The majority of this week was focused on gaining skills on the tractors and quad bikes. We learnt how to check and clean the PTO connections and hook up implements to the tractors. I looked like a mechanic by the end of the day – grease and oil everywhere!
I can now take the buckets off and on the John Deere and Claas tractors, use the tractors to tow a sprayer (2,000 litres) and mower. The sprayer is 5 metres long so I was a bit nervous about turning at the end of the rows. Luckily I didn’t take out any trees…
On the quad bikes we practiced reversing with the trailers. That was a real challenge for me. By the end of the week I had improved a lot but it doesn’t come naturally to me.
In propagation class we did a lot of cuttings. I went off and collected the material for my cuttings, Hebe ‘Autumn Glory’. It’s a really nice shrub that has purple flowers. Back in the potting shed I trimmed them up, cutting the stem just under a node, cut the lower leaves and all flowers off, dipped in #2 hormone and popped them into a tray with 50% potting mix and 50% pumice. Hopefully they will have a good strike rate.
At this time of year most cuttings would probably be considered semi-hardwood. The new growth from summer has started to harden off but tips might still be a bit soft.
After that I helped Karen re-pot the cuttings she had done previously that have now rooted. There was a pretty good success rate, only about 10 of the cuttings didn’t have new roots. We re-potted them into 10cm pots with standard potting mix.
I checked up on the cuttings I had done last week (Heliohebe hulkeana) and all of them have rooted except for one. Pretty happy with that result!
Last week’s weather: