Fresh fei­joas easy to grow at home

The Northland Age - - Local News -

The aroma and flavour of fresh fei­joas take a power of beat­ing.

And the bonus is that this hardy, ro­bust fruit is so easy to grow, pro­vid­ing an abun­dance of fruit from au­tumn to early win­ter.

Their de­light­ful bright red flow­ers, which ap­pear at Christ­mas, add to their ap­peal as a gar­den plant, while the fruit are an ex­cel­lent source of hy­dra­tion for the body and pro­vide sol­u­ble fi­bre to com­bat a build-up of tox­ins in the di­ges­tive sys­tem.

Easy-care fei­joa trees pro­duce bucket-loads of healthy au­tumn and win­ter fruit, year af­ter year, which is one of the rea­sons they have long been so pop­u­lar in New Zealand. They are easy to grow or­gan­i­cally, trees fit­ting eas­ily into the av­er­age back yard. Com­pact va­ri­eties can be grown in large con­tain­ers, and as quick­grow­ing ev­er­greens, fei­joa trees are fab­u­lous for screen­ing and shel­ter.

Some va­ri­eties are self­fer­tile, but even these will pro­duce their most boun­ti­ful crops if pol­li­nated by another va­ri­ety. So un­less your neigh­bour has a fei­joa tree you’ll want to plant at least two va­ri­eties.

That way you can en­joy the sub­tle dif­fer­ences in flavour, and ex­tend your har­vest sea­son, as dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties ripen at dif­fer­ent times.

Fei­joas are ripe when slightly soft and when the jel­lied sec­tions of a freshly-cut fruit are clear. If the jel­lied sec­tions are white it is not ripe enough to eat; if they are gray­ish or brown, it is past its best.

Ripe fei­joas, un­less re­frig­er­ated, only re­tain a good flavour for two or three days. Brown blotches or yel­low­ing skin are signs that they have been in the fruit bowl longer than they should have been.

They should be put in the fridge or eaten as soon as pos­si­ble. Very firm fruit may need two or three days in the fruit bowl to fully ripen, but hard fruit will prob­a­bly never ripen.

Fruit touch-picked from the tree have bet­ter keep­ing and eat­ing qual­i­ties than fruit gath­ered from the ground.

Most fei­joas fruit best in warmer parts of the coun­try, but with care­ful se­lec­tion of va­ri­eties they can be grown in warmer parts of the South Is­land. Early ripen­ing Apollo, Kakariki, Unique and Pounamu are ideal for cooler cli­mates. The fruit is frost-sen­si­tive, but the trees them­selves are frost hardy down to mi­nus 8 de­grees Cel­sius. Tips: * Wa­ter­ing is im­por­tant for young trees, es­pe­cially dur­ing long dry pe­ri­ods and when the fruit is de­vel­op­ing.

* Birds are im­por­tant pol­li­na­tors for fei­joas. Plant­ing brightly coloured flow­ers around the trees will help at­tract them.

* Prune to main­tain an open tree struc­ture to al­low bird pol­li­na­tion, wind move­ment and sun­light to ripen the fruit.

TAKE YOUR PICK: The hum­ble fei­joa has many virtues, and is very easy to grow.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.