Monday, November 30, 2015

Bearing fruit

We've attempted to grow fruit for quite some time. Citrus was the first successful crop, but the other fruits were proving harder to nurture along.


By far, the mulberry was the most prolific grower and producer, but the birds soon found out, and we never got a harvest - just the occasional one or two. With kids, these never went far! So I've successfully propagated more trees from the existing ones, this year, so we might actually get some in years to come.

Image taken 2011 ~ planted 2009 

Our mango tree is about six years old now, and purchased from the local nursery. It was most likely grown from seed, and why it's taking so long to produce. It didn't help that we had it growing in shade, which slowed its development down. With the addition of a new swale recently, and the removal of some weed trees, it's put on quite a lot of fruit this season.

Kensington Pride Mango

It's still not a very big tree, but we don't mind, as it means we can still reach the fruit! I'll have to try and bag the fruit, as the fruit fly will make a mess of them. The very favourable rain this year, has aided in the heavy bearing, and more importantly, helping the tree hold onto the fruit.

Avocado - likely, Hass

Our avocado tree is still holding onto three fruit, which will be ready to eat in another five to six months time. It's looking very much like a Hass to me. Because we love avocado, I'm growing more from seed, of a different variety. Some even from avocados we were gifted recently too. Which looks like the Reed variety to me. I'm just going to put them in the ground and let them surprise me.

Some people suggest, growing fruit trees from seed can be variable. I've had three grafted avocado trees I purchased however, die in short order, so seed is cheaper and I've yet to have a seedling die. They take longer to produce than a grafted variety, but at least they survive. If you've got limited space though and can spoil them, grafted trees may well suit your situation better.  You'll definitely get fruit sooner.

Dwarf Ducasse

We probably won't get bananas this year, on account we had to chop many of them back, to build a nearby retaining wall. We got six suckers from them however, with a few left in the original position. We'll try planting the removed ones in a different location, lower down in the gully, so they'll get more access to water.

A different kind of cherry

What we have been enjoying as recently as this morning, however, is the Brazilian cherry. You can see from above, its producing quite a lot of fruit. Two adults and one child, were able to graze this tree and enjoy the slightly tart flavour. It was very juicy and tasting quite like an extremely sweet capsicum (pepper), is the best way to describe it.

Ready to eat

The yellow to orange fruit, are under ripe. They have to be a lovely red colour to enjoy them the most - as they will be less tart. They're quite a big fruit, but its a little deceptive, as the single pip inside, is big. But you do get a reasonable amount of flesh. I like them, and glad we planted this tree.

Planted late 2010

It's come a long way since it first went into the ground. What I love about the Brazillian cherry the most, is how tough it's been. Having to hang on through our very dry and hot periods, may have dwarfed its size a little, but the nearby swale, has helped it along this year too. Lovely, juicy, less tart fruit. A good swale, in the right location, can help your fruit trees enormously.

If you have access to a lot more moisture, and live near bushland, you may not want to plant this variety. As birds can spread the seed and you may have a problem stopping its spread outside your boundary. It's never been a problem here, as I've noticed the seedlings which I have tried to propagate, are very vulnerable to heat and moisture stress. That's why I don't see them popping up naturally. So best keeping this tree for harsher environments, or if you live in the suburbs.

Wee tomatoes

I only wanted to showcase our fruit trees in this post, but I couldn't let our cherry tomatoes escape, since they are incredibly delicious and red at the moment! We even had some for lunch today...

Store bought beetroot and cheese ~
the rest was home grown

We grew the tomatoes and lettuce ourselves, the avocado was given to us and the chickens produced the eggs to make the frittata. We feed our chickens weeds, bugs and food scraps, and they give us eggs in return.

I have to say though, fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden, are nothing like store bought ones. They're more sweet than bitter and taste like sunshine. I'm sure the chickens would agree, if we dared share them. Maybe later in the season, when we can't keep up with them.

Sunfola variety

And just because I love them - sunflowers! The native bees and a few European ones, have been going berserk with them lately. These were planted on the sweet potato bed recently. While the sweet potatoes don't need pollination, sunflowers are an excellent food attractant to bees. Therefore, they make good companions to fruit trees.

Beans borrowed the tree
once they ran out of trellis

Sunflowers in the sweet potatoes, and beans in the avocado tree - I do like to shake things up in the garden. If you find yourself growing in hostile conditions, try diversity planting too. You'll find like good neighbours, they get through establishing better, together. What's more, you get increased value for any watering you do manually, or the rain gives naturally, because your plants are located closer together.

Although our trees haven't amazed us with prolific growth (apart from the mulberries) we have found they do plod along, if they are of hardy stock. We just had to keep adding more fruit trees, as we could. In the tough department, we've had a lot more success with seedlings than grafted varieties. Living on limited tank water, we just cannot spoil our fruit trees. So die-hard and cost effective seedlings, were an incredible resource to us - and still are.

I must confess though, I was extremely disappointed with our fruit trees when nothing would fruit. Nothing! For all the effort we put into them, we seemed to get nothing in return. Not like chickens! But fruit trees do eventually get there, and can be prolific in their own time. They are a crop that takes ages, but once they get going, you'll be inundated.

I can't wait for that day! But we're doing better every year. :)


  1. I've grown a lot of fruit trees from seed. I've decided to keep at least one of each pruned small so I can net it and the rest the birds can have. Some haven't been good specimens but since they cost me nothing, it's no problem to chop them out and replace with something different.

    So you have no town water at all, just tank water?

    1. Yep, all down to one 5000 gal tank for the house, and 1,300 litre tanks (made up of two small ones) to establish plants and keep the edibles alive. We have plans for another large tank. In the seven years we've been hear, we've only had to buy water in, twice. Not a bad innings, but then we have short showers and skimp them occasionally, altogether.

      Do you find your trees grown from seed, bear quicker than you thought they would? I was surprised how quickly mine have come on, considering everything I read suggested it would be up to 10 years. Keep up the good work with your trees. :)

  2. Your place is looking like the Garden of Eden these days. I know that you put in a lot of hard work but its working! Thanks for sharing it-our garden is still on the green side-we still have salad greens, brussel sprouts and parsely growing despite a couple of snow events but its not like having fruit!

    1. We've been fortunate the rain is falling our way, which puts on all that lovely growth. Our attempts to capture water in swales, as opposed to having it running downhill, also helps.

      Glad you've still got some green stuff to eat. I'm not a brussel sprouts fan, but for those who do like them, I hear they're pretty hardy in the cold. Gotta love that parsley though. When the herbs are growing, I have to chuck them in everything!

  3. Hi Chris, I've just discovered your lovely blog through Farmer Liz at Eight Acres. Loving what I've read so far and looking forward to long evenings catching up on the rest of it. Cheers, Sally from Jembella Farm.

    1. Hi Sally. Nice to meet you. I'll have to pop over and visit your blog. Thanks for introducing yourself, as I love to read other people's blogs too. :)


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I love reading what you have to share. Gully Grove is a Spam free environment though, so new commenter’s only leaving hyperlinks, will be promptly composted.