and the chickens drop their manure onto the leaves all winter. It all stays very dry until it warms in Spring then I water it all and fork over and it will compost very fast into beautiful compost for the perennial beds, the berry beds or whatever you need compost for. I only harvest this compost once a year in Autumn when the leaves are falling ready to fill it up again, otherwise it is hard work finding the carbon. I make all the compost I need in the vege garden with the carbon crops I grow in the vege garden but extra compost goes down very well on berries and perennials. There is one key thing that I keep in mind when using chicken made compost.. and that is the Reams Test I had made from our chicken compost a couple of years ago. I’m very aware that to grow nutrient dense food we must apply the right minerals in the right relationships.. and the chicken compost was very very very low in calcium……calcium is key to growing nutrient dense food, and not only is the calcium super low but chicken manure is high on magnesium, so it is critical to add lime, EF:Nano Cal or some form of calcium regularly to the chicken made compost. Options for those not buying commercial fertiliser might be a local lime quarry or simply burnt bones, shells or eggs shells. With the hot Summer days coming on it is time to give your chickens a little extra love to keep them free of pests and keep them laying.