Sweet, sour and a little bit tart
IF YOU'RE like me, you're about to enjoy a fresh crop of lemons and limes from your citrus trees.
Healthy, well-fed citrus trees have the best chance to provide us with buckets of home-grown delicious and juicy fruit.
Regularly using a complete fertiliser specially formulated with the proportions of the three main elements - nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium - is an important step towards having happy citrus trees.
Citrus also require trace elements in small amounts for total plant health. Some soils and potting mixes are deficient in these trace elements, or the soil pH makes it hard for plants to access them.
So in addition to using complete fertilisers we may need to give citrus a helping hand and provide them with additional trace elements.
Two common trace element deficiencies of citrus are iron and magnesium. It's simple to correct both these deficiencies with specially-designed trace element liquids.
THE main initial symptom of iron deficiency is the young citrus leaves become pale, with the veins remaining dark green.
Iron is involved with photosynthesis, so plays an important role in tree health and productivity.
Iron deficiency is particularly common in alkaline soil (soil with a pH of greater than seven), as the iron becomes unavailable to plants.
Iron chelate is a fast-acting liquid that corrects iron deficiency. Applied as a foliar spray, it delivers iron directly to the deficient leaves for faster results.
A MAGNESIUM deficiency shows up as a dark green "v" shape at the base of older citrus leaves, with the leaf tips becoming increasingly pale.
Magnesium deficiency can lead to trees dropping their leaves and overall tree health and harvest will suffer.
Magnesium chelate is a fast-acting, concentrated form of liquid magnesium that is sprayed on to citrus leaves to correct magnesium deficiency.
SOURCE: Angie Thomas, www.yates.com.au
Fruit of the week: Passionfruit
IF YOU'RE not harvesting juicy, sweet passionfruit for a natural, delicious dessert, next spring is the time to plant one and, in about 18 months, reap the benefits.
Put in that balcony or pergola now, that your passionfruit will grow over, and then start to dream of bright yellow juice and seeds.
passionfruit is one of the most prolific backyard fruit plants and relatively easy to grow.
If you already have a passionfruit, you may find that the fruit are dropping off the vine in large numbers because of the heat.
Keep the water up and remember that passionfruit thrive on a diet of pelletised chicken manure or any fertiliser designed to encourage flowering and fruiting, such as citrus food. Apply fertiliser every four weeks through summer.
Now, where's that ice-cream - the perfect foil for this seeded fruit.
My garden: Spider flowers
CLEOME, often called spider flowers, are hardy perennials that will help bring butterflies and birds into the garden.
Cleome in the Senorita range from Proven Winners have a wonderfully long flowering period from spring to autumn and in warm climates can flower all year. The spidery flower heads, in mauve, pretty pale pink and white, are held above deep green foliage.
Senorita cleomes grow to about 50cm tall and are sterile (they don't set seed), so unlike other cleomes will not escape into other parts of the garden. They can be mass planted, used as an informal flowering hedge or make a beautiful container plant, particularly when grown in the centre of the pot surrounded by low-growing flowers like petunia.
Senoritas are hardy once established, growing well in both cold and hot climates.