Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Searching for sweetness and light

After a warm wet night, I tiptoe through our waking garden while it’s still damp with dew, peeking here and poking there, looking for raiders of the lost dark - slugs and snails still slow and grsasshoppers just waking fromtheir winter slumber and still easily caught.

After my dawn raid, there’s brekky, still in the PJs and rubber thongs in the garden. The tree grape happily gives up handfuls of black pearly mouthfuls.

The King shahtoot White mulberries, no bigger than my little finger don’t make it inside, nor do the panama berries. There’s nothing better than standing under the tree gorging on the first meal of the day, juice flowing along the chin and dripping onto toes. I see the lizard is just waking up too. We have one left from a family of four. The kookaburras moved in last year and ate all but one. This one is my little helper. He or she sits and looks expectantly at me waiting for a feed too.

I'm happily enjoying the spectacle of a healthy citrus tree too. PLanning or the preserved lemons and the lemon cheesecake in a few months.

The world loves citrus. Citrus are the worlds most traded fruits with global production almost 100million tonnes annually. In our gardens, citrus can flourish or founder. On radio garden shows, citrus feature as perennial problems for the erstwhile grower. Proper feeding, trimming and protection are essential.

I was given a heritage mandarin tree, one of the offspring from the fuirst to arrive in Sydney 2 centuries ago. It arrived in the new colony of NSW. I’ll keep a close eye on it this summer, treating it to seaweed, manures and oil sprays.

If you'd like to be a part of a fruit trees workshop, learning more about how you can grow your own, enrol for the next ones starting Sat 16 Oct. Enrol on 3349 2962.

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Comment by Linda Brennan on November 20, 2010 at 9:21
I find that feeding throughout the year is better than in big amounts once or twice. The organic fertilisers manures plus seaweed and fish, tend to be less destructive fo the feeder roots as they usually have a lower salt content and lower nitrogen, and thus less likely to cause fruit, flower or leaf drop due to salt toxicity or dehydration of the abscision zone.
Elaine is right too. To much fertiliser at the time of leaf development will cause a soft, juicy flush of leaves ripe for the stink bug and aphids to descend upon.
So, I recommend to my clients, an application of organic fruit tree fertiliser monthly. Even in pots this stands them in good stead.
Comment by Donna on November 18, 2010 at 18:06
Good luck Elaine! Think citrus have specific requirements for fertiliser - not sure what they are but there is always a special 'citrus' fertiliser at the big green shed.
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 2, 2010 at 10:48
Well, everything is crossed and the Lotsa Lemons has three developing fruit. I read somewhere that feeding after fruiting was the way to go rather than encouraging the tree to produce leaves.
Comment by Florence on November 2, 2010 at 9:34
Ali, does your neighbour put the tea leaves directly on the soil like mulch, or does he compost them first? I may have access to tea leaves..
Comment by Linda Brennan on October 13, 2010 at 9:11
HI Elaine Would you like to take part in the fruit trees or citrus workshops? Happy to have you along for one or more. Linda 33492962
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on October 12, 2010 at 10:33
Trimming? Of citrus? I'd like to know more! With a 100 percent failure rate with citrus there's lots to know ... my Lotsa Lemons flowered this year and that's as close to fruit as I have ever got in 40+ years of gardening.

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