Ensure your garden bears fruit
Rockmelon has luscious, sweet-flavoured fruit that is deliciously versatile and can be used in sorbets, juices and fruit salads as well as savoury dishes like herb, rockmelon and prosciutto salad. It’s easy to grow your own juicy rockmelon at home. Sow Yates Rockmelon Hales Best seed 20mm deep directly into a sunny garden bed that’s been enriched with some Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food.
Rockmelon vines will trail over the ground so you’ll need a bit of room (1-1.5m between plants) however they can also be encouraged to grow up a trellis and the developing fruit supported with slings of pantyhose.
Feed rockmelon plants each week with Thrive Flower & Fruit Soluble Plant Food, which is rich in potassium to encourage lots of flowers and scrumptious fruit.
It’s also important to keep the soil moist, as drought stress can adversely affect the harvest.
If you live in a subtropical or warm temperate area then you could grow one of the most delectable fruits around, mango.
There are now dwarf varieties available that grow to around 3-4m tall, so even smaller gardens can include a mango tree. Best eaten in the bath (to catch all the juice), mangoes love to grow in well-drained, organic rich soil.
They can take several years to produce fruit, so patience is required.
Before planting a new mango tree, enrich the soil first by mixing in some Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food.
Keep the new tree well watered until it is established and feed regularly with a fast acting liquid fertiliser like Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food to encourage lots of healthy new growth.
Mangoes are susceptible to anthracnose, which is a disease that causes brown or black spots on leaves, stems and fruit. To control anthracnose, spray mangoes with Liquid Copper Fungicide every four weeks from the end of flowering to harvest.
Pear and cherry slug
Keep an eye out for ‘pear and cherry slug’ on the leaves of pear and cherry trees during November and December. These shiny black or brown slug like caterpillars are the soft skinned larvae of the glossy black sawfly and if not controlled they will quickly skeletonise the leaves. Pear and cherry slug can also attack apples, apricots and plums and doesn’t discriminate between fruiting or ornamental pears and cherries. When the slugs have had their fill, they’ll drop off and burrow down into the soil to pupate and emerge as adults.
The adults fly up to lay eggs on the leaves for a second generation attack in January. Pear and cherry slug can decimate the foliage on your trees. Control pear and cherry slug by spraying foliage thoroughly every seven days with Yates Nature’s Way Pyrethrum Natural Insect Spray.
It contains natural pyrethrin which is derived from the flowers of the pyrethrum daisy.
Other fruit pests
Protect your stone fruit trees like peaches, nectarines and plums from insect pests like leaf rollers, Oriental fruit moth and thrips with Yates Success Ultra Insect Control. Leaf rollers are caterpillars that tie leaves around themselves with silken threads and eat the leaves from within this shelter.
Oriental fruit moth lay eggs which hatch into caterpillars that eat into twigs and fruit. Thrips are sap sucking insects which can damage developing fruit. Leaf rollers, Oriental fruit moth and thrips can all be controlled with fortnightly sprays of Success Ultra Insect Control. The addition of Sprayfix Wetting agent into spray mix will help ensure leaf coverage.
Rockmelons are easy to grow while mangoes(right) require a warm climate.