Finally, the much talked about “Soils with Rog” is upon us…. Its been an interesting but long few days in class, going over the various types of soils, soils structures and components. We had a closer look at a few different types of ‘Parent Material’ otherwise commonly known as Greywacke, Schist, Pumice, Limestone and Sandstone as a few common examples we looked at. At close inspection, we can see how each of the different forms of parent material is made up/how its structure is different, and how it can affect the overall soil structure for plant growth, nutrient, water and air supply, and much more.
The last three images are the 3 aggregates that help make up the soil and give it structure, whether it be good or bad. This can be a range from clay, clay loam, silt, sandy loam or sand! – those are just to name a few…. jeez! The third to last image is of common gravel, a large aggregate with big micro pores which allow for easy drainage of water and flow of air. Second from the end is sand, this has smaller pores where water and air are stored but water doesnt flow as easily through as gravel material and retains some water but loses most. The last image is fine silt, this retains a lot of water in macro-pores and doesn’t lose too much water through leeching unlike the last two! Needless to say I learnt a lot and found this side of “Soils with Rog” quite interesting!
Everyone who had previously done “Soils with Rog” had said this unit was extremely hard and boring… yet our class is finding it rather interesting as you can tell! Only three or four people have been complaining about the topic but so far the rest of the class is enjoying it! The above photos show Rog digging up some areas of paddock and grass outside the Campus explaining to us how important Humus and organic matter in the soil is – and no its not the food humus!!! Its said ‘hyoo-mus’ ….
This image was taking from Rog’s place looking towards Mt Pisa Range at the different heights of the river terraces that were formed between 660,000 and 100,000 years ago, the lowest one down by the stream being the very youngest with the least ‘soil development’ – meaning no Horizon structure in the soil because not enough weathering has occurred to leech and erode the parent material enough to form the different layers in the soils; which give the soils its structure and fertility. And the top terraces having the most ‘developed soils’, where all Horizons have been formed because sufficient weathering has occurred in order to produce these different layers and give the soils structure. This process takes place over many thousands of years! I find this all so fascinating as you can tell! haha Ive enjoyed my Geology and earth sciences ever since I was 4!
Some more photos….. Lowburn terraces, some soil structures on Rog’s property…. aaaannnnnddd of course Dave!! He was having a jolly great time as you can see…. and was admiring the view of upwards the Pisa Range on more than one occasion…. But in saying that, the bog we were standing in and dissecting with a shovel wasn’t overly pleasing to the eyes and nose! Again typical Dave, just doing Dave things, as Dave does best. Why? Well….. you should all know by now…. because Dave!!
I found some horsies while on the trip! And was lucky enough to get a nice shot of them in the mid-ground of the photo!
Thursday finally rolled around… our last day of prop 😥 Was a good day till it came to an end, no more prop or Kathrine in the nursery anymore! I definitely enjoyed my time working in the nursery and no doubt will be popping back in to say hello again while I do my three year diploma in Horticulture. Below Jack captured a rare sight of Kathrine smiling! Definitely a keeper! Will certainly be missing propagation Thursdays with Kathrine and the gang in the nursery… Thanks Kath for everything you’ve done for us and helped myself and the rest of the class with over the last year and for those who just started!
To begin the day off we did our usual walk-about around the mist bed and glass houses to see how our cuttings and other potted up material were going… everything is going good just like last week and glasshouse 4 is finally starting to fill back up again for the plant sale later this year…. Which I may come back and lend a hand for! Below are the seeds of Cordyline australis, otherwise commonly called Cabbage Tree – A New Zealand native – that some of the class sowed a few weeks ago… they looked rather interesting so I thought I’d share a photo of them!
For the first part of the morning we learnt how to do Lily scaling and how they reproduced, which is from the small base on the bottom of the scales that contains all the growth hormones for roots and shoots. Once we pulled these guys apart limb from limb – VERY carefully!! in order not to damage the base of the Lily scale…. and we then bagged them up in some wet vermiculite and tied them up where they will germinate in the mist house over the next few weeks….. Was certainly an interesting and different way to start off a day of propagation! Very different from what we usually do!
For the second half of the day we did some hard wood cuttings!! …. buuuutttt I kinda forgot to take some photos….. So I might have to take some photos for ya next week… woops haha But our group (Andrew, Jack and I) cut up some Muehlenbeckia astonii – another New Zealand native – to size and put them a hygiene tray which went to the mist house when it was filled up. The last part of the day – since for some of us students leaving this term and it was our last day of propagation, we had to fill out the rest of or prop books… so through much pain, anger, frustration and suffering we searched through Kathrines prop dairy for the last two years to find out what info we needed that we had missed…. took a while but I managed to finish it all by the end of the day…. everyone else wasn’t so lucky….
All and all I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the nursery over the last year with the class and grumpy Kathy, and I will certainly miss it! I’m hoping to come back through and visit during my time doing the diploma so if you guys ( mainly pointed at Kathrine) think youve gotten rid of me…. well well well….. I’ll be seeing you guys around soon! 😀 heh heh
Thats all for this week… I’m sure we all enjoyed the fog that kept us company most of the week…. NOT
Last weeks weather…..