Showing posts with label nursery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nursery. Show all posts

Monday 20 May 2019

Seed Processing and Cleaning Equipment

Large amounts of seed need to be collected each year to grow native plants for Mt Chocolate.

With 220 different species to grow and plant, getting the right seed and germinating it can be quite a process.

Seed Processing Steps

  • Collection from the right plant during the right month
  • Drying the collected material
  • Separate the seed from husks, stalks and leafs
  • Washing and or cleaning the seed
  • Fermenting fruit mash for 3 days to kill bacteria and fungi at 20-24 C
  • Separate by washing and or cleaning
  • Drying again to a low moisture content
  • Storage in a container at the correct temperature and humidity

Seed Treatment Steps (possible)

  • Soak in water
  • Freeze
  • Heat up
  • Scarify hard seed coats eg Kowhai

Seed Sowing

  • Sow in seed trays and grow pots under cover.
  • Watch for seedlings last week of September.


So after doing this for a few years, I wondered if there was a way to make and use simple DIY equipment to help with seed processing. It turns out there is a way. Large commercial nurseries and crop farmers may process their own seed using specialist equipment which costs a bit.

Searching on Google, there are loads of small scale things you can make in a home workshop that will do the same job. I'm going to have a go. Below are links and videos to some of the stuff I found.

  • Realseeds (has plans for these air separating seed cleaners).
  • Kimseed (specialises in great equipment for labs and revegetation projects in Oz).

Friday 21 December 2018

Mt Chocolate 101

Mt Chocolate is the name given to a 10,000 square meter paddock (1 Ha, or 2.5 acre).

Located on the edge of town in semi-rural Clifton, a suburb in Invercargill, NZ. On one side are houses and on the other rolling farmland.

Mt Chocolate was formerly pasture that had been over grazed in recent years by horses and cattle. It was originally Miro swamp forest that was burned by a major fire in 1905.

The land was purchased on August 1 2014 to build a family home and art studio for the owners Mike & Tracy Peters.

In September 2014, the entire paddock was sprayed with Glysophate to kill all grass and weeds and to expose a mountain of buried rubbiish.

A loaned digger (back-hoe) from a neighbour was used to break up the compacted soil and all buried rubbish was carefully removed. This took 2 years.

Planting of NZ native species began in June 2015 in areas where the damaged soil structure had been repaired.

A native plant nursery has been established on site to grow 200 different plant species using Seaward Bush as the ecosystem template to copy. Seaward Bush is a nearby forest remnant from the original fire and has similar geography, climate, and soil.

The nursery grows an average of 1000 plants a year from seed which are then usually planted in July and August during the winter.

Experimental planting trials are being used to find the most efficient way to establish tall Miro swamp forest. The main experiment is with using the native Poroporo as a nursery species to eliminate competition from introduced grasses. The trials are also to work out timing, the best combinations of species, the most effective use of chemical control, and any feedback loops, etc.

There have also been experiments with plant propagation methods including seed processing, watering, use of pine needles as acidifier mulches, etc.

Visitors are welcome by prior arrangement.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Mt Chocolate Nursery

Mt Chocolate has a native plant nursery to propagate and grow 220 different species to plant at Mt Chocolate over time. The nursery does not sell plants to the public. Though we are happy to swap surplus eco-sourced seed with other propagators.

This year's production target is 2000 plants ready to plant next year.

Currently being grown is;