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RUNNING OUT OF ROOM TO GARDEN (or can I keep my fruit trees cut low)

This photo was taken a couple of years ago.  Since then we have moved some bins to the front yard between front verandah and front tree,  The back garden is nearly full and running out of sunlight.  I suffer badly from plant addiction and may need help.  

What to do now, I have ordered more Eugenia plants, maybe a spot out the front.  There is still the roof, nah too many possums visit there.  Does anyone else have this problem with plant addiction in these hard times.  Last time I counted I had about 130  separate fruit varieties and then there are all the edibles, cacti and greens, and double up of varieties.  I won't go hungry, that's one thing for sure. Any help out there.

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Wow - something to aspire to. There was a magnificent poinciana next door that covered our entire back yard but was removed late last year by a developer. As a result, our yard is a bit of a desert but is the reason we have been able to move to growing fruit and veg. It’s early days yet but the loss of that beautiful tree means other opportunities. 

Cut back the poincianas...Beautiful shady tree but...

Dig up one of the driveways and sell a car.

I know your pain. Too many plants and not enough space. I have probably a similiar amount of trees and addiction.

Thanks for the sympathy Doug, the plants I buy are getting smaller and I am willing to sell the big ones. For sale - 2 big saba nut trees, 3 big Diospyrus nigra (black pudding fruit, 2 are flowering) to make room for the incoming. 

Dave, they are 2 visitors cars, we only have one, our son has 2 and 1 lge and 1 sm boat, to store plus 2 campers.  Get rid of the son did you say. I cannot chop down the trees, we have cut them back a fair bit.  My mother in law planted them about 55 years ago. Can't dig up the left driveway that is there to pull out the boat in that side gate. 

Fiona that back tree gives us lovely shade from the hot western sun which rises over the front to the back.  We have 4 water tanks and they are all dry at the moment.  This is a sad whinging story that has come to an end. Thanks for your friendly ideas and I have just found some room down the front.

Footpath?  

Christa, You've got so many fruit trees on your block. Have you seen about 'Backyard Orchard Culture' on the web? The idea was first mooted (I think) by a nurseryman in the US, and has been taken up here by Angelo Eliaides in Melbourne. No doubt others are doing it too, but those are the ones I saw on the web. It seems like a really good idea for us backyarders, although all the stuff on the web referred to temperate-climate fruits like apples, pears and stone fruits. I wonder how it would go with sub-tropical and tropical fruit trees. Do you think it would be feasible to keep things like Black Sapote, Jackfruit, etc to a couple of metres, and get them to fruit? Does anyone know of people experimenting with this sort of thing in Brisbane?

Just saying under the principles of Syntropy (Ernst Götsch)trees are kept trimmed to shoulder height -- for easy harvest and management. I'm doing that progressively  now in my wee orchard. It sure solves the shade issue a lot and you can grow trees closer to one another. Easier to harvest of course.

I'm waiting on some trees to consolidate more before I prune them.

Pruning: cutting branches to rejuvenate maturing plants, accelerates the growth rate, increases the amount of sunlight for other plants, increases nutrient cycle, directs process of natural succession.

Generally I think the shoulder height principle is an excellent protocol for urban gardens when you are seeking to open up the space to sunshine and harvest.  For shade trees close to the house I try to limit height to roof gutter height -- especially in the context of storms.

But I'm always pragmatic...

ALSO (6-10 feet principle):

  • Short fruit trees are easier to pick. Our goal here at the Urban Farm is to keep all our trees under 10 feet high, making them easily harvestable from a 6-foot ladder. There are even cases where we keep the trees to a height of only 6 feet making them even easier to harvest.
  • Smaller tree sizes allow room for more varieties in the same space. You will see that the space one full-size tree takes up is enough room to plant 10 to 12 trees, giving you plenty of possibility for different varieties.(LINK)

Dave, have you got subtropical or tropical fruit trees fruiting, having been kept to shoulder height? All the stuff I've seen refers to temperate climate trees.

I do it with citrus with no issue.  I intend to keep my mango low for as long as I can - not sure how that one and the macca will go though.  I hack the guts out of my pomegranates as well. 

I am only beginning the shoulder height process so I am waiting on some plantings to fruit for the first time. Obviously pawpaw are easily cut to size -- but I have Asian Pear and Custard Apple I'm waiting to trim.

All my citrus -- lime and lemon -- are short. I cut back the fig and am waiting on the feijoas to perform.

I'm not a fruit nor orchardy person  although my soil, which was beach yellow sand, has taken some time before it will accept fruit trees.

I do grow  a lot of vines -- squashes, beans and gourds --  and cut those.

Of note is that trees like mulberry and mango fruit on the new growth so trimming is not a criminal horticultural activity.

It'll be interesting to hear your results with the Custard Apple, Dave.

I may be a keen wood cutter with my trusty chain saw but I'm no orchardist.Trees I've planted in the past have not done well at all as the sand is /was not nourishing. We live on an old sandbank/dune. I'm now growing some fruit trees after 10 years of mulching.

In the past: money down the drain.

Here pawpaw, mulberry and passionfruit thrive.-- as do  mandarins. Some mangoes have done well around town. My offsprings' Bowen mango was very giving this year.

I'm not a fruit eater in the main so I'm not committed to that harvest after I've indulged in the paws paws and Dragon Fruit.  Also my yard is dominated by a huge Silky Oak.

Adorable thing it is.

I also water my fruit with spear pump water from the aquifers below. Not often nor ever supplemented with town water -- so that is another factor in how they will perform. The water pulled up from 5 metres down isn't very salty as in a NaCl way but there's lots of sulphur and such in the blend that stains  structures terracotta brown.

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