Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Last month, I ventured back out into my garden after a lengthy absence, not at all sure what I would find. I was delighted to find that most of my fruit trees survived, though some fared better than others.

(Funny enough, the Nasturtiums had gone completely feral so the yard didn’t look nearly as bad as it was because it was all covered with a layer of cheery orange flowers!)

Over in my “orchard” of dwarf fruit trees, the Dwarf Red Shahtoot was covered by the strangling vines that grow over everything that sits still long enough around here.

I thought for sure it was dead (not just dormant) but saw green through some of the bark. One side of the tree has survived, at least, so I gave it a good feed and a coat of BD paste and hoped for the best. 

Soon after, I had buds, leaves and berries. I’ll still have to wait and see how much of the tree comes back to life.

My 3 tropical apple trees seem to have been completely unbothered by my lack of care. 

Two of the trees, my Golden Dorsett and Tropic Sweet, have now bloomed and

set a reasonable number of fruit.

 I’ve even had to thin the fruit a bit, with as many as four fruit in a group.

The Tropical Anna hasn’t bloomed yet but is putting on new growth.

The orange trees were absolutely covered with blooms and the fragrance was heavenly!

  The fruit is beginning to swell and it won’t be long before I’ll have to think about thinning those out, as well.

The poor little Tahitian Limewhich has never looked terribly healthy, is doing its best. It has bloomed and is actually trying to set fruit.

The Dwarf Peach, whose very healthy “belly” drags the ground anyway, bloomed and has set a few fruit. I still have to figure out a way to protect those peaches from rodents given their proximity to the ground! (I’m working on “peach cages”. Otherwise, I’ll have to enclose the whole little tree in wire mesh and stake it to the ground if I plan on getting a peach.

The Lots-o-Lemons is just beginning to bloom and sadly, there are still no blooms on my Jaboticaba tree.

Over in another area, my Dwarf Freemont Mandarin was doing poorly with an ant infestation and sooty mould, which it has battled since I got it. Nothing else I tried worked, so I banded it to stop the ants and removed every single leaf except for the new growth. Cross-my-fingers, it seems to be working.

The Dwarf Nectarine put out its brilliant red foliage and single bloom. I was surprised to find one tiny fruit growing a few days ago.

I untangled the sprawling, gangly-looking

Pepino plants and installed them vertically in a couple of tomato cages. They have begun putting out more foliage, blooms and fruit.

The white Choko, has begun climbing back up the fence, and I have 3 plants starting for anyone who needs one.

Back up near the top of the yard, the Red Tamarillo is happy and fruiting like mad. I’m able to bag some of it, but I’ll have to plant the next tree somewhere that allows me to more safely access it and not teeter on the edge of a slope with a ladder.

The Pigeon Peas have been providing food for the birds and the bees. I’ve managed to get a couple of meals-worth for myself, as well.

They are beginning to slow down, now, so I’m trying to get some more started to plant elsewhere and make sure I have plenty to share next season.

OH! And I can see the very start of a Pineapple on one of the 3 plants I originally got from Elaine.

Down at the very bottom of the yard is where I planted the Cherry tree. I was so happy to see that it has survived and is putting out leaves and blooms on all branches.

The nearby Dwarf Black Mulberry is also doing well and putting out plenty of fruit.

I’ve also started planting out some annuals, like Roma Tomatoes, Spaghetti Squash, Zucchinis, Yacon, and lots of flowers to bring in the pollinators and other good bugs.

Too much out there to mention it all, but I was so glad that most of the garden survived without me. It still needs a lot of work, but at least I don’t have to start completely over.

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Comment by Susan on October 5, 2016 at 19:32

Beautiful Blog Jan.  I loved looking at all your pictures of your growing fruit.  If that is what your garden can do neglected, just imagine what it will do after a bit of TLC.  My cherry has bloomed as well so waiting to see if I get fruit set this year. 

Comment by Dianne Caswell on October 5, 2016 at 19:20
I am so pleased it is your blog that I am responding to first after a few days of not being able to get onto the site.
Your garden is beautiful. I feel that it was like a Fairytale, everything knowing you were on your way back to them with that special love you have for your garden. I reminds me of the Garden that came alive in “Secret Garden”, it was just waiting for that special moment to Flower and Fruit as well, it just needed someone to beleive. I am a Dreamer but It gets me through my days. Back to your garden.
What a lovely surprise to see most of your Fruit Trees Fruiting, I think we underestimate just how resident our plants are sometimes. I love your birds and the Pigeon Peas weren’t going to see them go hungry. I have just planted some seed myself. Well again Welcome Back and I ‘m sure you will turn that garden of yours into a picture. I know it might be a big job but as you know I had to do it myself earlier in the year (Thanks again to those who helped me with the Garden Rescue organized by Andy)..
Comment by Andrew Cumberland on October 5, 2016 at 18:28

Right Jan.  You need to stop gardening every so often.  Man, your "lack of care" garden is much more productive than my "over loved" one. 

Comment by Jan Holley on October 5, 2016 at 17:59

I also got the Pepino from Daley's on one of their "free" offers. Judging by the number of plants I have coming up now, I'd say they strike very easily and I'm sure anyone who has them here would be glad to offer you one.

These "Kendall Gold" seem to be a good size.

Comment by Jan Holley on October 5, 2016 at 17:53

Mary-Ann, Thank you but "Mother Nature" gets ALL the credit on them this year!

The Cherry is a Two-Way grafted, Low chill tree that was offered by Daley's a bit over a year ago (I think) and in a very limited quantity. I think 3 of us here on BLF bought all of them. They are quite pricey, too.

They really are a relative unknown so far. No one seems to have had them long enough to decide if they are a success or failure up here and there is little to no information about them online.

I guess time will tell.

Comment by Mary-Ann Baker on October 5, 2016 at 17:38
your garden is so awesome and productive , so much is growing so well and looking really good !- cant wait until ours matures so that the trees actually fruit !Its really hard not to be jealous of your wonderful productive garden I just ignored mine for a few weeks while i am was away and all it grew was weeds!!!! Jan what sort of cherry tree do you have? Where did you get your pepinos from - our are about the size of marbles and really hard - seem to be a waste of time trying to grow them - do love them - we used to get them in Mexico like a small rockmelon size and so yummy! our tamarillos, pineapples and tropical apple have been growing well for their second year now but no sign of flowers or fruit ! the white choko is just getting going and we lost our jicama and cant seem to get a new one to start !!! . think I will hang my head in shame on Saturday !!! cant wait to see you all !
Comment by CHERYL SLAPP on October 5, 2016 at 15:06

WOW looks fantastic, maybe I should just ignore my yard and see if it can look as good as yours.  See you Saturday

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