Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi everybody,

Those who have followed my ramblings about how my avocadoes did not get pollinated in Spring, will no doubt be a little fed up with the accounts of the lack of success that I have had to get pollination occurring. Having said that I don't recall anyone else raving on about how good their avocadoes were this year. Now is this because they wanted to spare my feelings or because they had similar lack of success?

I have done a couple of things to try to get a better result next fruiting season. The first was to restock my place with honey bees. I do realise however that if there is a more attractive source of nectar and pollen available at the time that the Avos are flowering then the bees could ignore my trees anyway.

The other thing I have done is to plant a type B tree and position it close to my type A trees. My photo  shows my Sharwill Avo that I have planted in a wheelie bin. Non dwarf Avos are supposed to need a depth of soil of around 5 metres. I don't have more than around two feet of poor soil, so planting in the ground is useless here. I saw an episode of Vassili's Garden where a guy in Melbourne grows Avos in pots. He use 100 litre grow bags and gets good crops of different types of Avos. My wheelie bin is not as broad in girth as his bags, but much deeper. I will cut the tree back to about two metres in August and keep at around that height after that. Sharwill trees are supposed to be pollinators for a couple of the dwarf Avos that I have. Only time will tell if I am wasting my time.

In addition to the Sharwill I have also planted out a couple of trees grown from seed in wheelie bins, I don't even know the type but I expect at least 1 will be a Hass, if not both, as Hass seems to be the main type we get in our shops. These will probably not fruit for a number of years if at all, but they are looking very healthy at the moment. At least if these both fail I will not have spent too much money on them.

It is good to experiment with different ideas to solve growing problems, most of my trials seem to not turn out as hoped for, but at least some do, and that's what keeps me experimenting.

It's good to hear about Dave's growing mounds, Elaine's wicking beds / containers, Susan's trials of growing different fruit trees, etc, and the garden visit's are where we see all these things in action. Who else is trying out different ways to grow? 

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Comment by Susan on March 3, 2016 at 16:47

BTW daley's have Feurte, Sheppard, sharwill and Bacon as their B types.  As feurte and bacon have VIGOROUS in their description, they were immediately out for my small yard so I chose the sheppard as that is what they had at the time.

Comment by Susan on March 3, 2016 at 16:41

Hi Dianne,  I can't remember where I read this but here goes what I've read.  Most of the avocado's flower at the same time of year but spend different amounts of time ripening their fruit - hence the different varieties fruiting at different times of the year.  As long as you have 1 B among the A's, this should be enough to increase the amount of fruit set due to pollination.  I have a reed (A- august to december fruit), wurtz (A - august to october fruit) and sheppard (B - feb to march fruit).  This is not first hand knowledge by the way - all based on Daley's harvest times.  I ideally wanted enough different varieties so that I would have Avo's nearly all year but have no more room and needed to choose the smallest & most productive of what I could fit in the yard. 

Comment by Roger Clark on March 3, 2016 at 16:27

Yes Elaine, the three dwarf types, Pinkerton, Wurtz, and Rincon, are all type A. They do all flower at around the same time, but all will have the male flowers out at the same time and then the female flowers out at the same time. Hence, it is difficult to get pollination. A Sharwill will flower at the same time as the P,W and R, but will have the female flowers out when the male P, W and R flowers are out and vice versa. So the chances of pollination are much better. However, the Flowers on Avos are very small, and I believe not very attractive to Honey Bees. So if there is another source of nectar and pollen around at the same time that we are wanting the bees to come and make merry at the Avos site, we may not be very lucky. With my own hive close by, and a type B tree also close by my chances must be improved. If it doesn't happen after this, well it aint gonna happen ever!! Trouble is I've got to wait til Spring to find out.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 3, 2016 at 9:22

There's info around on which variety is A or B. The 'dwarfs' are all one type and getting real amounts of fruit from them is problematical. Commercially they need the two systems. Thinking about that, the majority variety is Hass but they have to have a contra-variety for pollination. Guess that's why there's Shepherds, Wurz, Reed etc available at times.

It's not when the fruits are ready but when the flowers are fertile - one female and one male at the same time. That's the trick! I've found with Blueberries that although they flower simultaneously the fruit takes quite different times to mature.

From my observations of other people's Avos (bear in mind I killed both of mine!) that you really do need the other variety to get enough fruit to justify the trees garden space. People in plant shops saying you don't need 2 of opposite types is a selling ploy and not real advice imho.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on March 3, 2016 at 9:09

Can anyone please tell me - eg. If I have a Tree A that fruits Aug - Oct do I need to have a Tree B that fruits Aug - Oct. Any help here would be great as I have found 2 Dwarf Avocadoes, Wurtz and Pinkerton but not any B's. Any suggestions.

Comment by Phil on March 3, 2016 at 7:49
Nice idea Roger and I like how you got them. It always pays to ask as it amazing what you can get for free. I have large pots that I move around using a removalist trolley but it not as easy as a wheelie bin.
Comment by Dianne Caswell on March 3, 2016 at 7:24

What a great idea with the wheelies bins,  just goes to show that councils and their contractors can be quite generous. We just need to ask. Does anyone get much form the dump shops? Roger, would you have a green lid that I could swap you for a black lid.

Comment by Lissa on March 3, 2016 at 5:42

Clever Roger, very clever.

Comment by Sophie on March 2, 2016 at 7:02
Wow that's really clever, I had been wondering how you'd got them - whether you reuse all your recyclables or something!
Comment by Roger Clark on March 2, 2016 at 6:17

Lissa,

I got the extra wheelie bins by emailing the council and asking if they had any that were broken, split, etc. They put me on to J J Richards who were willing to give me a few for nothing. The good thing about these is that even when they are full of soil, I am still able to move them about. I have drilled 4 25mm holes in the bottom for drainage and filled them with my usual mix (mushroom compost, good potting mix, my own soil from fire sites, and the magic horse manure). The mixture does slump quite a bit so it's best to let it settle for a few months before planting out. I have also planted the tree right up to the very top of the bin to allow for further slumping. 

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