Christy Ralphs's Blog (30)

Duck Housing

When I first decided I wanted to keep ducks I trawled the net for info

on duck houses. Ducks don't technically need housing, but I wanted to

pen the ducks in during the night, so I could collect their eggs.

Otherwise it is 'hunt the eggs' or, as I discovered, try and get them

before the pukeko do. And pukeko rise early. There is a lot of info

about chicken coops, not so much for ducks.…


Added by Christy Ralphs on September 23, 2010 at 9:48pm — No Comments

Olive Harvest

For me, the olive harvest marks the end of the harvest season here on Waiheke. And nicely timed this year, with the drought just broken (57mm of rain last week at our place!), and the arrival of the first wintry weather. We picked just over 30kg of koroneiki olives on Saturday, which is a very small amount really, and so we are very lucky to be able to add them to someone else's olives to have them pressed. More pictures and info on my blog:… Continue

Added by Christy Ralphs on May 23, 2010 at 7:52pm — 1 Comment

Earth Bag Garden Seat

My garden doesn't have many places for just sitting. It's always been a place for doing rather - so much on the list! But when I was aked if I could provide a project for an upcoming earthbuilding workshop I thought it might be time to rectify the lack of seating.

Over the weekend we hosted some lovely students and their tutors and now have a brand new seat in our food forest area. Full details are posted on my blog:… Continue

Added by Christy Ralphs on May 11, 2010 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Honey Harvest

Meet the latest fledgling beekeeper. She helped with the honey harvest. I love that smile on her face - pure happiness. We took off eight frames a couple of days ago, which will leave about eight frames per hive for

the bees over winter, and a couple extra per hive to put into the

freezer in case they run out - that's a tip I picked up from the bee

club meeting…


Added by Christy Ralphs on March 13, 2010 at 9:34pm — 1 Comment

Future BeeKeepers & First Honey Harvest

I managed to squeeze in quite a lot of bee time over the weekend. On Saturday I took Alex up to have his first proper look at our bees. I picked up a second hand child's bee suit for him and Melina to wear, and

it does look cute. I also thought a six year old boy would quite like being in charge of the smoker. …


Added by Christy Ralphs on February 22, 2010 at 11:40pm — No Comments

Island Gardening

I've started a new blog called 'Island Gardening'. I've been having fun writing about what's producing in my garden at the moment, include the vineyard, berry gardens, subtropical food forest, and bees and ducks. I'm interested in your comments - let me know what you think.…


Added by Christy Ralphs on February 20, 2010 at 9:33pm — No Comments

Berries & more

A rather lengthy garden update because there is so much happening at the moment! We came back from our Melbourne jaunt to find the garden in full production, and a vineyard out of control. M tamed the vineyard over several (very hot) days, while I squeezed minutes (and sometimes even hours) here and there to do all the summer gardening jobs (more mulch, weeding, tying up tomatoes, planting, watering etc etc).

The berry season is in… Continue

Added by Christy Ralphs on December 25, 2009 at 11:54pm — 1 Comment

Hiving the New Bees

I hived my bees last night - the techy description for taking the bees from the cardboard boxes that they came in and transferring them to their new permanent home. Wielded my smoker with a bit more expertise than the last time, only had to re-light once. I'm using pine needles as my fuel as I frequently raid the neighbours trees for my blueberry mulch anyway. Old sacking seems to be the most popular (I'm guessing easiest) but I'm a bit… Continue

Added by Christy Ralphs on November 28, 2009 at 10:16pm — 1 Comment

A Finished Food Garden

Woohoo! It's finally finished! Work started on this the week we moved in, but stalled for various reasons, not the least of which was that it turned into a much bigger project than anticipated. 3 1/2 years later, it's finished. The original plan was that it was going to be my vegetable garden. It's a steep slope, but the only place that is sunny, and reasonably sheltered, that didn't already have someting else on it (i.e. a vineyard). I always… Continue

Added by Christy Ralphs on October 2, 2009 at 10:40pm — 3 Comments


We've got ducks! I must have checked on them about 10 times today, but despite the constant intrusion they seem to be settling in well. We have four beautiful cayuga ducks - three female and one male. They came home yesterday with me via a 2 1/2 hour car trip, then two ferry trips (from devonport into the big city, then across to the island), then the final car trip home. There were a few protest quacks but overall they coped quite well.… Continue

Added by Christy Ralphs on September 30, 2009 at 7:22pm — 1 Comment

A New Food Garden

I've been thinking about this one for a while. It's taken three years to get to here, but now that I've got a definite vision it's quite exciting for me! The basic idea is that it is a sub-tropical 'food forest' style garden, designed with permacultural ideals in mind. So inputs should be minimal with mulch and fertiliser provided as part of the garden.

The site is less than ideal, being south facing, poorly drained, classic… Continue

Added by Christy Ralphs on September 9, 2009 at 9:05pm — 1 Comment

Grape Pruning Tutorial

I've grown to have quite an affection for the grape vine, and like to see them being properly pruned so thought I would post a tutorial. Quite like the idea of a garden tutorial. Mostly the ones I look up online tend to be obscure knitting terms.

If you have a grape vine you've probably already had a go at pruning it (if you live in the southern hemisphere). But I only got round to the one by the house today, which is more typical of… Continue

Added by Christy Ralphs on August 9, 2009 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Asparagus Planting

i've wanted an asparagus bed for a very long time. and today i planted one, that will hopefully last the 20 or so years that they can keep producing. it's occupying a prime spot in what was supposed to be my annual beds. but these beds are increasingly getting taken over by perennials, and i'm okay with that. ultimately more perennials should mean less work. anyway according to the books asparagus likes really good enriched well-drained soil, deep… Continue

Added by Christy Ralphs on July 5, 2009 at 6:00pm — 1 Comment

Garden Update

posted on my journal

Added by Christy Ralphs on July 1, 2009 at 9:16pm — No Comments

Garden Update

posted on my journal

Added by Christy Ralphs on March 28, 2009 at 4:12pm — No Comments

Tomato Seed Swap

Jessicah is organising a tomato seed swap - sign up and you'll get addresses to send some seed to, and receive some other varieties in return. New Zealand wide. Email with your address asap to partcipate.

Added by Christy Ralphs on March 17, 2009 at 2:03pm — No Comments

Garden Update & Building a Raised Bed

garden update on my journal

and pioneer woman has posted some nice instructions on building a raised garden bed

Added by Christy Ralphs on March 4, 2009 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Garden Update

posted on my journal

Added by Christy Ralphs on February 4, 2009 at 9:32pm — No Comments

Food Garden Jaunt Feedback

While it's still fresh on everyone's minds - I'd love some feedback on the jaunt on Sun 25 Jan on Waiheke, to keep a record of what worked well, suggestions to improve etc for when the next one is planned. I wondered if 5 gardens was slightly too many (maybe 4 maximum?) and maybe it would be good to have a sheet of paper with addresses/map on it for drivers to follow. Leave a comment if you have any comments to make! Thanks

Added by Christy Ralphs on January 26, 2009 at 2:45pm — 4 Comments

Ooooby Food Garden Jaunt

pics on my journal

Added by Christy Ralphs on January 25, 2009 at 6:12pm — No Comments

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