Grow your own dwarf citrus trees
IF YOUR appetite for growing things is bigger than your available garden space, then dwarf plants provide a wonderful opportunity to make the most of small areas.
Dwarf citrus trees give you delicious, normal-sized fruit on compact plants.
When it comes to lemon trees, the variety meyer would normally grow to 5m in height - or about 2.5m when grafted on to dwarfing rootstock.
Smaller still is the new meyer lemon called Lemonicious from Touch of Class Plants, which grows to 1.5m in height and width when planted in the ground and a very manageable 1m when planted in a pot.
Lemonicious is a prolific cropper, producing lots of tangy, juicy fruit. Add to this glossy green leaves and beautifully-perfumed white flowers in spring and Lemonicious is a perfect citrus for growing on a sunny balcony or courtyard.
When planting citrus into containers, choose a well-drained pot that's at least 50cm in diameter and use a good-quality potting mix.
It's also beneficial to apply a few centimetres of mulch over the surface, which will help the potting mix stay moist. Keep the mulch a few centimetres away from the trunk to allow good air flow and reduce the chance of collar rot disease.
While citrus trees are maturing their fruit during late autumn and early winter, using up lots of energy in the process, continue to feed them each week with a complete and balanced fertiliser that has been specially designed to promote healthy citrus trees and help create good quality juicy fruit.
Tough love tip
As harsh as this might sound - and difficult to bring yourself to do - remove any developing fruit from young citrus trees for the first two years after planting.
This will direct the tree's growth into leaves, stems and branches, rather than using energy to grow fruit, which will help the tree attain a larger size quicker and promote more fruit in the future.
Vegetable of the week
Japanese turnips - also called Hakurei turnips - are beautiful white-skinned turnips with a crisp, mild and sweet flesh.
In addition to being cooked they can be eaten raw and thinly sliced in salads, and the green tops used like spinach.
Japanese turnip seeds can be sown all around Australia during May.
They're fast growing, taking only six to 10 weeks to mature, and are a perfect vegetable to grow in pots in a sunny spot on a balcony or courtyard.
For potted turnips, sow seed 6mm deep direct into good-quality potting mix.
Seedlings will take about 10 days to pop up. Keep the potting mix moist while the plants establish and turnips can be harvested when the roots are 5cm across.