Rob digs in the green manure crop, makes a codling moth trap and prunes a feijoa tree

How to dig in a green manure crop, make codling moth traps and prune a feijoa tree

Digging in our lupin bed

  • It’s best to dig in a green manure crop when no more than 10 per cent of the plants are flowering (or any time earlier). If you leave it any longer, the plants become woody and take too long to break down.
  • Remove netting and hoops if you had nets on, pull the plants out by the roots and lay them back on top of the bed.
  • Use a spade to chop up the plants. It may be worth sharpening your spade to make the job easier. Use a sharpening stone at a 45 degree angle in a circular motion over both sides of the blade.
  • Using a fork, work over the bed lifting the soil to aerate it. Then apply lime and leave.
  • There’s no need to dig the green manure crop in completely. Within 2-3 weeks, the crop will have broken down and the bed will be ready to plant up shortly after that.

Making codling moth traps for apple and pear trees

  • It’s time to get traps on our apple and pear trees to catch the codling moths which will start flying shortly. You need to get the traps on before bud burst.
  • In a bucket mix ½ cup molasses, 1 cup cider vinegar, 5 cups water, small squeeze of dishwashing liquid and a few drops of ammonia. Mix well together.
  • Using a craft knife or pair of scissors cut a hole of around 30-40mm in diameter on either side of a 2-litre milk bottle. Pour the mixture into the bottle to about 5 cms high. This recipe will make 3-4 traps. Secure the lid back on the bottle.
  • Tie from the handle of the bottle onto the V of two sturdy branches using soft-cloth ties so that the trap dangles securely in the middle of the tree. Depending on the size of the tree you may need up to 3 traps in each tree.

Pruning a feijoa tree

  • Before your tree bursts with new growth and flowers, it’s time to give it a prune. Feijoas are pollinated by birds rather than bees, so you need to have the tree as open as possible for them to fly through.
  • We start by removing low growth which creates a problem for the lawn mower and it restricts light to the understorey plants (comfrey and cleaver in our case).
  • Using loppers, remove spindly growth and inward-growing branches. Think of how you want the tree to end up and work towards that. You may need a small pruning saw to help you with larger branches.
  • Never worry about over-pruning as it will grow back and feijoas only bear on new season’s growth anyway.
  • After pruning, add an animal manure and rock dust to the dripline (the circumference of the tree, which is where the tree feeds from).

Camera: Tom Neunzerling
Editor: Thomas Asche