Spring Update (since spring has nearly sprung off already)

Woah, what happened to the last few months?!! I haven’t posted since the end of August! Well actually, what happened was training for the Auckland half marathon took all my time but now it’s done and I am back in the garden and back to blogging and I have seen the orchard is looking mighty fine considering my recent neglect.

So what’s been going on over Springtime? Well I may have enthused in a previous post about all the beautiful dafodills and bluebells coming up and they really put on a great show for the end of winter. I had been expecting them all to come out together but being new to bulbs, I didn’t realise dafodils were first and then as they were finishing all the bluebells came out. So it means we get a longer show while waiting for everything else to wake up and put on some green. I waited for ages and checked all the time for the first flowers to come up and then while I was out running I stopped looking and the next time i went to the orchard we had a riot of poppies and calendula just as the other flowers were finishing up. At the moment it looks amazing and we have loads of birds, bees and butterflies in the mix aswell.

Now to the fruiting stuff – well firstly I pruned the grape vines carefully in august and did what the books said, not realising you are supposed to prune them in early winter, not late winter, because their sap is beginning to rise again and this, apparently, can kill your vines. Ho-hum, too late to do anything except watch what happens next. So I was delighted and relieved to see the vines spring back to life this season, when they just looked like so much dead wood. Once they start growing it’s amazing how fast they go and now we even have several tiny little  bunches of grapes beginning. Does anyone else get excited about that? No? Just me? Well I am. Do go and have a look.

The passionfruit vines are typically climbing everywhere and have lots of lovely flowers all over them.

All 8 apple and pear trees are looking good and have lots of leaves and flowers. Again I did some brutal looking pruning on these guinea pig trees over winter, but I did go on a pruning course so I did kind of know what I was doing and I did practice on my home trees first. The plan is to keep all these trees with easy to reach fruit so keeping control of their height and growth direction is important. Most are dwarf anyway, but it’s always good to know which bits to chop to keep your tree healthy and with good airflow through the branches.

Bananas are growing fast with lots of new pups all around the base of one of them which will need moving before too long. They are heavy feeders so better not to have too many in one spot. And if it means we can have a little banana grove somewhere else then so much the better. Actually the poor orphan banana seems to have given up so I may put the pups over in his corner.

Tamarillo – after growing some beautiful coloured fruit, dropped all their leaves and looked sad. They had some kind of fungus which I didn’t manage to get rid of so I have cut them right back and we will see if they regrow.

Avocado trees have looked great all winter considering they don’t like to be too wet and, well, this is Auckland. However, one looked a bit yellow the other day so I have treated it for phytothera, which is a common root problem for avocado trees and also for lack of magnesium, which also gives yellow leaves. So now we wait and watch. Which is half the work of gardening really.

Feijoas are looking healthy and are flowering again already, beautiful spikey red flowers. Thank you feijoas for not giving me any more jobs.

Citrus trees, of which we have 8 I think, are mostly looking healthy except for the 3 in wine barrels up by the vege garden which are mandarin trees. I have emailed Incredible Edibles about them and they said not to worry, first year in the ground they just need to sit and get their roots strong and do nothing much else. I have pulled off all the flowers and fruit so they put their energy into roots although I find this ridiculously hard to do, so you will see I have only done this on the trees that look a bit dubious. Really I need to harden up and do this to all the citrus this year.

Chilean guava hedge, if anyone is still reading, also is thriving. It has had one haircut and is ready for another. Anyone who wants a cutting please feel free because soon there will be lots. I put one in water for a few days, then into potting mix and now it is a little plant all on it’s own. Marvellous. And Free.

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