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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
From Rob, Jan and the Team at OEG!