These fruits like it warm
September’s the month to plant fruits that come from warmer areas. This way the plants can make as much growth as possible before they have to cope with next winter. And, even if your garden is too cold for mangoes and paw paws, you might like to try some of the more adaptable varieties such as passionfruit, avocadoes and figs.
Common black passionfruit is the hardiest and is often considered to have the best flavour of all. The tart-edged sweetness of the pulp and the crunchiness of the seeds makes eating passionfruit a feast of both taste and texture.
Plant passionfruit into a well-drained, sunny spot with some provision for the plant to climb – against a fence or trellis would be ideal. Improve the soil beforehand by digging in mature compost or well-aged manure. In about a month’s time, as the vine starts to grow, feed with Dynamic Lifter for Fruit & Citrus. Some patience may be required in the beginning. Passionfruit tend to spend the first season growing and don’t crop very well until the second year.
Feed passionfruit at least twice a year with Yates Dynamic Lifter for Fruit & Citrus. Mulch well and make sure the vine has plenty of water, especially during flowering and when fruit is young. Pruning may not be necessary but thinning out crowded foliage will let sun penetrate. Passionfruit vines are usually short lived, so plan on putting in a replacement every three or four years.
Avocadoes are surprisingly tolerant to cold (‘Bacon’ is said to be the most cold hardy) but they can’t stand wet feet. Always check that drainage is free and that water isn’t sitting around the roots. If necessary, plant the tree on top of a raised mound or, better still, grow it in a large pot.
Spray the avocado tree every month or so during the growing season with Yates Anti Rot. This low toxic, root-rot-prevention fungicide, which has been used for years by commercial avocado growers, is now available to home gardeners. Feed with Dynamic Lifter for Fruit & Citrus or another specific fertiliser for fruit trees. Watch for anthracnose, a fungal disease that causes black patches on the fruit. Control with copper-based Yates Fungus Fighter.
Although not really tropical, figs are regarded as exotic and, occasionally, difficult. They require plenty of sun, good drainage, and typical Mediterranean conditions (wettish winters and dry summers). They don’t appreciate spring heatwaves, however, which tend to cause the young leaves to curl.
Feed in spring and early autumn (citrus food or DL Fruit & Citrus) and mulch over the root system in spring. Occasionally dress with lime or dolomite. Protect new growth from sap-sucking pests by using Nature’s Way Natrasoap.
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