This was the last week of the term. Final exams have been completed and for most students that’s it for level 4 horticulture. Since I started half way through the year I will be doing terms 1 and 2 next year.
In propagation this week we pricked out more of the lavendar cuttings that have rooted into individual pots and then moved on to seed scarification.
Seed scarification is where you physically damage the seed coat to initiate the germination process. This can be done by nicking the seed with a knife, rubbing with sand paper or other methods of cracking the seed coat.
Kowhai (or Sophora) is New Zealand’s native flower. They flower in August and native birds love them.
The seeds are inside pods. To scarifiy them we popped them out, gave them a rub with some sandpaper. They are a bit difficult to get a grip on so I ended up filing my nails at the same time. Excellent multitasking!
Then they were sowed into hygiene trays, covered with vermiculite and put on the heat bed to germinate.
On the final day we checked our potting mix trial. Tui All Purpose was the winner (far left), with no plant deaths, no weeds and plants growing well. Yates Thrive was the loser (second from right), which was suprising as it was one of the more expensive mixes. It had a couple of deaths and look at the weeds!
In the afternoon we had a final field trip to Peter Brass’ property. He’s retired but you wouldn’t know it from his operation. He’s got two hectares of cherries, a nursery growing all kinds of plants and a paddock full of garlic and potatoes.
He sells his produce and seedlings at farmer’s markets all over Central Otago. He also grows sunflowers to sell as cut flowers.
It was so interesting to see how he’s set this all up. He has such a huge knowledge of plants and growing. I thought it was interesting how he has diversified and gets to do a bit of everything; orchard, flowers, seedlings, food production.
The weather has been extremely changeable this week. Rainy and windy one day, sunny and scorching hot the next. More of the sunny days please!
Last week’s weather:
The last two terms have been great and I have learnt a lot, both practical and theory. I can’t wait to come back next year.