Last week of Horticulture Level 4

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Frost and fog at Bannockburn campus

This was my last week at Central Otago Polytech! Horticulture level 4 is complete. All that’s left to do is celebrate! And fill in this blog with the week’s activities.

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Practice knot using #8 high tensile wire

On Monday we had a tutorial on fencing. Trevor took us through the basics of lining up a site, positioning posts, wires and how tension and strainer posts work.

For the practical part we tried out some wire knots. The first one was the end post tie off knot (in photo above and diagram below).

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And the figure 8 knot to join two wires together.

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The next topic covered this week was frost. This completes the climate and weather modules. I really enjoyed this topic. Frost is one of the things that can majorly impact your crop with immediate results – and not in a good way! If something goes wrong with your frost fighting system or you misjudge the weather you could lose your whole crop in a few minutes.

Cromwell usually gets around 10 – 12 frost events during spring. This is when you need to have a system in place to protect all the fresh, vulnerable growth. Common methods are wind machines that draw down warmer air from the inversion layer above and overhead sprinklers that freeze water around the outside of a plant, creating latent heat that keeps the plant from freezing inside the ice layer.

Helicopters can also be used to push warmer air down from the inversion layer, but this would be a very expensive way to protect from frost on a regular basis.

Older methods of frost fighting include orchard heaters. Man, do these things put out some heat!

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It is a diesel burner that puts out an amazing amount of heat with the vents all open. You would have them closed during normal use. You need about 50 per hectare to keep the temperature up over the area. Although they aren’t expensive to buy, they do use a lot of fuel so could be expensive overall.

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Me – spur pruning the pinot noir

The rest of the week was spent pruning the last of the fruit trees at the Kawarau Gorge and working on some tools with Trevor in the workshop.

It’s been a great year and I’m so glad I did this course. I’ve learnt so much and am excited to put it to use in the real world. Now on with the job hunt!

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