6 August 2018

6 August 2018

Slowly the weather is changing – the days are getting longer and it’s often warm in the middle of the day. Our broad beans are flowering now and that will give the bumblebees some much-needed food. Notice how the plants are putting out extra shoots at the base, since we nipped the tips out, making them sturdier and ultimately producing more beans.

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Fejoas

There’s a list of jobs to do around the place before spring starts. One of those is to prune the feijoa trees. They grow quickly and get really bushy and tangled. Feijoas fruit on new season’s growth, so it’s always good to prune out the older wood and the branches that are too close to ground level.

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Feijoas are pollinated by birds, so keeping trees open not only lets in light and air but give the birds easy access to the flowers. The other benefit of pruning is, even though trees may produce fewer feijoas, the fruit is generally larger.

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Gardeners often lack confidence when pruning, but remember trees will always grow back if you over-do it.

Like all our subtropical fruit trees, feijoas need a generous amount of fertiliser. We apply rock dust, compost and chicken manure in early spring for good health. If the summer is dry, watering will help produce larger fruit.

Guava moth

Guava moth is now a real problem for fruiting trees in the warmer areas of New Zealand and seems to be spreading. Feijoas and lemons are the two fruit trees most affected. There is no specific organic spray or treatment for this problem, but we find the following works well for us. During the cooler months spread neem granules on the soil under the trees.

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Neem is an excellent soil conditioner and will take care of any moth larvae living in the soil. Then during fruit set, we apply a spray of organic caterpillar control (also known as B.T.). This will deter the moth from laying eggs on the tree.

Broccoli flowers

Some of our broccoli and other brassicas are now going to seed as the weather changes. We like to leave them in the garden to feed our bees and beneficial insects. On a fine day you can hear the hum of bees around the plants.

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From Rob, Jan and the Team at OEG!

10 thoughts on “6 August 2018

    1. The pheromone trap is a great monitoring system ie it will tell you whether you have the guava moth or not. But it just has one pheromone on it, usually female, which attracts the male moths. So all you’re doing with a pheromone trap is catching half the population. The female moths will still do damage.

  1. You mentioned before about putting fertiliser around the base of the feijoa trees to the drip line. What do you use?. Is that inside or outside your circle of comfrey and cleavers? Can you also use the leaves and cuttings from your tree as mulch?

    1. We use volcanic rock dust and animal manure at the time of pruning and you could do it twice a year (spring and autumn). The comfrey is usually growing near the dripline, and if it is, we would just apply the fertiliser on top of the comfrey (and cleavers if you have them) – there’s no harm. And yes, if you chip the prunings from your feijoa tree, it makes a fantastic mulch 🙂

  2. I was told to completely clear out mulch, anything underplanted from under my feijoa trees, and regularly fork over the soil to disturb guava moth larvae. Does that help?

    1. Feijoas like all subtropicals have shallow surface roots, so we wouldn’t fork over the soil round the tree in case it damages the roots. So far it hasn’t been a problem for us having underplanting or mulch under our feijoas.

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