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Sun, 29 May 2011 – Field Day at Wai Wurri Organics with Kris and Terry

We established Wai Wurri Organics in 1987 when we put down the concrete floor of a workshop in November 1988 - we are still living in it! We have planted nut trees, fruit trees and supplied the locals, friends and family for over 2 decades. Our intensive vegetable cropping is now reducing, and more time is needed to concentrate on less energetic activities.

Half of the 38 ha is under Open Space Covenant and has been trapped since about 1990. Some of the land is flood prone so it's difficult to use for horticulture.

Intensive commercial bee-keeping in the Kaitaia area has unfortunately robbed our bees of their/our honey and twice they've been starved out and died. Starting over has been exasperating and tested our patience over the years.

We are passionate about conservation and Terry has negotiated with Northland Regional Council to provide traps for our FNOG members – these will be available on the day.

On the day

After speaking to us a few years back, our guest speaker, Andreas Kurmann had some timely reminders for both older and new members about soil health. It's the time when we think of resting and replenishing ourselves as we come into winter (as if – here in Northland!), and of doing the same for our soils. Here are some bullet points from his talk.

  • Artificial fertilisers are inorganic. NPK, urea, Super Phos, ammonia, Nitrates and phosphates affect soil organisms and leach into waterways. (Lake Taupo is in danger of dying due to chemical leaching).
  • We cannot over-fertilise gardens with organic material, but minerals may not be available for some time.
  • Waste material good to use: sawdust, avocado waste, kiwifruit, olive waste, persimmon. All need fermenting with hydrated lime before using. Saw dust will draw out nitrogen from the soil if used "fresh". Placemakers sell 25kg bags of hydrated lime with a very high alkalinity (14) which works 7 times faster than quarry lime. Rudolph Steiner used it 100 yrs ago.
  • A base saturation of 75 to 80% reduces leaching, consisting of 60-80% calcium 2-5% Potassium, .5to5% Sodium and 12- 18% magnesium. This ratio ensures no loss of soil organisms. Phosphate and sulphate need to be maintained. Balanced & the microbes have the correct diet, incl. adequate pH.
  • CEC is governed by soil type. Good organic composted soil can be 60% or more, whereas a very sandy soil will not get last 10%. Ideally we would like a very high CEC, however the biology could functions very well with a CEC of 20.
  • Speeding up composting: ATAD = Autogenous Thermophilic Aerobic Digestion. 36-48 hours usable 45 – 80 degrees in heat. Kills E-Coli.
  • Vermi-composting. Mesophillic 25 – 40 degrees is ideal for worms. They will work down to 12 degrees. Double nutrients by normal composting.
  • Ethanol path – use fermented liquid from above. Distil it. There is a good amount of potassium.
  • Algae production – need CO2 from ponds. Put into a bio-reactor in controlled temperatures.
  • If throwing coffee grains on the garden, dry them first as they will go mouldy. Slugs and snails hate them. The grains provide nitrogen, but need to be balanced with other products.

The Tuturu Fodda Fertilisers are made with the desire to recycle useful products, e.g coffee grounds, great for gardens as high in nitrogen and a deterrent to slugs and snails. Andreas did an analysis, then there was the blending with a purpose built blender. It took one year getting packaging and branding right, and the end product is perfect for the worms and microbes. Reported results are proof of its value.

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