Growing Your Own Delicious Blueberries

If home grown, freshly picked blueberries sound tempting, then it’s time to find a spot at your place for a blueberry bush or two. Blueberries generally prefer warm days and cool nights however in warmer areas, look for ‘Southern Highbush’ and ‘Rabbiteye’, which have lower chill requirements.

Blueberries prefer an acidic, well-drained soil. In areas with alkaline soil (a pH higher than 7), applications of Yates Soil Acidifier Liquid Sulfur every month will help lower the soil pH. Blueberries can also be grown very successfully in pots. Choose a good quality potting mix, such as Yates Premium Potting Mix, and a large 40 – 50 cm diameter pot to give them enough room to grow.

Blueberries will benefit from regular applications of a complete plant food from Spring to Autumn. Yates Thrive Flower Fruit Soluble Fertiliser is ideal for blueberries as it’s fortified with extra potassium to encourage lots of flowers and delicious berries.


Beautiful Boysenberries

Boysenberries are a delicious type of ‘brambleberry’ with rich dark purple fruit with a sweet and slightly tart taste that resembles a combination of raspberries and blackberries. They’re rich in vitamins C and K, as well as being a good source of dietary fibre.

Boysenberries (Rubus ursinus x idaeus) produce soft and juicy fruit in early to mid-Summer, which can be used in desserts, crumbles, cakes, ice cream and drinks as well as turned into richly coloured jams. Of course, they’re also delectable fresh, and you might find that not many berries make it back into the house. They are ideal for growing in backyards and make an extra special treat just for home gardeners, as they’re hard to find in supermarkets as the fruit don’t transport or store well.

Boysenberries prefer a slightly acidic, moist rich soil and perform best in a full sun position in cool to warm temperate zones. Growing on canes up to 2m tall, an added bonus of boysenberries is their pretty, white bee attracting flowers in mid to late Spring.

To make maintenance easier (and promote a better harvest), boysenberry canes can be trained up between 2 wires on a T-shaped trellis. During Winter, while the boysenberry plant is leafless, cut back to ground level the canes that have borne fruit, leaving fresh, newer canes to grow and provide fruit next Summer. Do this each year to avoid the canes getting messy and out of control and encourage the best possible berry yield. Also pull out any suckers that have emerged out of your planned boysenberry patch. A word of caution is that boysenberries produce thorns, so a good thick pair of gloves and long handled pruners can really help!

Bare rooted boysenberry canes are often planted while they’re dormant during Winter, however potted plants are also available at other times of the year. Before planting, improve the soil with a concentrated source of rich organic matter like Yates Thrive Natural Blood Bone with Seaweed and then reapply around the root zone every 8 weeks from Spring to early Autumn to promote lots of healthy cane growth, a strong root system and encourage masses of plump, juicy berries.

Fruit protection tip: birds will enjoy boysenberries just as much as you, so some bird netting may be required to protect your developing crop.


Summer Strawberries

Sweet and juicy bright red strawberries look so Christmassy and chilled are a perfect healthy summer holiday snack, not to mention all the delicious recipes you can include them in.

It’s easy to grow your own strawberries at home, in either a sunny garden bed or pot.

Growing Guide:


Christmas Cherries

Cherries are the quintessential Christmas treat, with delicious shiny red fruit becoming available in summer. A big bowl of chilled cherries is hard to resist, as are fruit and savoury salads with cherries, cherry glaze for ham, cherry puddings, cakes, tarts and cheesecake. We’re going to need a lot of cherries!

You can grow cherries at home if you live in a climate where you receive enough ‘chilling hours’. So, cherries are best suited to areas with cool or cold winters and a dry spring and summer is also beneficial to help reduce the incidence of disease.

Cherry trees vary in size from around 7 m tall down to more compact varieties such as ‘Compact Stella’ from Waimea Nurseries that grows to around 3 m, which is perfect for smaller gardens. In addition to delicious fruit, cherry trees also have pretty blossoms in spring and lovely autumn foliage.

Cherry trees are most commonly available in winter as bare rooted plants, but potted trees can be available at other times of the year. Choose a variety that’s suited to your climate and also check to see whether that variety is self-fertile or needs pollination from another cherry.

They need a spot with at least 6 hours of sunshine a day and well-drained soil.

Cherry pest tip: pear & cherry slugs can attack and skeletonise cherry tree foliage. They can be controlled by spraying trees thoroughly every 7 days with Yates Nature’s WayOrganic Citrus, Vegie Ornamental Spray Ready to Use.

And during or after periods of wet or humid weather, cherries and other stone fruit like apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines can be prone to brown rot. Apply Yates Nature’s Way Fungus Spray every 10 – 14 days to help keep this destructive disease under control.


Summer citrus care

Small fruit developing on many varieties of citrus trees during summer heralds what we’ll be enjoying during the cooler months.

We can help nurture those promising fruitlets by taking a few simple citrus care steps over summer:

Sooty mould

If you’ve noticed a black ash like film over citrus leaves or stems or ants crawling up and down the tree, it could indicate the presence of insect pests like scale.

Scale are sap sucking insects that can be covered in a waxy white, brown or pink coating and appear as small raised bumps on foliage or stems.

Scale deplete plants of important sugars and nutrients and excrete honey dew, which is a sweet sticky substance that ants eat, and sooty mould will grow on. If the scale insects are controlled, the sooty mould and ants will gradually disappear.

Control the scale insects by spraying leaves and stems with Yates Nature’s WayOrganic Citrus, Vegie Ornamental Spray Ready to Use.

It’s based on natural pyrethrin and vegetable oil and is certified for use in organic gardening. Yates Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Gun will also control aphids, which are another contributor to sooty mould attracting honey dew.

Watering and feeding

Deep and thorough watering of citrus trees, particularly potted citrus, will help reduce water stress, which can lead to citrus dropping their developing fruit.

It’s also a good opportunity to apply or top up mulch around the root zone, which will help protect the shallow root system. And regular feeding of hungry citrus trees will really help to promote a fantastic harvest so it’s important to make fertilising citrus trees a priority.

It’s as simple as diluting 2 capfuls of Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food into a 9 L watering can and applying over the root zone each week.

If you’re lucky enough to have your own Tahitian lime tree, some of the best tangy fruit will be ready from January. Limes can be harvested whilst still green, when they’re around 6 cm in diameter. Perfect for summer drinks and cocktails as well as marinades, cakes and desserts.

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