John's Garden Newsletters

John Bodycoat works for Conservation & Land management as a lecturer in the advanced diploma in agriculture and horticulture courses. He writes a Newsletter most months which is printed in Mandurah area newspapers. He has agreed to share the articles on our website. Footnote: John's satellite dish was destroyed by lightning in mid-November, so no email service until the end of December, causing this newsletter to be late.

December in the Home Orchard

Perth and Western Australia have been experiencing some very hot weather since the cricket test in mid-November and this has certainly dried out the gardens, orchards and bushland areas.

What to Do in The December Orchard
Take a look at your citrus trees now and you will see that most citrus are setting their fruit for next season’s crop. So it is important that your trees receive a deep soaking in the hot weather that we have been experiencing. Water stress can lead to fruit drop so be vigilant in your garden and monitor your citrus trees for water stress.

Rake up all leaves and fallen bush in your backyard just in case you have snakes or even fire in your area. This clean up is essential also in eliminating and harbouring garden pests. Having been burnt out on my property 8 years ago it is good management to have a clean garden and surrounds.

But it dosn’t stop those nasty tiger snakes slithering through my garden and orchard, however word has finally got out I am not such a nice person where tiger snakes are concerned. Hopefully they will keep away.

Nectarines or Nectar of the gods are now fruiting well and these fruit are prone to fruit fly so set your fruit fly traps in your home orchard now.

You can make your own fruit fly traps, or purchase traps from hardware stores. Chemicals can be purchased or use vegemite and water. Fruit flies are attracted to the yeast and fly into the trap. It’s their last movement.

Check for weeds in your garden and spray or pull these out before they set seed. If they have seed heads please do not place these in the compost bin as seeds have a habit of growing again and they will grow next year either around your fruit trees or possibly in your vegetable patch or flower bed. For summer weeds please ask advice on chemicals at your local hardware shop or nursery.

Berries are prolific at this time of the year and they become the favourite meal of many birds. Parrots, especially 28s, are the main culprits and sometimes the Red Capped parrot will destroy your berries in an afternoon. Silver eyes and some honeyeaters also love the sweet berries as much as we do.

Check your grapes for mildew and fruit set. Spray if needed.

Next Month:
Berry varieties suitable for Perth.
Compost in the back yard

John Bodycoat


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