You know that feeling when the dentist is picking through your mouth and not tutting at you and not poking at anything that sends you half out of the chair and you're almost convinced that maybe this time there'll be no work required and you feel all weirdly excited? That's how we felt in early 2012 while we waited for the results of our soil testing.
We knew our dirt was acidic and would need liming but had no real idea about all the other elements that make up soil and in what proportions they'd arranged themselves at Muntanui.
If we re-visit the dental analogy, it turned out we needed a root canal, a wisdom tooth extraction, three additional one-hour appointments and some serious anaesthetic.
We should've had our soil amendments spread in autumn last year but we kept getting distracted by saffron harvesting and livestock emergencies and Farmer Wan working in Oz, etc. The spreading finally took place this year, on 12 June -- a bit too close to winter but again, there were other priorities.
On the day, a nice man rocked up in a big truck, opened a valve in said truck and drove up and down our lumpy paddocks releasing white powder until it ran out. Then he headed away to where his trailer was parked, re-filled, came back and drove around again.
This went on for about an hour. The air was so thick with white dust we couldn't see anything else. The tiniest of breezes sent it wafting down the road to our neighbour Helen's place. She later thanked us for the free fertiliser.
I was working in the tunnel house at the time, feeling smug because I'd had the foresight to wear a mask. It made no difference -- I still ended up with the worst sinus infection of my life. I was sick for three and a half weeks. So important safety tip, people: when your paddocks are being spread with 18.42 tonnes of bacteria-inoculated fertiliser, go and play somewhere upwind, preferably a few kilometres away.
Spring will show us how effective this process has been. We'll probably have our soil re-tested in summer and I'll get to experience that dental chair anticipation all over again. I'm hoping for a quick clean and polish. Fingers crossed.
Posted by Farmer Nik
About Ewan and Niki
Scottish mechanical engineer with a deep and abiding passion for good food. Outstanding cook. Builder of lots of stuff. Cattle whisperer. Connoisseur of beer. A lover rather than a fighter.
Kiwi writer and broadcaster who hates cabbage, even though she knows it's good for her. Chook wrangler. Grower of food and flowers. Maker of fine preserves. Lover of dancing and wine. Definitely a fighter.