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Posted on Feb 17, 2013 in Featured, Plant bios | 0 comments

Fruits

Fruits

Below is a comprehensive guide to growing fruit in a warm-temperate / subtropical zone.  Spots sheltered from wind and utilising heat from brick walls provide a micro-climates suitable for growing subtropical plants. Discover favoured varieties, plant care and culture, potential problems and their solutions. You may also wish to check out the Fruit photo journal.

BLACKBERRY

Names

  • Common: Blackberry var. Waldo (Derivation: Marion X) | Blackberry Thornless Chester?
  • Botanical: Rubus Eubatus (Waldo) Rubus ursinus (Chester)

Description (Waldo)

  • Waldo produces short, trailing, thornless canes requiring support or espaliering. Deciduous. New leaves appearing in mid-August (late winter).
  • Flowers: White flowers on very short fruiting laterals. Flower burst commences early September.
  • Fruit: Fat conical, glossy soft sweet fruit with small seeds. Very high drupelet count.  Excellent, typical blackberry flavour. Produces on Floricanes. Heavy yield per metre of cane. Fruit buds start developing as new leaves are opening, late August/early September.
  • Harvest: Early season cropper, November December.
  • Age Spring 2016: 1 pot – 6yrs

Description (Chester)

  • Chester is hardy, productive and disease resistant and prefers cooler climates for best fruit production. It may have very fine prickles. It is a vigorous plant that doesn’t sucker. Prefers well-drained, slightly acid soil in semi-shaded, protected position.
  • Flowers: Pink flowers on medium length fruiting laterals. Flower burst late October.
  • Fruit: Large, flavorful, very sweet, high quality fruit. Produces on Floricanes. Fruit ripens from late January into February with a few later berries until April.
  • Harvest: Late season cropper, December/January.
  • Age Spring 2016: 1 pot – 6yrs

Plant care

  • Soil: Requires well drained soil, rich in organic matter. PH 5.6 to 6.2.
  • Mulch: Blackberries have a shallow fibrous root system therefore, apply and maintain generous amounts of organic matter around the base to keep the shallow roots cool and protected.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Position and light: Protection from hot summer sun may be required, burns easily. Grown in pot in full sun. I think it would provide better yields if planted in the ground.
  • Pruning: The best fruit is formed on last seasons wood therefore, encourage new basal growth every year by removing older wood back to a low bud in late winter. Tip prune in early spring to about 60cm to encourage fruiting laterals. Cut previously fruited canes to ground after fruiting.
  • Fertilise: Apply citrus fertiliser in early autumn. After harvesting and cutting canes back fertilise with high nitrogen fertiliser.

Pest & disease

  • Scale: Check regularly and control with white/pest oil as needed. A spray during June and July can help reduce overwintering pests. Rose Scale (suspected) or possibly white scale detected most years.
  • Mites: Examine underside of leaves with magnifying glass for mite presence and webbing. Top of leaf may be speckled. Be careful if controlling mites chemically. The worst outbreaks occur when predators including predatory mites are killed with broad spectrum pesticides. See Mites on Raspberries. Mites do not usually directly affect fruit but will reduce the vigour of the plants. None noted.
  • Aphids: Noted on fruit October / November ACTION: Treated with white oil.
  • Curl grubs: – Pot INFESTED February. ACTION: Removed plant from pot and manually removed all visible grubs. Repeated 2 weeks later for newly hatched eggs.
  • Thrips: Leaves but not fruit are prone to mite and thrip damage. None noted.
  • Disease: Fruit is closely packed so difficult to pick and prone to botrytis rot. Keep dry. None noted.
  • Pest and disease information & control

YOUNGBERRY

Names

  • Common: Youngberry
  • Botanical: Rubus cecaesius

Description

  • A vigorous, semi-deciduous rubus plant, producing long, thorny, branched canes which can reach a length of 6 to 7 meters therefore, requires support. The youngberry is created by crossing the Austin-Mayes dewberry with a blackberry and raspberry hybrid known as the  Phenomenal.
  • Flowers: White. Flowers commence burst in late September / early October.
  • Fruit: Large conical, glossy fruit with small seeds. Very high druplet count.  Excellent, sweet & tart flavour, reminiscent of boysenberries. Pick when dark purple to black for best sweetness. Heavy cropper. Produces berries on Floricanes. Fruit buds start developing as new leaves are opening, late August/early September. 1st colour from mid-late October.
  • Harvest: Early season cropper, Start harvesting from early November. A steady supply of berries are produced after about three years of growth. Mulching, along with cutting off old stems when the plant is fruiting will increase the amount of berries that are produced.
  • Yield: Average 150g / day.
  • Propagation: Bend cane tip over pegging into soil. Tips will usually form roots.
  • Age Spring 2016: 10yrs

Plant care

  • Soil: Best in rich well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Best if acid to slightly acid preferred.
  • Mulch: Youngberries have a shallow fibrous root system therefore, apply and maintain generous amounts of organic matter around the base to keep the shallow roots cool and protected. Mulching along with cutting off old stems when the plant is fruiting will increase the amount of berries that are produced.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Position and light: Protect from hot summer sun winds. Planted in narrow bed along cabana which provides filtered sun for part of day.
  • Pruning: Cut out the weak, fruited and old canes and remove suckers that emerge between plants. Youngberries have a sprawling habit so keep canes off the ground as they will root themselves at a node. In winter, when the plant is dormant gather up the canes and train along the trellis. Tip prune in early spring to encourage laterals.
  • Fertilise: In spring with high potash fertiliser (no nitrogen). Youngberries are gross feeders so supply regular applications of liquid fertiliser through the growing season. After harvesting and cutting fruited canes back, fertilise with high nitrogen fertiliser.

Pest & disease

  • Fungal diseases: Anthracnose, cane blight, and spur blight can affect youngberries. Preventative control with applications of lime sulfur and/or Copper Oxychloride whilst plant is dormant in winter and then again in early spring as the buds begin to swell, but before leaves appear. None noted.
  • Birds: None noted.
  • Thrips and aphids: None noted.
  • Scale: Check for scale regularly. A recurring problem. Treated with white oil and white oil + Confidor as needed.
  • Two spotted spider mite: Look for speckling on top side of leaves. Examine underside of leaves with magnifying glass for mite presence and webbing.
  • Red spider mite: Examine underside of leaves with magnifying glass for mite presence and webbing.
  • See Mites on Raspberries and Pest and disease information & control.

RASPBERRY

Names

  • Common: Raspberry var. Autumn Bliss
  • Botanical: Rubus idaeus sp.

Description

  • This is a very vigorous everbearing / autumn variety, fruiting on the top third of it’s primocanes not floricanes unlike summer bearing varieties. Keep contained so it does not take over the garden. Self fertile, insect pollinated.
  • Flowers: White flowers on primocane tips. Flowers commence burst in mid October.
  • Fruit: Large fruit with with good flavour and firmness.
  • Propagation: Dig out shoots that pop up between rows and plant elsewhere.
  • Age Spring 2016: 6yrs
  • Harvest: Few berries in late November. Bears primarily from late December to late April.
  • Harvest rates: (based on 2 x 1mtr rows in Summer 2012)
  • Late Dec – up to 30g/day
  • Early Jan – up to 50g/day
  • Mid Jan – 100g/day
  • Late Jan/Early Feb – 150g/day
  • Late Feb – 100g/day
  • Early to mid Mar – 50g/day

Plant care

  • Soil: Plant in rich well-drained soil, high in organic matter. pH 5.6 to 6.2.
  • Mulch: Mulch with organic matter to keep the shallow roots cool and protected.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Position and light: Protect from the hot sun, burns easily. Protection with shade cloth is recommended in temperatures over 32C, otherwise plant leaves burn. Alternatively, plant in part shade. One patch located in Mango bed (full sun), other in driveway (3-4 hrs morning summer sun). The driveway planting delays and therefore extends the harvest season by approx. 1 month. Keep in a contained area. Potentially invasive.
  • Pruning (easiest & conventional method):  Autumn fruiting raspberries (such as Heritage and Autumn Bliss) wake up from their winter slumber, form canes over and flowers over spring then flower and set fruit during summer. Once the canes finish fruiting, they die. This means that pruning is a simple matter of cutting all the canes of autumn fruiting varieties back to ground level in winter,  Remove any unneeded canes, leaving 10 strong canes, spaced 30cm apart. Alternative pruning method: Autumn Bliss (an everbearing raspberry) produce fruit on the tip of the primocanes as well as on the bottom of Floricanes. After the main summer harvest, cut the top third off of these fruited primocanes to induce a second crop, then cut them off at the ground after they bear. Maintain this cycle of two prunings each year for best production. (See Figures 3 and 4) of More info. Note: This makes the canes work harder and can reduce size of berries. Compensate with additional organic material and fertiliser.
  • Fertilise: In spring. Then after harvesting and cutting canes back with high nitrogen fertiliser.

Pest & disease

  • Fungal disease: Preventative control with applications of lime sulfur and/or Copper Oxychloride whilst plant is dormant in winter (Late July) and then again in early spring as the buds begin to swell, but before leaves appear. None noted.
  • Birds: None noted.
  • Thrips and aphids: None noted.
  • Scale: Check for scale regularly. A recurring problem. Treated with white oil and white oil + Confidor as needed.
  • Two spotted spider mite: Look for speckling on top side of leaves. Examine underside of leaves with magnifying glass for mite presence and webbing.
  • Red spider mite: Examine underside of leaves with magnifying glass for mite presence and webbing. See Mites on Raspberries and Pest and disease information & control.
  • Curl grub: ACTION: Difficult to check to thoroughly without disturbing plants (currently fruiting) Check when plants have finished fruiting.
  • Pest and disease information & control

Further information

BLUEBERRY

Names

Description

  • An evergreen Southern highbush/half high style blueberry with low chill requirements (suited to Sydney) and a higher pH tolerance. Perennial shrub to 1 metre. One of the hardier blueberry varieties.
  • Flowers: White, snowflake style flowers. Remove all flowers for the 1st two years to maximize vegetative growth and increase yields in later years. Flowering commences July.
  • Fruit: Blueberry plants should come into full production by the fifth or sixth year. Gardeners can expect to harvest 2-4.5kg of fruit per plant from mature highbush blueberries. Half-high blueberries generally produce .5-1.5kg per plant.
  • Harvest: Spring and summer, starting mid-late September.
  • Propagation: Tip cuttings on 2 year old wood. Blueberries have a poor strike rate, so take multiple cuttings and use rooting hormone. Plant into a peat moss / soil mixture.
  • Age Spring 2016: 5yrs.

Plant care

  • Soil: A soil pH of 4.5-6.5 is ideal for Sunshine Blue as it does best in moderately acidic soil. If potting, use a 50/50 Camilla/Peat moss mix. The peat moss increases acidity and water retention. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils as blueberries are prone to root rot. When peat moss dries out it can be difficult to re-wet. Soaking the entire pot in a bucket may be necessary. Adjusting pH.
  • Note: Original soil pH from seedling container was 5 to 5.5. Ozmacote Azalea mix is 6. Potted in 50:50 peat moss/azalea mix which brings the PH to 5 to 5.5. Top dress with acidic coffee grounds and use fertiliser for acid loving plants or ammonium sulfate to keep soil pH low. Check soil pH every 6 months.
  • Mulch: Blueberries have a shallow, fibrous root system. Plants quickly become stressed during hot, dry weather. To help retain moisture and control weeds, apply 12cm of mulch around blueberry plants. Composted sawdust, wood chips, pine needles, and shredded leaves (esp. oak) are excellent mulching materials. If above ground temps are below 20 degrees, mulch or insulate pot to keep its temperature more like the soil temp,not like the air temperature.
  • Water: Moderate to high. Must never dry out, even in winter.
  • Position and light: Full sun, protected from winds. The USDA Hardiness Zones typically associated with Sunshine Blue are Zone 3 – Zone 7. One Sunshine Blue situated in a pot on front balcony.
  • Pruning: Remove dead, diseased or damaged canes and twiggy growth each spring. As plants mature, open the center to allow sunlight and good air flow, keeping 8-10 branches arising from the crown by removing the oldest darkest branch and remaining low growing, dead and diseased branches and small twigs. Usually 5 year old branches are removed.
  • Low-chill varieties such as Sunshine Blue can be pruned after the first flush of fruit to induce a second crop later in the year. Prune by 1/3.
  • Fertilise: Side dress with coffee grounds, fertilise with fertiliser for acidic plants. Nitrogen is the element to which blueberries are most responsive; in many situations, it is the only element that needs to be added. For mature plants, the application should be made before growth starts each spring. Nitrogen should not be in the nitrate form, since nitrates have occasionally been shown to be toxic to blueberry plants. Ammonium sulfate or urea is preferred, and ammonium sulfate will help lower soil pH.
  • Note: Next winter, source additional Southern highbush blueberries. Legacy and Misty Blue which will cross pollinate well and produce more berries seem most promising. Maybe try a Sharpeblue, which can crop all year round in a pot.

Pest & disease

General blueberry information

Plant care

Blueberry plants require a sunny location and well-drained soils high in organic matter. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils. Blueberries are susceptible to root rots in poorly drained soils.

Soil: Soil pH is extremely important. Blueberries require an acid soil of pH 4.0 to 5.5.  Gardeners can lower their soil pH by adding Canadian sphagnum peat to the soil. When planting blueberries, backfill with a mixture of 1/2 (moist) peat moss and 1/2 acidic  soil mix such as rose or camellia mix.

Test blueberry beds every year and add elemental sulphur as required. Note: Soil pH will gradually creep up naturally with watering etc. and elemental sulphur should be added yearly to combat this. http://blueberries.msu.edu/uploads/files/Lowering_Soil_pH_with_Sulfur.pdf

Planting out

Spring is the best time to plant blueberries. The roots of dormant, bare-root plants should be soaked in water for about an hour before planting. Dig a hole approximately 45-60cm deep and 60cm wide.  Then backfill with a 50:50 mixture of soil and moist peat. After planting, prune back the plant by 1/2 by removing the small side branches and by heading back the main branches. Thoroughly water each blueberry plant. Highbush blueberries should be spaced 120-180cm apart. 91 to 120cm spacing is adequate for the smaller half-high blueberries. Plant 2 or 3 blueberry varieties to insure adequate pollination and fruit set.

GROUND CHERRY

Names

  • Common: Ground Cherry ‘Aunt Molly’
  • Botanical: Physalis pruinosa

Description

  • The Ground Cherry is an annual plant related to the Tomatillo and Chinese lantern. Just like those plants, ground cherries (Physalis peruviana) grow in a protective paper husk. It originates from Poland and is often confused with Cape Gooseberry.
  • Fruit: The Aunt Molly cultivar produces bright yellow marble-sized fruit with citrus undertones.
  • Sow seed: Sow indoors 5mm deep, 3-8 weeks before planting out in September. Germinates in 7-14 days. Allow 1 plant per family member. Slow to start growing.
  • Spacing: Between plants: 60cm-1m  | Between rows: 90cm | Plant height: 60-90cm.
  • Weeks to Maturity: 24
  • Harvest: Starting mid summer. Fruits are usually ripe when the husk turns brown. Harvest fruit only after it drops to the ground, when it is ripe, delicious and bright yellow. Sometimes fallen fruit needs to be placed in a warm place in its paper case for 1-2 weeks to fully ripen. Harvesting fallen fruit can be made easier by laying cardboard, fabric or plastic mulch at time of transplanting. WARNING: Immature fruit (green) are not tasty and toxic.
  • First harvest: 4 Dec 2013.
  • Important Note: All parts of this plant except for the ripe fruit are toxic.
  • Propagation: Ground cherries will reseed themselves and can be hard to eliminate if you decide you no longer want to grow them.
  • First planted: 2013 (annual)

Plant care

  • Position: Likes full sun but can struggle a bit in very hot temperatures. Its sprawling habit may benefit from staking or caging. Heavy branches may break off later in the season.

Pest & disease

STRAWBERRY

Names

  • Common: Strawberry (mixed varieties)
  • Botanical: Fragaria x ananassa

Description

  • Flowers: White or pink
  • Harvest: From spring
  • Propagation: Runners after fruiting
  • Age Dec. 2013: 4yrs (needs replacing)

Plant care

  • Soil: High in organic matter.
  • Mulch: Mulch with straw or other organic matter to keep strawberries clean.
  • Water: Moderate, under mulch to reduce disease
  • Position and light: Full sun
  • Pruning: Remove weak or diseased leaves
  • Fertiliser:

Pest & disease

  • Spring: Spray at flower bud and burst stage with a pesticide designed to kill thrips and grubs.
  • Grubs: in fruit axel (suspected leaf rollers), Thrips.
  • Pest and disease information & control

GRUMICHAMA

Names

  • Common: Grumichama, Brazilian cherry
  • Botanical Synonyms: Eugenia brasiliensis(Myrtaceae), Eugenia dombeyi, E. filipes, Myrtus dombeyi and Stenocalyx brasiliensis.

Description

  • A beautiful ornamental large shrub to small tree, reaching 5.5-12m. Native to Southeastern Brazil.
  • Flowers: Small white flowers appear in groups of 2 or 3 mid October.
  • Growth periods: Leaf flushes starting September.
  • Fruit: Round, purple, juicy, sweet cherries 1-2.5 cm in diameter. Fruits contain 1-2 seeds.
  • Harvest: Fruits mid November (30 days are flowering).
  • Propagation: By seed is the easiest method (all nursery stock are seedlings). Seeds germinate in about 30 days. Begins fruiting at 4-5 years from seed.
  • Age Spring 2016: 9yrs

Plant care

  • Preferred climate: Tropical / subtropical – May fruit in Sydney. I have not been very successful.
  • Soil: The plants prefer soil with abundant organic matter and a pH of 5.5-6.5.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Position and light: Full sun. Plants are hardy to -2 C.
  • Pruning: Only prune to shape as required.
  • Fertiliser:

Pest & disease

None noted.

Pest and disease information & control

MANGO

Names

  • Common: Mango R2E2 Dwarf
  • Botanical: Mangifera indica

Description

  • Ornamental dwarf mango that will produce fruit in Sydney however, fruit may need to be ripened indoors once they are full size.
  • Flowers: Small white flowers produced in clusters. Flower profusely, each flowering panicle bears both male and hermaphrodite flowers. Most mango varieties can be fertilised by their own pollen with the help of wind and insects such as flies and bees. Panicles often set a number of fruit but most of these are shed by the tree, leaving one or two fruits per terminal. Fruit set may be improved by the use of a foliar application of potassium nitrate. Flowers buds noted early August.
  • Fruit: Large highly coloured fruit that matures a couple of weeks after Kensington Pride. In Sydney, I find it does not ripen naturally on tree. Bringing inside once full size is reached works. May try wrapping fruit in foil (rockmelon trick) to provide extra warmth.
  • Harvest: February/March. Pick when full sized even if not ripe and continue to ripen indoors on screened window ledge.
  • Propagation: Grafted (not possible), not true to seed.
  • Age Spring 2016: 9 yrs

Plant care

  • Soil: PH: 6.5 – 7.
  • Water: The most critical periods of moisture requirement is from flowering to fruit maturity and then again at leaf bud burst (flushing) to leaf maturity.
  • From full leaf and bud maturity up to flower bud burst irrigation should be withheld. Irrigation during this period adversely affect flowering as too much moisture may induce vegetative or flushing new leaves instead of flowers.
  • Position and light: Full sun
  • Pruning: Prune dead and diseased limbs, keeping to 5 main lateral branches evenly spaced.
  • Fertiliser: Citrus food in July and December. Avoid too much nitrogen.
  • Mango growing – Dept. of Primary Industries NSW

Pest & disease

Fungal disease

July – Just prior to flower budding
  • Spray a combined spray of Mancozeb plus and Copper Oxychloride every two weeks until about 1 month before flower formation (mid August). Note: Copper Oxychloride may kill flowers.
Late Aug – Just before and during flower
  • Spray with Mancozeb (800 g/kg at 2 g/L) weekly during flowering and then monthly until harvest. Stop spraying 14 days before harvest.
  • During dry weather, you can reduce flower sprays to fortnightly intervals. If rain occurs during flowering, apply Prochloraz (462 g/kg) (Octave®) using 1 g product/L in a tank mix with Mancozeb. Prochloraz needs to be applied only every 3-4 weeks.
Post flowering
  • Spray Mancozeb every two weeks (weekly when raining) up to 14 days before harvest. Copper Oxychloride sprays (4 g/L) used for bacterial black spot control also controls anthracnose (to a lesser degree), though Copper Oxychloride should not be used during flowering.
  • Where bacterial black spot is serious, Copper Oxychloride can be substituted for Mancozeb sprays after flowering.
Important notes
  • Mancozeb has a 14 day withholding period. Cease Mancozeb sprays and only use Copper Oxychloride sprays (1 day withholding period) 2 weeks prior to start of harvest.
  • Copper Oxychloride sprays just before or during flowing may kill flowers. ie. no fruit.

Pests

MULBERRY

NECTARINE

Names

  • Common: Nectarine var. Nectazee (Trixie)
  • Botanical: P. persica var. nucipersica

Description

  • Naturally dwarfed nectarine that grows to 1.5mtrs x 1.5mtrs. Very ornamental, deciduous, low chill and self pollinating.
  • Flowers: Tree is covered in pink flowers, just like a cherry blossom in early spring.
  • Fruit: Thinning many be required for good fruit size.
  • Harvest: December
  • Age Spring 2016: 5 yrs

Plant care

  • Soil: PH: 5 – 6.5
  • Water: Water regularly and deeply, especially during fruiting. Likes moist but well drained soil.
  • Position and light: Full sun. Sub tropical – temperate preferred.
  • Pruning: Only prune as required. Remove suckers.
  • Fertiliser: Fertilise in early spring whilst young.

Pest & disease

Spray guide for nectarine & peaches

  • Autumn: For leaf curl control, spray at leaf fall with a copper based spray eg Bordeaux, Kocide or Copper Oxychloride.
  • June: Spray all trees with Lime Sulphur to control over wintering scale and mites.
  • July: Spray copper based spray to control leaf curl.
  • August: At or just before bud swell, trees should be sprayed with a copper based spray for leaf curl. A second spray of lime sulphur can be beneficial at this time.
  • September: Spray with Spinosad during bloom to kill Thrips. Bait for male fruit fly to monitor numbers.
  • Early summer: Rogor or Lebaycid may be sprayed at 4 weeks and 2 weeks to harvest (both have a 7 day withholding period)
  • Some sites recommend to also spray after rain, at leaf bud and petal fall. Does not seem to be required as yet. Question for me. If i spray flowers when open will this limit bees visiting.

General stone fruit pest & disease management

Brown Rot: To prevent Brown Rot, spray with Mancozeb at 3-4 week intervals from “shuck fall” (when flower remnants fall from fruit) until the fruit is harvested. Caution – Mancozeb has a withholding period of 14 days. Triforene may be used as a substitute closer to harvest – withholding period 1 day. No evidence of Brown rot so far. Spray not required.

Oriental Fruit Moth: Peaches, nectarines and plums may be affected by Oriental Fruit Moth during summer. The larvae tunnel down new shoots, causing leave to die and go brown. Fruit may also be attacked. Spray with Carbaryl when first noticed – withholding period is 3 days. No evidence of Oriental fruit moth so far. Spray not required.

Pear and Cherry slug: Cherries, pears and plums my be attacked by Pear and Cherry slug. Spray with Carbaryl when first noticed – 3 day withholding period.  Alternatively, small trees can be dusted with ash from the fireplace. The ash particles adhere to the skin of the slug. No evidence of Pear and cherry slug so far. Spray not required.

Western Flower Thrips

  • Description: Thrips are minute, thin insects that feed within the flowers and on young fruit. They are primarily a problem of nectarines at bloom. Their feeding damages the fruit and scars form as fruit matures. Also affects apple and plum.
  • Symptoms: Fruit scarring/russetting, clear gumming from, scarred areas, deformed fruit.
  • Management: Only an insecticide will prevent this injury. Spinosad can be applied during bloom when bees are not flying (at dawn or dusk), or at petal fall.

Peach / nectarine pests and control

Pest and disease information & control

TAMARILLO, Red

Names

  • Common: Tamarillo, Tree Tomato
  • Botanical: Solanaceae

Description

  • This plant grows at a staggering rate and looks not unlike a rubber tree in appearance. Potentially it grows to around 3.65 metres tall with a spread up to 2.4 metres however, it can be kept to about 1.8 metres with pruning . Brittle branches break in strong winds and must be supported. It has a short life of about 3-10 years. A new tree should be planted after 5 years.
  • Flowers: Produces white clusters of flowers, similar to potato flowers. Self pollinating.
  • Fruit: An individual tree can produce several hundred red, egg shaped fruits. The fruit ripening progressively, spreading cropping over several months. Fruits in 2-3 years from seedling. Fruit is ripe when it darkens to a deep red and often will fall from the tree. Tamarillos can be eaten fresh or cooked with savoury dishes as a substitute for tomatoes.
  • Harvest: Late Autumn and through the Winter months.
  • Propagation: Sow seed in clean, fresh compost and lightly cover. Keep moist and germinate at a temperature of around 78ºF (25.5ºC). Germination can take between 3 – 5 weeks.

Plant care

  • Soil: Does best in well-drained, fertile soil high in organic material.
  • Mulch: Mulch well
  • Water: Moderate
  • Plant spacing: 1m
  • Position and light: Full sun, warm, protected from wind.
  • Pruning: Pinch out growing tip when about 1 meter tall to encourage fruiting side shoots. Only allow about three main branches. Should your tamarillo grow too big, it can be cut back quite severely. Fresh shoots will break from the stem, on which new fruits form.
  • Fertiliser: It is quite natural for the lower leaves to yellow and drop off as it grows to maturity and need not cause any concern. Only moderate feeding is recommended. Never use bonemeal, fresh manure or any other additive to encourage lank ‘soft’ growth. Apply a complete NPK fertiliser to mature trees before spring pruning, one month later and again in February as fruit is developing.

Pest & disease

Tamarillos are fairly pest and disease resistant, although they can be attacked by aphids, powdery mildew.

Pest and disease information & control

MAQUI BERRY

Names

  • Common: Maqui Berry
  • Botanical: Aristotelia chilensis.

Description

  • Evergreen, shrubby tree 3-5 meters. Native to Patagonia.
  • Fruit: Produces blueberry like berries with the highest antioxidant level of any fruit, even more that the Brazilian Acai berry.

Plant care

  • Position and light: Easy care, tolerates hot and cold.
  • Pruning: Prune periodically to desired shape
  • Fertiliser: General fertiliser and lime

Pest & disease

Pest and disease information & control

VALENCIA ORANGE

Names

  • Common: Dwarf Valencia Orange (on Flying Dragon rootstock)
  • Botanical: Citrus x sinensis

Description

  • Dwarf orange tree, suitable for pot culture. It is an attractive tree with glossy, dark green leaves and white flowers.
  • Fruit: Commonly referred to as a juicing orange, Valencia’s fruit is a medium size with a distinctive, fresh tang. Fruit hangs on the tree for months, becoming sweeter the longer it is left. Heavy cropper. If the fruits are sour, sweeten them by sprinkling six handfuls of sulphate of potash around the tree and then water in with two teaspoons of Epsom salts mixed into 10 litres of water. Remove flowers for the first 3 years or until established. Flower buds August.
  • Harvest: September – March
  • Propagation: Not possible, on dwarfing rootstock.
  • Age Spring 2016: 5yr (first fruit – June 2016)

Plant care

  • Soil: Rich in organic matter.
  • Mulch: Shallow roots need protecting with a thick layer of organic mulch. Keep away from truck as collar rot can be a problem.
  • Water: It is always advisable to water citrus well when they are setting fruit and throughout the fruit growing and ripening stages. If plants dry out it often results in fruit drop and the fruit is less juicy and thick skinned.
  • Position and light: Full sun
  • Pruning: Espaliered on back fence. Prune to wires.
  • Fertiliser: Citrus trees are gross feeders. They need to be fed in July, November and March. Alternate feeding with Dynamic lifter and a good citrus and fruit tree fertiliser. When applying citrus food, give them 125 grams for every year of the tree’s age at each of the applications. From 10 years old, the tree needs 1 1/4 kg of fertiliser per year. Spread the fertiliser evenly around the drip zone, water in and the tree will power away. Manures are also appreciated.
  • YELLOWING LEAVES – Even with regular fertilising the leaves might still show symptoms of iron deficiency. This is especially true of new growth and often evident by yellowing leaves or when leaf veins stand out dark green and the tissue between turns a pale green, yellow or even white.  An application of Iron Chelates sprayed over the foliage and/or watered into the root zone will correct the imbalance. An application of trace elements may also be beneficial.

Pest & disease

  • Citrus leaf miner: Not life threatening, but it will reduce the yield. Look out for silvery trails in the leaf. Use white oil to control. Frequently had infested new growth.
  • Sucking insects: Any black discolouration on the leaf is a black sooty mould. It’s always associated with one or other of the so called sucking insects. These could be mealy bugs, which are small, white, furry looking insects and that are sticky to touch. It could also be scale or aphids. Use white oil to control. Aphids may require some Confidor.
  • Fruit fly: Monitor and net if needed.
  • Citrus gall wasp: The insect lays its egg in the branch, which swells so the hatching insect can get food. Prune the gall out and get rid of it before August/September when the adult hatches. Insect traps may also be useful.
  • Pest and disease information & control

WEST INDIAN LIME

Names

  • Common: West Indian Lime | Key lime | Mexican
  • Botanical: Citrus Aurantifolia Sublime

Description

  • Compact, non-grafted, thornless bush with glossy green leaves. Its dense habit and smaller leaves make it ideal for growing in a pot and for small gardens, courtyards and balconies. ‘Sublime’ has a very versatile climatic range, growing successfully from Tasmania up to Darwin. It is moderately frost hardy, humidity tolerant and handles wet and dry conditions.
  • Size: 1.5m x 1.2m (in pot) |  3m x 2m (in ground)
  • Flowers: Perfumed white flowers. Self pollinating. Remove flowers for the first 3 years or until established. Flowers August.
  • Fruit: The fruit hold on the tree in good condition for many months after ripening. Turns from green to a light yellow colour when fully ripe. Smaller stronger flavoured fruit than Tahitian. Less seeds than regular West Indian Lime.
  • Harvest: February/March to November
  • Propagation: Seed or cutting
  • Age Spring 2016: 4 yr (first fruit June 2016 – fruit only 1/2 size still)

Plant care

  • Soil: Rich in organic matter.
  • Mulch: Shallow roots need protecting with a thick layer of organic mulch. Keep away from truck as collar rot can be a problem.
  • Water: It is always advisable to water citrus well when they are setting fruit and throughout the fruit growing and ripening stages. If plants dry out it often results in fruit drop and the fruit is less juicy and thick skinned.
  • Position and light: Full sun, in pot.
  • Fertiliser: Citrus trees are gross feeders. They need to be fed in July, November and March. Alternate feeding with Dynamic lifter and a good citrus and fruit tree fertiliser. When applying citrus food, give them 125 grams for every year of the tree’s age at each of the applications. From 10 years old, the tree needs 1 1/4 kg of fertiliser per year. Spread the fertiliser evenly around the drip zone, water in and the tree will power away. Manures are also appreciated.
  • YELLOWING LEAVES – Even with regular fertilising the leaves might still show symptoms of iron deficiency. This is especially true of new growth and often evident by yellowing leaves or when leaf veins stand out dark green and the tissue between turns a pale green, yellow or even white.  An application of Iron Chelates sprayed over the foliage and/or watered into the root zone will correct the imbalance. An application of trace elements may also be beneficial.

Pest & disease

  • Citrus leaf miner: Not life threatening, but it will reduce the yield. Look out for silvery trails in the leaf. Use white oil to control. Frequently had infested new growth.
  • Sucking insects: Any black discolouration on the leaf is a black sooty mould. It’s always associated with one or other of the so called sucking insects. These could be mealy bugs, which are small, white, furry looking insects and that are sticky to touch. It could also be scale or aphids. Use white oil to control. Aphids may require some Confidor.
  • Fruit fly: Monitor and net if needed.
  • Citrus gall wasp: The insect lays its egg in the branch, which swells so the hatching insect can get food. Prune the gall out and get rid of it before August/September when the adult hatches. Insect traps may also be useful.
  • Pest and disease information & control

EUREKA LEMON

Names

  • Common: Eureka Lemon (Dwarf)
  • Botanical: Citrus × limon ‘Eureka

Description

  • The more traditional backyard lemon. Eureka is the largest growing dwarf citrus and can grow to 3 metres in the ground.
  • Flowers: Perfumed white flowers. Self pollinating. Remove flowers until established – approx. 3 years.
  • Fruit: Large lemons with medium to thick skin. Contains plenty of strong acidic juice.
  • Harvest: Eureka fruits all year round, with the heaviest crop in winter.
  • Propagation: Not possible, on dwarfing rootstock.
  • Age Spring 2016: 4 yr (first fruit June 2016 – about 20 large fruit – fruit removed all previous years)

Plant care

  • Soil: Rich in organic matter.
  • Mulch: Shallow roots need protecting with a thick layer of organic mulch. Keep away from truck as collar rot can be a problem.
  • Water: It is always advisable to water citrus well when they are setting fruit and throughout the fruit growing and ripening stages. If plants dry out it often results in fruit drop and the fruit is less juicy and thick skinned.
  • Position and light: Full sun
  • Pruning: Espaliered on back fence. Prune to wires.
  • Fertiliser: Citrus trees are gross feeders. They need to be fed in July, November and March. Alternate feeding with Dynamic lifter and a good citrus and fruit tree fertiliser. When applying citrus food, give them 125 grams for every year of the tree’s age at each of the applications. From 10 years old, the tree needs 1 1/4 kg of fertiliser per year. Spread the fertiliser evenly around the drip zone, water in and the tree will power away. Manures are also appreciated.
  • YELLOWING LEAVES – Even with regular fertilising the leaves might still show symptoms of iron deficiency. This is especially true of new growth and often evident by yellowing leaves or when leaf veins stand out dark green and the tissue between turns a pale green, yellow or even white.  An application of Iron Chelates sprayed over the foliage and/or watered into the root zone will correct the imbalance. An application of trace elements may also be beneficial.

Pest & disease

  • Citrus leaf miner: Not life threatening, but it will reduce the yield. Look out for silvery trails in the leaf. Use white oil to control.  Frequently had infested new growth.
  • Sucking insects: Any black discolouration on the leaf is a black sooty mould. It’s always associated with one or other of the so called sucking insects. These could be mealy bugs, which are small, white, furry looking insects and that are sticky to touch. It could also be scale or aphids. Use white oil to control. Aphids may require some Confidor.
  • Fruit fly: Monitor and net if needed.
  • Citrus gall wasp: The insect lays its egg in the branch, which swells so the hatching insect can get food. Prune the gall out and get rid of it before August/September when the adult hatches. Insect traps may also be useful.
  • Pest and disease information & control

ROCKMELON, French Charentais

Names

  • Common: Rockmelon – French Charentais
  • Botanical: Cucumis melo

Description

  • Heirloom, first introduced in 1787. Favoured variety. Disease resistant. Best suited to cooler areas.
  • Fruit: Small melon to 1kg with sweet, thick, deep-orange, flesh and small seed cavity.  Flesh has deep, aromatic, flowery aroma. 18 fruit per plant. Fruit is ripe when the stem turns brown.
  • Harvest: 90 days. Pick ripe melons and then leave for a couple of days at room temperature to increase the flavour. Fruit picked early can be left to ripen in a warm room but may not have the full flavour of fruit which has ripened on the plant.
  • Rockmelons should be quite fragrant when ripe. With both Rockmelons and Watermelons the blossom end of the melon (the opposite end to where the stem attaches to the plant) will become soft. Both rockmelon and watermelon change colour when ripe and the stem which attaches the melon to the plant will dry out.

Plant care

  • Seed sowing: Sow seeds in punnets mid August, for planting out as soon as seedlings have 2-4 true leaves. Seed needs soil temperature to be at least 18C to germinate which may not leave enough growing days if direct sown. Row spacing: 120-150cm | Plant spacing: 40-60cm at a depth of 1.5cm.
  • Soil: Fertile, well drained, rich in organic matter but not overly fertilised. pH: 6-7.6. Temp: 20-32C.
  • Fertiliser: Melons are heavy feeders and from the time they start growing until the first flower appears, melons need a steady supply of nutrients. Mix a solution of 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of fish emulsion in 4 lts of water and apply it weekly when the plants are young.
  • Water: Keep soil moist at all times. Avoid overhead watering as rockmelon is prone to powdery mildew. Melons need plenty of water while they are young, and regular deep watering is especially crucial during the first 3 to 4 weeks that the vines are growing in your garden. That said, you can improve the flavor of the fruit if you don’t water as often as the fruit ripens. A good technique is to cut back on the water once the plants have begun to set fruit because overwatering dilutes the melon’s sugars and makes the flavor weaker and less sweet.
  • This is a fine line, because you never want the melons to dry out completely, or get too stressed for water, because when you do water again, or it rains, the ripening melons can split.
  • So simply reduce the water but not to the point where you are stressing the plant.
  • By keeping the leaves dry, you can help prevent common foliar diseases such as powdery mildew which can affect the flavor of the melons.
  • Pruning: Once the plant is producing both male and female flowers and beginning to set fruit, pinch out the ends of the long running shoots so that the plant does not expend all its energy on leaf growth. Thin the fruits to a maximum of four fruits per plant when fruits are about 2.5cm (1”) in diameter. Stop any fruit bearing shoots at 2 to 3 leaves beyond the fruit to concentrate the energy of the plant into the fruit. Ensure that fruit is shaded by the leaves as melons are prone to sunscald in hot weather.
  • Position and light: Full sun.

Tip & resources

Pests & disease

Spray foliage with bicarbonate of soda solution at the first sign of powdery mildew (1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to 1 litre of water). Pest and disease information & control

WATERMELON, Blacktail Mountain

Names

  • Common: Watermelon, Blacktail Mountain
  • Botanical: Citrullus lanatus

Description

Bred for northern Idaho, where summer nights average 6°C. Perfect for short season areas; also does well in hot humid climates and fairly drought tolerant.

  • Fruit: Gorgeous green-black round fruits weigh 5kg and are about 30cm across. Deep scarlet flesh is super sweet, juicy and crunchy with a thin rind. 4 fruit per plant. Fruit is ripe when the bottom (when resting on the soil) turns yellow and the melon sounds hollow when knocked. Tendrils closest to melon will turn brown and shrivel.
  • Harvest: 70-76 days. Pick ripe melons and then leave for a couple of days at room temperature to increase the flavour. Fruit picked early can be left to ripen in a warm room but may not have the full flavour of fruit which has ripened on the plant.
  • Rockmelons should be quite fragrant when ripe. With both Rockmelons and Watermelons the blossom end of the melon (the opposite end to where the stem attaches to the plant) will become soft. Both varieties of melons will change colour when ripe and the stem which attaches the melon to the plant will dry out.
  • Watermelons have a tendril attached to the stem opposite to the melon where it joins the main vine, when this tendril dries out the melon should be ripe. Watermelons also have a whitish green patch on the fruit where it is in contact with the ground, when this patch turns pale yellow, the fruit should be ready

Plant care

  • Seed sowing: Sow late Winter-early Summer. Sow seed direct or plant seedlings from punnets. Seed needs soil temperature to be at least 18 degrees C to germinate. Row spacing:150-200cm. Seed spacing: 60-80cm at a depth of 1.5cm. If planting out seedlings , wait until days are consistently 21C.
  • Soil: Fertile, well drained, rich in organic matter but not overly fertilised. pH: 6-7.6. Temp: 21-35C.
  • Mulch: Black plastic. Watermelons must have very warm soil to produce well.
  • Fertiliser: Melons are heavy feeders and from the time they start growing until the first flower appears, melons need a steady supply of nutrients. A good formula is to mix a solution of 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of fish emulsion in 1 gallon (3.8 l) of water and apply it weekly when the plants are young. An application of a kelp-based foliar spray when the plants are in full flower will complete fertilization.
  • Water: Keep soil moist at all times. Avoid overhead watering as watermelon is prone to powdery mildew. Melons need plenty of water while they are young, and regular deep watering is especially crucial during the first 3 to 4 weeks that the vines are growing in your garden. That said, you can improve the flavor of the fruit if you don’t water as often as the fruit ripens. A good technique is to cut back on the water once the plants have begun to set fruit because overwatering dilutes the melon’s sugars and makes the flavor weaker and less sweet. This is a fine line, because you never want the melons to dry out completely, or get too stressed for water, because when you do water again, or it rains, the ripening melons can split. So simply reduce the water but not to the point where you are stressing the plant. To give a steady supply of moisture, drip irrigation or soaker hoses are the best way, because you are watering the roots directly rather than soaking the leaves. By keeping the leaves dry, you can help prevent common foliar diseases such as powdery mildew which can affect the flavor of the melons.
  • Pruning: Once the plant is producing both male and female flowers and beginning to set fruit, pinch out the ends of the long running shoots so that the plant does not expend all its energy on leaf growth. Thin the fruits to a maximum of four fruits per plant when fruits are about 2.5cm (1”) in diameter. Stop any fruit bearing shoots at 2 to 3 leaves beyond the fruit to concentrate the energy of the plant into the fruit. Ensure that fruit is shaded by the leaves as melons are prone to sunscald in hot weather.
  • Position and light: Full sun.

Tips & resources

Pests & disease

FRUITS TO CHECK OUT

  • Passionfruit- Nelly kelly?
  • Blackberry – move from pot – needs part shade in hottest part of day – possibly in front beds or down driveway
  • Step over Pink lady and granny smith apples (stockist – Woodbridge Fruittrees). Plant position: along retaining wall out the back. OR  dwarf tree and espalier in same position.
  • APPLES – pinkabelle (med. chill), Granny smith Sundowner

 

 

Fruits
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