The Edible Garden: Growing Crops In Your Back Yard

Blog

I live on a 565 square metre property in Wellington, New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere which has a temperate climate. The four seasons, Autumn, Winter, Spring and summer are not extreme as Wellington climate is windy by the sea so does not get cold frosts as locations do in more central areas. My aim in designing my edible garden is to grow fruit and vegetables that we like to eat, but also that produce quantity that can be harvested over a longer period.

I have used a few strategies to grow more varieties in a small space. I have two lemon meyer trees planted in the front garden, one with some wind protection netting as it was getting leaf drop from the cold southerly winds. The lemon meyer usually fruits all year round although it has more growth in spring. Alongside this is the Tahitian Lime tree which is similar with its fragrant lemon/lime fruit. During spring, I water these weekly to fortnightly with a citrus fertisliser. The Lemon tree needs a little fertiliser and often.

I have five Feijoa trees planted along the fence at the front of the section abut 1-1.5 metres apart that will grow into a hedge. These varieties will produce fruit at different times to get a longer harvest time from March to May.

In the back of the section, there are three dwarf Heritage apple trees, specifically selected from the nursery for their reputation as being disease resistant and with benefits against cancer. I will prune these trees so they remain about 2 metres by 2 metres, pruned a vase method. I cut the trees back to just above the knee, where there were three shoots that would grow into three evenly spaced branches.

The four dwarf pear trees at the back of the section were planted one metre in from the fence so they would get sun and are against a post and a 3-horizontal wire system as they grow as espalier trees. These trees were also pruned to about knee height with three shoots – one to each side and one central shoot. The aim is to let the side shoots grow along the wires and the central trunk to grow to the next wire where they will be pruned in a similar way. These pear trees were selected to be where possible heritage trees, disease resistant and fruiting at different times.

At the left side of the garden, two dwarf mandarin trees are growing. Although citrus trees are not commonly grown as espalier, but commonly as a bush, this allows me to grow some citrus where otherwise there would be no space.

Three cranberry bushes grow in the garden alongside the lounge. These will produce small berries, the quantity increasing as the plants mature. In a similar way, two blueberry bushes are planted to grow berries to pick – these are expensive to buy and are not invasive or have thorns as many of the other berry species.

Electric Cars in New Zealand

Blog

Electric cars will start coming to New Zealand in growing numbers over 2018, once Tesla sets up in New Zealand. Tesla will be setting up a dealership, and a supercharger network to enable their range of cars to travel conveniently from one end of the country to the other.

New Zealand is an ideal candidate for electric cars, largely because the electric power grid is around 85% renewables. This means refueling the vehicles will not consume any fossil fuels at any stage of the process. Also and very conveniently almost all of vehicle charging is done overnight when there is plenty of capacity on the network, and an extensive electric vehicle fleet will not add any additional load to the network that requires some sort of expansion.

The early adopters for electric cars in New Zealand are generally the early starters and the greeny types who need to feel that they are contributing to the environment. However once Tesla start selling vehicles in New Zealand there will be a rush, because their vehicles are very desirable for their own sake.

The three models of Tesla that will be largely available in New Zealand will be the Model S, the Model X and the Model 3 which is the smallest and most affordable of the three vehicles. Each of these vehicles are ultramodern, with enormous acceleration from a standing start, super quiet and managed completely from a large screen in the centre of the driving console. Tesla is always improving the vehicles using over-the-air updates, and during 2018 it’s expected that all their fleet will be upgraded for self driving.

Once this happens then the Revolution will be truly unstoppable. Tesla is promising to introduce an Uber-like service but with their driverless cars. The vehicle owner can drive to work and then tell their car via a smartphone app to go off and be a taxi for the rest of the day. Tesla wall managed the entire taxi fleet in the service, and will deliver the car back at the end of the work day after a quick visit to an automated valet, and the owner will find their vehicle in perfectly good condition and having made them possibly $100.

The beauty for the owner is that autonomous driving will be far safer than normal driving and far less likely to be involved in any sort of accident, and the electric drivetrain is expected to last between 5 and 10 times the mileage that an internal combustion engine would last. The only real maintenance needed on an electric vehicle is to change the tires periodically and fill up the windscreen wiper.