to­tally ROCKS

En­sure your gar­den bears fruit

Whangarei Report - - GARDENING -

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.

Pho­tos / Getty Images

Rock­mel­ons are easy to grow while man­goes(right) re­quire a warm cli­mate.

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