Archive for September, 2009

Spring brings new life

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

We are now the proud parents of so many seedlings I honestly cannot even begin to count how many we have in the seedling trays at the moment. I’ve uploaded some pics of the little blighters to the flickr account and they are under the “Spring 09” set. We had been experimenting with the best was to get the most seedlings germinate from the same amount of seed, and it appears one method stands way out in front when we look at the trays now.

When we were looking for advice on how to start the seedlings, I can tell you everyone had a different way and suggestions of doing things. Here are some of the failures we experienced:
Planting into a tray prepared with half sand half potting mix – FAIL
Covering seed with a very fine layer of sand after sprinkling onto surface – FAIL
Planting individual seed into punnets – FAIL
Planting into straight native potting mix – FAIL

Other than the seed per punnet method, all of the failures were all planted at the same time from the same batch of seed using the same seed application method. We still had some seed shoot from all of these, however on the basis of results for cost and time involved they were miserable failures. A dozen seedlings in a tray is no comparison to 200-300 using what I will now call our best practise method.

The best practise method tray was planted by using an old spice mix jar with a shaker lid (like the McCormicks pre mixed spice rub jars). After filling the tray with pure propagating sand and wetting it to saturation, we mixed a quarter teaspoon of seeds with a half full jar of dried, sieved sand rolling it around rather than shaking it to evenly disperse the seed. By upending the jar and quickly moving it across the surface of the tray we got a fairly even dispersal of seeds, lightly covering them as well as spreading them evenly.

The tray was then watered using a spray pack until we were once again satisfied it was saturated, before moving it to the seedling greenhouses we have built. Daily watering to maintain that saturated state saw seed sprouting in under a week. Once it was clear which method was working best, we replicated this into another 20 trays. Most interesting is these trays had all sprouted before one of the FAIL methods even had a shoot showing.

Update on costs

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Lodging paperwork with the council cost us $561.00

Plantmark supplied us with enough tree guards and stakes to support 1000 trees for $434.87

Total spend is now at $220 729.40

Where oh where does the time go?

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

I hate being on a timescale controlled by other people. Again we find ourselves in limbo as we are waiting for approvals from council, awaiting engineering, awaiting quotes, awaiting final drawings and so on.

Meanwhile the weather in this part of the world is nothing short of magnificent as spring finally shows it is here to stay. With that in mind we have this week planted some 10 000 seeds of red gum and yellow gum, with 2 trays of red gum seedlings now finally beginning to grow well after we planted them in the cold of winter. With some luck and a lot of TLC these will be ready to go in the ground around the start of autumn, giving them a chance to establish before the bitter frosts of winter descend to that part of the world.

I’ve read a few forestry papers that indicate a plant a forget survival rate for these trees is around 80% to 85%. I’m figuring with some watering to establish them and some TLC with clearing pasture growth, fertilising and so on we should get that survival rate will into the 90% range.

It would be nice to think we could have enough saplings ready to plant out 5 hectares of land by autumn.