14 Nov 2015

November 2015

It is very small and hard to see, but the olive tree is covered in blossom.  It promises another good harvest of fine olives, a favourite of mine.

This fruit and herb bed is drip line irrigated and I usually run the system for an hour twice a week when the weather is dry.  It needs more when its really hot.  Plenty of compost and aged manure is added to the soil in September as a top dressing and covered with sugar cane straw mulch.  After 3 years of this treatment the soil structure is great and holds water extremely well. 

My summer fruiting raspberries are much happier in this bed after trying unsuccessfully to grow it in an Ecobin.  It needed space to spread and deep soil to explore with its strong tap root.  The bed is drip line irrigated.

Similarly my autumn fruiting raspberries are enjoying the freedom of a drip line irrigated bed after a couple of years in an Ecobin even though it shares this small bed with a row of hybrid thornless blackberries vines.  Its horses for courses, and Ecobeds/Ecobins have their limits.

My two espaliered dwarf apple trees are growing strongly and looking very healthy this year.  Unfortunately my abundant display of blossom went unpollinated due to a sudden drop in the local bee population (cause unknown but suspect unfavourable weather or irresponsible use of chemical insecticides by someone in my suburb - or both).  No nice apples for me this year, but a lesson learned - do not rely on insect pollination.

Check out the 2 new links I recently placed on my home page (resources: left hand column).  They describe methods developed to pollinating apples by hand when bees and other pollinators are not active.  Its labour intensive, but it can save your apple crop.

It looks as if I will get a good crop of peaches again this season despite a shaky start.

In line with my plan to dispense with using a lime sulphur winter wash on my stone fruit trees this year, I placed my trust in monthly spray applications of aerated compost tea to protect them from leaf curl.  Leaf curl has badly affected peach trees in gardens close to mine for several years now. 

My trees were attacked early in spring, but by regular removal of affected leaves making way for vigorous new growth they are now free of the disease and with no apparent damage to the fruit.

I don't like using any chemical treatments on my plants, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough to risk succumbing to a more serious attack next year.  We'll see.