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Autumn ~ Heps of work in the garden

Autumn is sort of like a second spring in sub-tropical Brisbane ^^ Other then cleaning up the summer crop.. or just growth with not much crops, (that’s what I think the pumpkin vine and passionfruit vines are doing… ) we’ll also be busy preparing for the winter veggies ~

This photo was taken a few weeks back, the vine’s sort of dying now.. starting to see the pumpkins hiding underneath, but there’s not many and are still small and far from being ripe ^^”

I’ve pulled up the snake beans, but hesitating in pulling up everything as I am just starting to get fruits off some of my luffa vines, eggplants are still productive, and am waiting for seeds from Chinese broccoli and Thai/Vietnamese basil.. the turmeric and jicama have just started to take off about a month or two ago and I am not sure whether I should dig them up coz I don’t think they’re ready yet.... I think I will not plant them in veggie beds next year as they’re slower then I want for the crop rotation, not to mention the discovery of root knot nematoes … Argg…but I don’t want to miss out autumn planting. What do you guys do?

I’ve spread a bin full of almost ready compost into one large and one small beds… although they are not completely cleared yet. I have also bought 5 bags of horse manure, and 6 bags of mushroom composts to

refill the beds.. but doesn’t appear to be anywhere enough.. guess that’ll do for now..

With autumn, it’s also time to prune fruit trees, I’ve got the following fruit trees to prune and would like some suggestions of how to go about it ~ any advice’s welcome!

Tahitian Lime

This has been in the ground for 2 -3 years, never harvested anything from it.. saw one single flower about a month ago.. no fruit developed. I think it could be that I prune it every summer because of the leaf miners.. didn’t prune it this year, just cut off the affect leaves.

I will be pruning off some of the inner branches to open it up later.. it looks like there’s some sort of deficiency though… the new leaves are lime yellow green… !


Been in the ground for 2 – 3 years too, but moved once.. got two sour fruits from it in its first year… not looking very healthy right now.. what should I do to this one? (It’s hard to see in the picture, so I’ve circled the mandarin tree)

Dwarf Mulberry

Been in the ground for less then one year, never pruned.. certainly doesn’t look very dwarfish.. does cutting all the way back and leaving about 20 cm from where it branched sounds about right? Wait till it dropped all its leaves first?


Been in the ground for less then one year, never pruned… will tried to prune to give it some structures.. appears to have been attacked by leaf miners, and citrus gall wasps..

Sungold peach

Been in the ground for 2 – 3 years, gives a few fruits every year, but all rotten..

Seems to be suffering from some sort of canker and rust .. I prune off half of the new growth every year, but I think I pruned too early last year, so will wait for all leaves to drop before pruning this year.

It is flowering at the wrong time of year again.. what else should I do with this one?


A relative of citrus, it was kept in a pot for six months before planted in the ground less then a year ago. Should I cut off the tip to let it branch out or leave it for another year to see how it grows? There’s not much information I can find about this tree..

Oh, just a couple more pictures, here’s okra reaching out to the sky, and paw paw eaten by fruit bats? They only attack this tree, which is the tallest of the fruiting paw paw trees.. it is too tall for us to reach the fruits easily so we haven’t done anything about it yet and just let the fruit bats have their share…

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Comment by Donna on April 30, 2010 at 12:51
I don't have spotlights set up, but I do take the torch around and at least have a quick look at things at night, usually end up propping it up to do a bit of weeding :)
Comment by Scarlett on April 29, 2010 at 15:16
more interesting than most TV! and definitely healthy :)
Comment by Scarlett on April 29, 2010 at 15:16
hmm, well if your soil is usually acid it's probably not causing your pale young leaves - especially if they're not showing any weird colouring as well (brown bits, veins, funny edges). it is hard to tell from your photos! unless you have these symptoms (as per the link) don't put sulphur on!

acid soils will generally cause problems with nitrogen uptake - so the overall yellowing could be a result of either not enough food or a low pH. The pumpkins look ok - but they can take soils slightly more acid than citrus (not much though - citrus take down to 6, pumpkins down to 5.5). So it could be that your soil is in that in between range and that's why it's showing up on the citrus not the pumpkins (which is pretty acid as you say). Actually now that I look again, the browning older leaves on those pumpkins do look a bit acidy.

Only one for thing for it as you say - do a pH test! If it's too acid, add lime! If it's too alkaline, add sulphur. Then wait a while. The give everything a big feed :)

Yes, am thinking ongoing watering in case it gets dry again (obviously don't run the water if it's been raining) - just during establishment period

Gardening gives you true riches :) Gardening at night can be good too - just need good spot lights :) I really like gardening at night actually - the sky is all clear and cool. I think it helps the plants settle in too.
Comment by Florence on April 28, 2010 at 20:11
Thanks Scarlett, I must admit I am pretty slack with feeding.. especially for trees... there's never enough compost or manure to share around...

Too high PH as in too Alkaline? My soil used to be slightly acidic, but the mushroom compost might have changed it.. although most of those went into beds.. will check the PH near the trees this weekend. I didn't think they'd need much watering since we've had a lot of rain this year.. ^^" I will leave the mandarin & Wompi this year.. but will need to trim the pomelo, there's lots of big fat lumps on the young branches >_<"

The peach tree is full of problems.. I am tempted to pull it up, but my mum likes the flowers... although an ornamental peach would be a LOT better for that purpose..

We don't eat the green paw paws.. we are getting about two paw paws a fortnight (seem to ripen two at a time) from another tree right now, so we didn't bother yet.. although mum is thinking about picking them green for cooking ...maybe we'll try salad..

Thanks, I really enjoy the garden nowadays, hope that'll last ^^ waking up early on the weekends to work in the garden's not always fun ~~~ but certainly a lot healthier
Comment by Scarlett on April 28, 2010 at 9:06
PS bother about the nematodes
I think mine came in on seedlings - tomatoes are often a culprit
Comment by Scarlett on April 28, 2010 at 9:05
Hi Florence
I keep my long term things in a separate bed, or in the middle of rotation beds (the furthest point from your hands) and plant more frequently harvested things closer to the path.

Pale young leaves in citrus are generally a result of too high pH - resulting in possible sulphur, iron and/or manganese deficiencies. Not sure this is what you have - could just be new growth that hasn't hardened up yet. If you think it might be - - add dusting sulfur (a good handful scattered around each tree) and see if they pick up - add more a week later if you think so. (an inexact science!)

All your citrus are a bit pale yellow, indicating a nitrogen shortfall - suggest you give them all a good feed, they'd like some of that manure - they're heavy feeders. Also consider a dripper and a timer and giving each of them a good slow overnight soak once a week - that should get them started and then they'll be OK. I just trim mine back and thin them out a bit after they've produced their major flush of fruit (I just did the lemon recently). I wouldn't bother with the little ones until you see how they're going to grow - eg wompi and the pomelo and mandarin.
Peaches are hard in this climate - bordeaux mixture and full tree netting?
Mulberry yes that sounds right
Lovely looking pawpaws - do you eat green pawpaw salad? i really love it - maybe you can get a share that way (although you'd need a long handled snipper!)
beautiful garden :)
Comment by Florence on April 27, 2010 at 9:11
I will get to the side gardens when I get my beds almost organised, hopefully the pumpkins should be ready by then.. .. so much to do so little time & I don't have kids :P
Comment by Florence on April 27, 2010 at 9:08
Thanks for all your comments ~
I harvest snake beans when I think they're big enough, but before the pod shows 'lumps' (developing seeds).. can vary from 15 cm to 35 cm...
The mulberry tree is grafted... the graft union is very low down near the ground though... I ate some in spring and they were sweet, there was a small crop few weeks ago, but I didn't pick any coz I didn't bother walking through the pumpkin vine.. I will try to strike some cuttings when I prune ^__^ .. it's true that the term drawf is relative.. so it could still grow to 3 mtrs tall if left unprune I guess..

I feel really good this week coz I pretty much have almost three large beds cleared ready to plant this coming weekend ~ I had half a large bed and one small bed cleared previously, and have transplanted tomato seedlings and staked with bamboo stakes!! These are raised from Eden's mixed tomatoes, so I have no idea what they are ~ Hope to get some decent tomatoes this time :)

The down side is I seem to find evidence of root knot nematodes in every bed.. I only watered molasses into one though.. but have mixed mushroom compost and horse manure into every bed.. (went and bought another 3 bags of horse manure) will see how I go ... I think I should sow one of the beds with necom mustard..
Comment by Donna on April 26, 2010 at 9:59
Florence, there is a specific time to prune for less growth - think it is according to the moon, but also season... I will check out my pruning guide tonight and let you know what it says.

Might be worth checking the ph of your trees to rule that out first. Citrus has a specific requirement (can't remember it right now) but you should buy special fertiliser for them. Have you been fertilising them at all, probably wouldn't hurt to give them a shot of seaweed anyway.

I was pretty slack towards the end of summer so I have the opposite problem, all my beds are pretty much empty and waiting impatiently for seeds to sprout - might go and buy some seedlings soon just so there is something in them!

I have planted the longer term plants in the side garden which we put the bark on (like you) and that way they can take all the time they want without me becoming impatient. That's why I don't grow onions anymore too, although might try again just this once as I have a lot of beds ... we'll see, I have been given some leek seeds so maybe stick to them as they can be used young.

Your garden is looking great, and you have heaps of variety going on!
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 24, 2010 at 15:19
Let's hope that yours and mine are really 'dwarf' and it's not just the label! Mine looks cuttings grown (can't see a graft) so the goddess of fruit trees only knows what will eventuate. Reading about the 'dwarf' Mulberries, 'dwarf' is relative - to 3 metres they say. With a deciduous plant, you determine how it grows so long as you leave the fruiting wood alone.

Harvest Snake Beans sooner rather than later. They are a dryish bean anyway and the older they get, the less flesh surrounding the seeds there is. Pick them ideally around 3 to 4 inches long to get the most flesh, especially if you want to eat them raw. You have to be quick! They grow inches over night.

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