Monday, March 2, 2015

Blue Mountains Seasonal Review

Seasonal Notes

It's good to take stock and make notes every season. Fruit and Nut Network members Kris and Marnie share their experiences from different places.

...From the Mid Mountains 

by Kris Newton

My summer raspberries are really getting into their stride, and I’m picking a bowlful every few days; I’m enjoying Jonathan and Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, with the majority of varieties yet to come; and my main crop of figs is starting up (the early, breba, crop of Black Genoa was amazing!).
Unfortunately, the almost sub-tropical environment in the mid- to lower-Mountains is also encouraging all sorts of fungal growths, like black-spot;  I need to make time to get out with the milk spray and get into my fruit trees (and my tomatoes and roses).    

So far so good in my experimental greenhouse - there’s more vegetative growth than anything else, which I’d expect in young trees;  but I do still have one mango left on the little dwarf mango tree, so I’m hoping to try harvesting this soon :-).  

I’ve moved most of my expanded citrus section into large pots, and now have a 'Citrus Annexe' under the eaves (to protect from any frost) along the long north-facing wall of the house.  All have put on significant new growth, and the older (2-3 years) ones are flowering well. the Upper Mountains

by Marnie O'Mara

Summer is the season of plenty here in the mountains.  Our garden has provided us with an abundance of produce over the past few months - we've eaten our fill, shared with friends, swapped for things we don't grow but others do, frozen, dehydrated and bottled enough to get us through the less productive Winter.

At a recent Kitchen Garden Produce Swap we swapped some cucumbers for a large quantity of crab apples. I know lots of people have these in their gardens and think they aren't the most useful of fruits. We brought home about two kilos of crab apples from the swap as we wanted to make enough pectin to see us through the next berry-jamming season. We also used them to make two batches of fabulous fizz, one lot paired with rhubarb. The result was delicious - thirst quenching and not too sweet.

Our three apple trees are very sensible - they pretty much stagger the ripening of their fruit so that when one is finished the next begins (actually, my very practical hubby carefully chose which trees to plant with this in mind). This means we have been able to pick apples every day during January and February - and today, the first day of Autumn, we still have lots of apple days ahead.

This year we have also have a bumper crop of grapes! This is the vine's third season - last year we had a few good sized bunches, and this year there are masses of huge purple/black bunches of beautiful, juicy grapes. I see the birds eyeing them off, longing to get stuck into the fruit, however our garden cage keeps the birds out and our precious bounty safe.

Surveying our garden this morning I see that we'll soon be picking kiwi fruit and cape gooseberries.

Have seasonal notes for the lower mountains or elsewhere in the mountains? We'd love to hear from you! More news from the Fruit and Nut Tree Network.

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We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)