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Garden Update

Spring is finally here, it is dry and cool, ideal time now to get those trees pruned. When pruning fruit trees always prune to have the centre open to allow maximum light and air to the heart of your plant. The type and variety does not matter, air and light give you the healthy tree that will produce well for now and the future. Most of our trees are grown Espalier, this allows maximum light and air to reach all parts of the trees.

As you prune start by removing any damaged, crossing or diseased shoots. Determine how high you want your tree to be when fruiting, we have never liked the idea of climbing a ladder (or the tree) to pick fruit. We restrict all ours to a maximum height of 8′ or 2.2m, that is as high as I can easily reach. Prune to outward pointing shoot buds about 3′ or 1m above the ground in year one. Second year, create your bowl shape with shoots, with strong 30-40′ angles to the truck. Third year now you are creating the future framework for where you want the fruit to be.

When you purchased your tree you should have found on the plant tag, or you would have been told whether this variety was spur or tip fruiting, and whether it fruits on this years or last years wood. These are critical things to know as you for your future pruning success. If you do not know, now is the time to find out before you start year three pruning.

As you will see from the pictures, our Plum, Apricot and Peach trees still have nice side growth left as these will bear the blossom and fruit on last years wood for this season. Apple and Pears are pruned to help create blossom spurs with much shortened shoot growth.

Please ask any questions in regard to pruning (or any questions), always happy to help guide you through the process.

May 28, 2018 Update

So May almost gone, what a contrast with 2017. By the 27th May last year we had had 6″ of rain in May, so far this year less than 2″ with temperature today of 33’C. So yes, we have been watering to help the germination in the veg garden. So far so good, but with not much rain in the forecast the watering hose will be a much used piece of equipment. We use water from 3,000 gal rain water tanks.

We have been growing Ficus for quite a few years, this winter most of the varieties we had in the ‘cold’ greenhouse are not showing signs of growing. In the garden however eight of the eleven types are showing new buds, will keep a watch on the last three over the next two weeks. They are; Chicago Hardy, Yellow Long Neck and Little Ruby.

Most of the blossoming is now over, the next couple of weeks will show how much the wet and cool (at night) start to May has affected the setting of fruits. The most obvious thing missing this spring are Honey Bees. We have a medium sized Lilac in the front garden, by this time of year it is covered with Bees drinking in the nectar. Most days we can count the number of Bees in just a few seconds, when you have local Apiaries around as we have, this is not a good sign. We do have Mason Bees in the garden though, without honey Bees weather is very critical as shear numbers do matter in spring.

As Blossom time is mostly over, we have started our caterpillar (BTK as spray) and mite control (Neoseiulus Fallacis) in the orchard. Also Praying Mantis, Ladybug (both general predators), Lindorus Lophanthae (scale predator) and Delphastus Catalinae (white fly).

Harvesting from the cold greenhouse has started, Radish, Lettuce and Tomato. Sowing Radish and Lettuce every two weeks now until September.

Next garden sowings will be after the Broccoli is harvested, that will be third Pea crop and late Carrots. Second earthing up of Potatoes will be this week. Will be placing supports for climbing Beans this week. Planting out herbs that were earlier sown in pots.

Will know which trees in the orchard have not survived our last winter by mid June. We seem to have lost Apple, Apricot and Peach varieties. New plantings are mostly doing well, we have a couple of plants in pots due to poor spring growth. Just part of gardening and growing.