Rampant basil flavour of the month
prolifically and are magnets for bees. Brushing against the leaves releases a wonderful scent too. line as well, but don’t mulch around the trunk of the tree to avoid collar rot.
If you’re growing citrus in containers, feed them now and in summer with a slow-release fertiliser, then give them an extra boost of TLC by applying a liquid fertiliser once a month. Refresh the potting mix in potted citrus every two years.
If you’ve just planted a new citrus tree and it’s flowering, remember that it’s a good idea – although requires an admirable amount of willpower – to take off the developing fruit in the tree’s first season so that it can develop a strong root structure. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, knowing that means no citrus next winter, compromise by removing at least half of the fruit. achieve great heights of 1.5m at least!
PRACTISE POPULATION CONTROL
The first blowfy buzzed by and reminded me to refresh the fly traps. A female blowfly can lay around 2,000 eggs in a lifetime. Dealing to a few flies in early summer will cut down the numbers later. Use a commercial trap and bait or make your own. Cut across a plastic bottle about one third of the way down from the top. Put bait in the bottom section. I use a mixture of yeast, a little sugar and some warm water which builds up a stink after a couple of days. Or use a small piece of meat, rotting fruit or cat food. Invert the top. Add a wire handle and hang where flies tend to congregate – usually in sunny, sheltered spots – but where the smell won’t bother you or the neighbours.
The flies can get in the hole at the top but can’t fly back out. They eventually die and fall into the liquid. The water level needs topping up now and then. Empty traps when they start to fill up. Warmer weather means other pests are gearing up for a breeding frenzy. Look out for fluffy bums (juvenile passionvine hoppers), mosquito wrigglers, aphids, mealy bugs, green vege bugs and scale. Squash the early arrivals to slow the population explosion. You won’t get them all – there’ll be some left to feed the predatory beneficial insects that will help maintain a balance.