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Almost Autumn - supposedly a cyclone but still dry!

Hi Everyone,

Is anyone else disappointed that the cyclone is not giving us any rain?  I was holding off watering this week cause I was like "Torrential downpour on its way" to no avail  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  Not happy!

Well I've had my first (ripe) black sapote.  Now I have waited almost a year for this fruit to ripen.  It is continually flowering and setting fruit but I've worked out it needs a lot of water to keep them so most drop off.  This one has been sitting on there for almost 1 year.  I was determined not to pick this one too early (like I had my previous one) and the other one on my neighbours side of the fence dropped off and rotted on the ground before anyone realised so you can imagine my anxiousness that this one be coddled until it was JUST right. After a week on the bench, it looked like this:

When I cut it open, it looked like this.  Not a bad fruit but I've been watching you tube and I probably should have left it another day so that the edible flesh was glossy and black.  Next time :)  Now don't believe what you hear.  It does NOT taste like chocolate pudding but it's texture is similar and I've found recipes that make it into a mousse (with the addition of cocoa powder for the chocolate hit) which I imagine would be a passable yet much healthier substitute.  I've got a whole bunch of medium sized ones which I'll probs have to wait for next year on which I will try this recipe. 

Christa and Ian, I think it was you who I got the adriatic fig plant from one of the recent garden visits.  I finally planted it in the ground and it seems to be doing fine (picture below).  My other fig out the front has given me two ripe fruit so far this year with about 10 more on it.  Not bad considering it really has only been in ground about 1.5 years. 

I also got round to planting my purchased tayberry and blackberry from Diggers when I went to Melbourne.  We are probably too warm here but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Most of the tropical fruit is coming to an end.  We have had a nice lot of pomegranates, mangoes, dragon fruit and melons this year.  Fortunately, the citrus are about to start.  Here are the two extremes of my 5 mandarine varieties.   The Mihowase satsumsa is the earliest of my mandies and you can see they are nice and plump and are starting to blush with colour.   According to Daleys - this should be ready in April but I do believe I'll be eating mandarines in March :)  The right is my Afourer mandarine which should be August harvest (possibly july for us).  They are much smaller (I don't think I snipped the photo's accurately to see the size difference) and dead green still.   This is the first year that I have mandarines on each variety ( except the green pigeon) so I'll finally be able to see how they really spread the harvest out.  I'll keep you all updated. 

Unfortunately, I was pretty slack pollinating the custard apple this year - my other Autumn/winter fruit - and I have only had 3 fruit set.  Here is the biggest and it will probably be ready mid April. 

As usual, i don't keep up with the watering in the absolute worst of summer.  Fortunately for me, My mum comes down end January every year to help me with the kids and takes over my garden watering.  I had a persimmon and fingerlime that she rescued BACK FROM THE DEAD!!!  The top is dead (ignore the supposed green - passionfruit tendril) and focus on the new shoots just above the graft.  Same thing happened with my fingerlime. 

Well that's it from me folks.  I'm going to focus on prepping my beds for brassica's and root crops as it (hopefully) gets cooler. 

Happy gardening

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Comment by Susan on February 27, 2019 at 19:08

Hi Dave, my custard apple took a good many years to start fruiting - i think between 8 and 10 years. Even then, i don’t get fruit unless I hand pollinate. The “frog” Elaine , was actually a toad.   Always welcome to any cuttings Christa. I just harvested last of my corn Jeff. I don’t know if I’ll bother with anymore this year. 

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 26, 2019 at 23:35

One of my grapes has a bit of wind damage but not much.  I actually got a bit of rain this morning - not lots but I'll take any at the moment. 

Comment by Dave Riley on February 26, 2019 at 22:23

Now that the wind has relented I have had a chance to assess the damage.

Elevated climbers like Hyacinth Bean have been killed by the wind. Like they've been burnt. My Bottle Gourd has suffered brutally.I think it will recover. But most of its growth is crispy brown.  Half of my planted out  seedlings have been killed off...despite my keeping up the water.

We're about 650 metres from the sea as the seagull flies.

On the shoreline -- as I inspected the storm surge impacts -- most of the Cotton Trees' leaves along the coast have been dried crisp by the constant saline blow...as well as many of the seaside grasses by the salt -- and we lost a few Vetiver uprooted from the sand as a section of the  embankment collapsed and the plants weren't as yet deep rooted.

The average wind maximum over the last week has been over 70kph with a mean average of at least 35 kph over the past 4 days.

No wonder waves were upwards of 15 metres off Point Lookout! But Cape Moreton was even windier...

Comment by Dave Riley on February 26, 2019 at 12:03

Back to point: it is orchardists like Susan who keep me wishful.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on February 25, 2019 at 10:21

Looking Great Susan, and we all need a Mum like yours to come visit.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on February 25, 2019 at 9:36

The waves look a bit more enthusiastic than they do in my part of Deception Bay. We've had our share of wind but not as much as you, Dave; we're a tad more sheltered.

That's the thing with the wind, even if the ground is as wet as it can be, often the plants cannot pump enough water fast enough to counter the drying effect of the wind.

There's times when I am glad I am not a plant :-\

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 24, 2019 at 23:51

Wow.  You really are copping it Dave.  

Comment by Dave Riley on February 24, 2019 at 22:34

We're being blown at big time here on the coast. Relentless off the Coral Sea. Such a wind is parching the topsoil.

It aint a good time for seedlings so I've been weeding where necessary, separating  Vetiver clumps and fiddling with my ladders.

Half the Vetiver we planted on the sea shoreline has been taken by the storm surge which hasn't let up.

But then, Susan's always inspiring blog posts are comments I can now begin to relate to as the fruit trees I have planted recently STILL LIVE!

Nashi Pear, Feijoa (x2), and Custard Apple.

When I bought the Custard Apple the grower told me about the local Custard Apple growers association whose membership mainly grows for export. Anyway, at their last workshop, he tells me,  the focus was on how difficult it is to get these plants  to reproduce.

CSIRO technology. Heat pads. Special soaks...

I nodded, as I have tried a couple of times to get the seeds to sprout. You need a lot of patience, he says, and luck, to be get them going from seed.

Lo and behold -- after paying big money for my Custard Apple sapling, my domestic nursery delivered me a sprouted seed!

Just one. It lives!

I'm not gonna push my luck and start orcharding big time. For now, I'm happy enough to be self sufficient in pawpaw.

[ I look at my fig, Pomegranate and Jabuticaba -- they live but don't grow. I don't have the knack.]

And tonight we had our first Dragon Fruit -- served as we prefer: diced with a good scoop of Weiss Mango Sorbet.

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on February 24, 2019 at 21:01

The hot dry weather is good for growing sweet corn had seed germinate in 4 days but have to stop getting cooked in the ground  as the soil can get very hot if dry  the corn took 5 weeks to start tassel  and 6 weeks for silk and hopefully corn in 63 days the problem is dry ground have to water every day  runs into dry soil and tank is dry and have to use tap water even heavy mulch does not help no moisture in the ground .

Comment by Christa on February 23, 2019 at 9:36

Lovely harvests on the way for you this year Susan.  The fig was from Michael Hoff for your garden visit, and afterwards I thought about it and it may have been for me, as we talked about a swap of fig plants at a previous GV.  Sorry Michael for not realising, but Susan has it growing well so I am sure that I may be able to obtain a cutting next year from Susan. 

I wondered if those 2 mandarin varieties would grow here in Brisbane, in past years I tried Pixie and Daisy and they grew but were not abundant in fruit, maybe my fertilizer regime was not enough then. 

Tayberry sounds interesting, have not heard of that one, any berry is good for your health.  Keep it up Susan, you are an inspiration to all of us. 

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