The BOS Ice Tea management team spent a glorious winters weekend on the farm. The original plan was to do some planning but this was quickly and sensibly replaced with long hikes, warm evening braais and the occasional dip in the icy Klipopmekaar river (only for the brave!).
The early winter rains followed by warm weather and easterly breezes have resulted in the early flowering of thousands of beautiful veld flowers. It was wonderful to see the two species of wild Rooibos … both the seeders and the sprouters growing and sprouting following last years veld fire. These pioneer plants were in abundance and promise a great wild harvest for the next few years.
The early rains have also assisted us in planting over 60 hectares before mid-June and we hope to plant another 50 hectares before the end of winter in late August. Planting early is always a bit of a gamble as the follow-up rains may not occur fast enough or winters frost may impact seedling growth.
Good Tidings For Our Crop, and Planting Machines
So far so good: the 500, 000+ seedlings planted have taken root, received two follow-up rains, and are due for another good rain later this week (if you believe the weather genies!).
In order to expand our planting capabilities, we’ve been experimenting with a new Checchi & Magli seedling planting machine. Its a little more sophisticated than our existing machines, but after a few adjustments we figured it out.
It definitely makes for more consistent spacing but we’ve found it doesn’t handle smaller seedlings as well as our other “more manual” planting machines. The new machine also needed some customized weed clearing blades attached, because as organic farmers, we don’t spray our planting rows with herbicide prior to planting.
The whole BOS team is planning another trip to the Cederberg and Klipopmekaar in August … perhaps some exciting white water rafting on the Doring River will be added to the itinerary if late winter rains fall. Hold thumbs!
Image courtesy of Dave Evans.