Gulf Trees - Waiheke Island
PLANTING NATIVE TREES IS BRINGING BACK THE BIRDS
- 25 June 2015 -
See previous Rakino planting photos here...
BRANCH OUT & VOLUNTEER FOR WINTER PLANTING
- 11 July 2015-
Read more about fruit trees here...
18 Dec 2015 - Apple Trees in Tetley Neighbourhood
" Thank you on behalf of future generations of happy apple eaters."
Rob Morton of Gulf Trees gave us FREE apple tree root stock to be planted in the Tetley Neighbourhood verges. We planted mulched and fertilised them. The Local Board also gave us many other fruit trees which we planted, mulched and fertilised.
Rob showed us how to graft the apple trees. They were all grafted and have taken brilliantly!!
Today we removed the grafting bandages and splinted the new grafts. Now they need more mulch after the next rain. If it gets very hot and windy they may need a bucket of water. Could we all take responsibility for the care of the trees nearest our homes?If you need any help please ring, text or email us.
Lynda & Lindsay Jeffs
SUMMER LIVING - 2014 (Reprinted from Gulf News)
Growing our own food has become increasingly popular with the increasing awareness of where our food comes from. Rob Morton of Awaawaroa's Gulf Trees explains that it's easy when you know how.
Rob Morton of Gulf Trees and his partner Hanne have been running their plant nursery at Awaawaroa for over 20 years. The couple has had a long time to discover what grows well on the island and how to get the best out of different species.
Rob is an advocate of sustainable living and says growing food-producing plants is increasingly important. "I couldn't live in a place that didn't produce lots of food. With a productive property you can live like a king. "I want to know how my food is grown and I want to enjoy growing it. I always feel cheated when I buy produce from the supermarket because I know it is overpriced, lacking in taste and nutritionally suspect," he says.
For those tackling their first productive garden, he suggests taking an inventory of what (if any) fruit trees or vegetables are already in place. A lot of homes on Waiheke have fruit trees going wild at the back of the garden somewhere, so if you've got one tucked away that has been neglected, start looking after it, you'll be glad you did when it starts to bear fruit.
Then it's time for a big clear out. Get rid of weeds, such as pampas grass, ladder fern and honeysuckle. "These have to go, and don't even think of using herbicides," says Rob. "Poisonous chemicals and good food don't go together. I believe gardens - especially food-producing gardens - should be managed organically. The best way is with a good quality sharp spade. If your back isn't strong, employ some young person; it should only take a day or so to get back to a clear section."
The first thing to think about is a vegetable garden. This is should be as big as you can manage, as this is where your daily food will come from, but be realistic. If you can't face a big project try starting small. "Put your vegetable garden in the best position you've got. It should be sunny, sheltered and close to the house so that you can nip out a get a few leaves halfway through cooking," says Rob. "If you can't grow lettuce, silverbeet, beans and tomatoes then you're not really trying."
Good topsoil is a must for a productive vegetable garden and a compost bin is the cheapest way to start improving your soil. "Very little vegetation or food waste should need to leave a property."
Rob's recommended trees for the island include olives, subtropical fruit trees that are prunable and productive such as feijoas and guavas, and vegetable garden staples such as potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes. "With perhaps 10 productive olive trees, you can be self-sufficient in olive oil. It doesn't have to be a luxury product. It is a basic commodity that anyone can grow, and we are lucky on Waiheke that we are able to get olives processed by one of the local presses. Olive trees should be kept pruned to about 4 metres high. Plant them about 3 metres apart and in five years or so you should be in business.
Whatever you decide to plant in your edible garden, investing some time, money and effort at the beginning will soon reap rewards, and nothing beats the taste of your very own vegetables grown naturally in your own backyard.
Put your vegetable garden in the best position you've got. It should be sunny, sheltered and close to the house so that you can nip out a get a few leaves halfway through cooking
Photos Vicki Jayne
"AN HEIRLOOM YOU CAN SINK YOUR TEETH INTO"
By Martin Moore, Waiheke Weekender - 7 June 2012
One of Rob's goals over the years has been to cultivate varieties that are both disease-resistant and well-suited to Waiheke's conditions. This means growers can avoid constantly spraying trees to keep them healthy.
All this effort would be for nought, though, if there wasn't a thriving community of enthusiasts looking to give growing them a go. While large-scale agriculture avoids non-standard items, Rob says there has been a steady market on Waiheke for heirloom varieties for the past 20 years.
Many of the varieties that Rob grows come from old gardens and orchards around the island. 'Waiheke has had orchards for 100 years and some of them are still there. I'm just starting to propagate an apricot from Donald Bruce Road. It's a very old apricot', he says.
Heirloom varieties can be rich in history as well as flavour; the process of gathering seeds, stones and cuttings involves keeping your eyes and ears open for opportunities. The Matiatia peach for example, Rob got from long-time resident Jo Delamore 20 years ago after he saw her throwing a stone out the window and asked her what it was.
I think I need to start finding reasons to visit Awaawaroa Eco Village more often; every time I do I seem to end up eating something delicious.
This time I was treated to a Casimiroa. Looking a bit like a lumpy green orange from the outside, they certainly wouldn't win any beauty contests, and perhaps that's part of the reason why they aren't farmed commercially.
In spite of this they are one of Rob's best sellers and the reason for that is quite simple - they are absolutely delicious. The pale white flesh inside has the soft fibreless testure of ripe avocado.
A recent trip took Rob to Motuihe Island to investigate olive trees which he believes could have been planted there by John Logan Campbell 150 years ago.
After sending olive samples away to be tested, he discovered that one of the varieties produced as much oil per olive as some of the best Italian varieties. After getting permission to take cuttings, he grafted it and decided to call it HinuMaori for 'oily'.