Fruit Trees

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Summer peaches

Peaches are a mouth-watering fuzzy skinned summer stone fruit that come in both yellow and white fleshed varieties. They can be used in trifles, tarts and crumbles, grilled on the BBQ and tossed into a salad, made into jams and salsa and of course eaten delightfully fresh and juicy.

If you’ve been enjoying supermarket bought peaches over summer, consider growing some of your very own. You can grow peaches at home if you live in a climate where you receive enough ‘chilling hours’. So peaches are best suited to areas with cool or cold winters, however there are some varieties that will bear fruit in warmer climates. Look for low chill varieties such as Tropic Beauty and Florida Prince.

Peach trees vary in size from medium height trees down to miniature varieties that grow to around 1.5 m tall and wide, which are perfect for smaller gardens and growing in pots. In addition to delicious fruit, peach trees also have pretty blossoms in spring. They need a spot with at least 6 hours of sunshine a day and well-drained soil (or a medium to large sized Yates Tuscan pot filled with good quality potting mix, like Yates Premium Potting Mix, for pot suitable dwarf varieties).

It takes a lot of energy to produce all that delectable fruit, so applying some Yates Thrive® Natural Citrus & Fruit Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food around the root zone will provide the tree with fast acting nutrients and organic ingredients that provide gentle slow release feeding and help to improve the quality of the soil.

Peach trees are most commonly available in winter as bare rooted plants. Choose a variety that’s suited to your climate. Peaches are self-pollinating, which means they don’t require another tree to be able to set fruit. However, if you adore peaches you could think about growing a few different varieties that set fruit at varying times over summer. Plant tags will give you an idea whether it’s an early, mid or late fruiting variety. A few dwarf trees won’t take up too much space and just imagine picking your own sun ripened peaches all through summer. Love home grown!

Peach harvesting tip: leave fruit on the tree for as long as possible to develop maximum sweetness. Fruit is ready to pick once it just starts to yield to gentle pressure when squeezed.

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Grow your own grapes
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Do you have a bare pergola or fence that is in need of some greenery? You could grow your own grapes! Grapes are little bundles of juicy sweetness. Kids love them (especially the seedless varieties) and frozen grapes during hot weather are divine. Varieties like yellowish green ‘Thompson Seedless’ and pale red ‘Crimson Seedless’ are very popular as is seeded ‘Red Globe’. Grapes are usually picked from mid to late summer through to late autumn, so can provide a delicious autumn harvest from your garden.

The best climate for growing grapes has a warm dry summer, which helps reduce disease levels as the grapes mature. Grapes are long lived vines that require some sort of strong support to grow up and along. They can be trained up an existing fence, grown over a pergola or a new trellis can be constructed. One grape vine will need around 2 – 3 m of horizontal space and keep the height of the support such that you can easily maintain the vine and pick the grapes, usually 1.5 – 2 m tall. Most grapes are self-pollinating, so you only need to have one vine, though having a few different varieties will help to extend the harvest season.

Grapes are usually available for planting during winter while they are dormant. Before planting, mix some Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser into the planting hole, which improves soil quality and provides the vine with gentle slow release organic nutrients as it establishes. Ensure the vine is well watered during spring and summer and feed every fortnight with Yates Thrive® Flower & Fruit Soluble Fertiliser to encourage healthy leaf growth and lots of bunches of grapes. Early training and regular pruning will help maximise the harvest.

Grape disease watch: grapes can be susceptible to diseases like downy mildew. Downy mildew is more common during periods of wet, warm or humid weather and symptoms include yellowing and mottled foliage. Yates Anti Rot Phosacid Systemic Fungicide is an easy to use, broad spectrum fungicide that protects grapes from downy mildew. Start spraying at the first sign of disease.


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