Micheal Keenan Interviews Jackie O'Reilly fo SA Life!

Destination Flavour - Oreillys Orchard Organic Produce!

O'Reilly's Orchard

O'Reilly's News - June 2005

Stubble quail are often seen frequenting the orchard...usually though when they take flight, in fright upon one's approach.  If you stand still on such occasions and cease any noisy operations you may spy one cowering in the long grass almost perfectly camouflaged.  Very occasionally I will spot them going about their daily business, seemingly oblivious to my presence, and this week I spent 10 such charming minutes, enjoying the sunshine and watching these little creatures and I felt such joy that they are able to co exist with us.

South Australia officially recorded it's driest Autumn on record and I think it was pretty close to it's warmest as well.  Winter pruning has begun and now that some rain has fallen, we have begun tackling some of our weed control projects as well.

Cleaning up the summer veg. garden beds is a major task.  Some have volunteer clovers establishing and these are allowed to colonise - to be turned in, come spring.  Others are mulched over with straw bedding or have composts made on top of them.  Composting is in fact a major activity now.  Stables and yards will be cleaned out over these next few weeks and several tonne of material will be nutured for use in October and November.

The garlic has been planted in situ. Early white salad onions have germinated in their seed trays, with all remaining onion seed to be sown into trays this week.  Managing the seeds in trays at waist height is a great way to get the seedlings established.  Keeping them weeded is a breeze and I am able to manage their moisture requirements, rather than them being subjected to the very cold and wet conditions of an open bed.  Their permanent beds are then prepared in mid August - a weed germination is allowed to take place and then the beds are lightly tilled again.

The 12-15cm high seedlings easily take to the transplant, with only one full weeding out needed to be done in October, before the first are plucked from the beds in late November.

Since last writing David and I were fortunate to have been able to attend a regional food workshop on Kangaroo Island. The combination of the wild views from Cape Willoughby, overlooking Backstairs Passage whilst absorbing the deliveries of an informative array of speakers, was pretty special....and so was the food....samples of the region, supplied picnic style in brown paper bags.  Marion Chambers cooked for us again, that evening, at her Penguin Stop Cafe in Penneshaw.  It was one of the most memorable meals out I have had for a long time.  The following day we were escorted over the island, visiting a diverse range of food production businesses, gaining some great insights as well as making several potentially fruitful contacts...WOW!

Well it's only a week or so to the shortest day.  I'm making the most of this hibernation period...soon the clock will start ticking again, as the pace gently picks up.