Great 'growth' time of
year, but can be icy cold.
2014 - Rainy southeasterlies, cold. It rained all night
long, water everywhere. It rained throughout the day until
mid afternoon, when it eased to totally overcast and
drizzly conditions. The high was forecast to be 13oC
today, and that would be about right.The weather is said
to swing to a northerly influence over the next 4 days,
with clearing skies and warmer temperatures. Typical
2014 - a bunch of Ducasse bananas on a sucker put
aside as a 'spare' ripened. The fruit are very small, the
ripe ones have all split, and the green ones are very
skinny. In spite of that, the ripe ones are sweet, with
very good flavor. They do, however, has a residual
2014 - Nelmak nuts continue to fall in good numbers. The
green husks are now almost all well and truly split open.
2014 - the grass is really skinned, and we have been
feeding ever increasing amounts of sheep nuts - an
expensive business. Bamboo has been an important adjunct
feed, along with coprosma, mahoe, and olive foliage. I had
hoped to kill at least one old ewe to reduce stock
pressure on the grass, but the rain and mud have
interfered with my plan. The lambs can start being weaned
by mid october, when milk will supply only around 10% of
their diet, if that. Temperatrures
2013 - sunny all day, still in the morning, and a breezy
southerly in the afternoon. The lowest night time
temperature in the last few days was 5oC. The temperature
in the shade at both 9 am and 3 pm was 15oC. The highest
temperature recorded in the last few days was 18.5oC.
2013 - Still flowering, there are lots of bumblebees and
bees on the plums, and on the Pixie plumcot in particular.
2014 - rain. The weather is turning to the
2014 - Easterly conditions continue. It rained
briefly in the morning, then the sun came out until about
3 pm when thunder and some lightening rolled in,
with rain until 5 pm. Very warm. T shirt weather,
according to a whanau member. There was a
relatively brief torrential ultra-heavy downpour in the
2013 - yesterday was very cold in the morning - bleak,
really - but sunny in the afternoon. End of day reading
was a high of 15oC. The low over the last few days was
2014 - low cloud, totally overcast, warm, still. A
brief heavy rain about 3 pm, then overcast again. The rain
guage says we have had 125 mm of rain since
2013 - the small Carmen appears to have set some
pin-head size fruit, It will be interesting to see if
any hold on. The Dusa tree has a nice number of
flowers open. There is an ant in every one, so clearly
nectar is being produced.
2014 - Pinkerton fruit continue to hold well on the trees,
although I did find one on the ground today. I sloshed
around in the warm rain throwing urea under these trees.
2014 - the Kirby plumcots are only just beginning to open
some flowers, while the Pixie plum has a good number of
early flowers and lots of flower buds at the point of
2014 - the plants look pretty battered and torn, and the
foliage is rather yellow. There are two or three bunches
of fruit, and one is nearly ready (the fruit are starting
to split, anyway). These bunches that 'mature' over winter
and early spring are not very good.
2012 - The last few days have been mixed sunny and
overcast, but relatively warm. The maximum air temperature
over the last 4 days was 20oC, the minimum (overnight) was
10oC. At midday it was 18oC. Temperatures are expected to
drop over the next few days.
2012 - Although it has been very warm all morning, it is
very windy. In contrast to some of the days in late
winter, the blossom has very few pollinating insects in it
- just a few bees.
2012 - The plumcots still have a lot of blossom on
them, but they are past their peak. New leaves are pushing
through the blossom.
The new plumcot 'Spring Satin' is now in full
bloom. The flowers are small and pure white, rather
attractive, really. Knowing it was going to rain, I hand
pollenized a few flowers with the last remaining apricot
flowers, hoping to maximise the set.
2012 - The early pollenizer varieties, Billington and
Heard, have finished flowering, and the apricot trees have
only a few flowers remaining. The plum 'Black Prince' is
at about peak bloom. Santa Rosa is flowering well at this
time, and I hope it is a good pollenizer for it -
especially as the canopies now touch. 'Elephant heart' is
on the other side of the "Black Prince' tree, and it is in
early bloom. It hasn't set much fruit for us over the
years, but with Santa Rosa now flowering well, we hope for
2012 - Some peach blossom is now open, and more will
2012 - Virtually all the avocado trees are are just
starting to show growth flushes. I gave the trees a good
sprinkle of NPK fertiliser when it was raining about a
week or so ago, and this should help the trees cope with
the demands of both flowering and producing new extension
We have caught two or three young male possums over the
last few weeks, but not before one had eaten a new season
far-from-mature Reed fruit.
2012 - The figs are just tipping out some green leaves
from their terminal buds, and several trees are
already showing an impressive number of incipient
ultra-early 'breba' figs. The resident figologist was
exited at the prospect of the best-ever crop of brebas,
but I reminded her that this is 'hormone spray chemical
trespass' season, and, going on past experience, we are
likely to lose the lot.
2012 - The raspberry plants have leafed out (except for
the black raspberries), and are in flower bud. In spite of
the best of intentions, the boysenberry plants still
haven't been reduced in number, and besides being
overgrown with weeds, the paths in the berry cage are
snared with escaped boysenberry runners. The berryoligist
has a big job ahead of her...maybe I had better give a
hand...when I'm not busy...
There are still a few orange tamarillos on our few scrappy
trees, altho the reds are finished. We haven't yet been
invaded by the potato/tomato psyillid, so I may grow a few
fresh plants to replace the incumbents.
2012 - It has been very windy, with rain (and a
thunderstorm) overnight. Overnight temperatures haven't
dropped below 10oC.
2012 - Several of the ewes were calling to their lambs
"all bloody night" according to a member of the whanau.
Not a good sleeper at the best of times, she was awake for
the better part of the night. The lambs tend to hunker
down in some cosy spot and ignore their mothers calls. Or
they answer, and she answers back. It can go on and on.
One ewe in particular has a particularly high pitched and
loud call. She may be one of the first to go when I cut
the numbers back next year...The upshot is that it has
been 'agreed' that I will shift them to a more distant
paddock overnight and bring them back up to the house
paddocks during the day. I don't need another chore. Time
to de-stock, and maybe move to a system of resting areas
for a year so they can re-seed naturally - something I
have been thinking about anyway.
2012 - We have started to 'size pick' the odd Hass avocado
fruit while still dead green. It ripens in 4 or 5 days if
it is put in a plastic bag with an apple or banana. The
fruit are perfectly acceptable in flavor, but far from the
rich flavored fruit of the natural season of early summer.
Decades ago we bought some unusual avocados from a local
veg shop. They were round, the flesh was quite dry in
comparison to Hass, and had easily noticeable fibres.
However, when eaten, the flavour was good to very good,
and the fibres not really noticeable. It was an avocado
variety called Hashimoto. I had
forgotten all about it until very recently when looking
for a decent winter fruiting avocado. Hashimoto is said to
mature its fruit from june on in New Zealand - or, at
least, that is when they mature in the Bay of Plenty. They
might start in may here, but if it has a fairly extended
flowering season the late set fruit should be available in
at least june. Maybe they will hold on the tree into july,
or even august. I don't know.
Anyway, I was fired up and very keen to put a few plants
in. The problem was that I didn't think it would be very
readily available at the garden centres. So when I found
some excellent plants at the Kumeu Garden Centre I was
'over the moon'.
The have gone in beside the 'former' alder shelter belt,
and if the windy weather doesn't tear their leaves off, or
snap them off at the graft, I am hoping for good growth
The holes are
Excellent plants - healthy roots, in a pine based
In the ground
I don't know how big Hashimoto avocado trees grow - these
will be size controlled from the start - but if they are
as naturally small and easy to manage as Pinkerton avocado
it would be a big bonus.
Avocado Pinkerton - a small tree,
Avocado Sharwill with male flowers open - tub grown.
Pinkerton is flowering heavily right now, but I
doubt any more than one or two fruit will set - at best.
It really does need a suitable pollenizer variety.
Sharwill is looking promising, as the male flowers on may
tree in a tub (unfortunately a long way distant) have been
open and shedding pollen when Pinkerton has its female
flowers open. Whether or not there are any insects around
at this rather cool and changeable time of year is another
matter. Still, there is the odd bumblebee around,
both species of paper wasp, and I have just seen my first
drone fly of the season. These flies are good pollinators,
and are a close mimic of honeybees. Presumably the mimicry
dissuades predators from eating them.
Drone fly, Eristalis tenax, sunning itself on a
2013 - The high over the last week was 18oC. It
rained or showered under a black sky all day yesterday,
but was still 15oC at 11.00, and the overnight low was a
warm 14oC. Most of the weather was from the northwest.
Today dawns sunny and calm, and it was 19oC by 1100.
Insects have suddenly appeared. The sun held until late in
the day, when it clouded over. Rain started falling at
2013 - Spring Satin plumcot is in full bloom.
2013 - the fruit are pretty much full size. The wet
conditions have been ideal for the spread of the black
fungal disease that attacks the fruit. I suspect we will
get very few fruit in the end. Most will end up rotting on
2013 - the young Hashimoto trees I planted on the 9th last
year have done very well. They have put on several flushes
of growth, and today, to my surprise, I see they are in
2013 - another bunch has several ripe fruit on it, albeit
the rest is dead green. The ripe fruit have split. I'd
like to leave it longer for the green fruit to develop
more. but it I can't leave it too long or the rats and
birds will be attracted.
2014 - showers and sun, mostly overcast. Mild. Windy at
2014 - vast numbers of an 'ink cap ' Coprinellus
micaceus (glistening inky cap, mica cap) have
come up underneath the young Hashimoto avocado trees. They
were planted hard up against a row of freshly felled alder stumps,
and two years on, the dead roots are being consumed by
this fungus. Apparently it one of the last fungi to
colonise dead wood under the ground, preferring wood that
has become spongy and soft from the action of the fungi
that first spread into the wood. While it lives on dead
wood, there is one reference to it inhabiting living
tissue, but producing no disease symptoms(technically, it
lives as an endophyte). Some endophytes help the tree
survive drought by drawing up water through the fungal
mycelium deep reaching within the soil. Some fungal
endophytes even fight off parasitic fungi. Wouldn't it be
nice if the glistening inky cap fought off phytopthora?
Still, even if it doesn't, this species is edible,
although the reference I have seen are underwhelming in
describing its gastronomic worth 'mild flavor' is about as
enthusiastic as they get. When cooked (or overcooked), it
turns to something resembling snot, apparently...
2014 - Plumcots (except 'spring satin') are now in heavy
flower, as is 'Pixie' plum.
2012 - Today, I heard the first shining cuckoo of
spring. We have had strong northeasters and later
northwesters, so maybe he got a fast ride across the
Pacific from the Cook Islands winter feeding grounds!
2012 - We have had periods of 3 or 4 days of mixed sun,
warmth, strong winds, rain, drizzle. But overall,
temperatures have still been around 10oC overnight, and
about 18oC maximum (air temperature) - except for one day
when it was 2oC overnight! Plenty of frost in the valley
2012 - A Misi Liki banana stem didn't survive the strong
winds - pity, it would have fruited in late summer.
2012 - The little Hashimoto avocado plants have survived
the winds The avocados continue to flower, and will for a
good 6 weeks yet. The Pinkerton remains a mass of flowers,
with big numbers open, but I must say the Hass flowering
is not really that great yet. We are in the curious
position of having one tree that started flowering in late
autumn and has continued all winter (and is still
flowering), one tree that started flowering in late
winter, one tree that is probably going to start opening
flowers in a week or so time, and one tree that is
probably 3 weeks or more from any open flowers. I am
hoping to reach a better understanding of the
inter-relationship between temperatures and insect
activity as it effects fruit set in Hass. I Have an
impression that significant periods over a minimum
temperature has a very large bearing on fruit set,
and insect pollination is somewhat secondary (for Hass, in
particular). We'll see.
2012 - The main Kirby plumcot flowering is over, as is the
apricot flowering. Spring satin plumcot is still flowering
heavily. I hope it is self fertile, because there is
nothing else near it that could act as a pollenizer.
Wrights Early plum is still flowering well, as is Elephant
Heart. Santa Rosa is fading out, and Black Prince has
Macadamias continue to fall, and the first new leaves of
the 'Grabohl' pecan are just emerging. I have neglected to
pay enough attention to the right varieties to give cross
pollenization in our short row of pecan trees. Looking at
some info on the internet, admittedly from the very hot
southern USA, it appears that I should have cultivars such
as Shoshoni, Wichita, or Cherokee to act at pollen donors
for Grabohl's female flowers. We did acquire Shoshoni in
2007, but it is a long way from Grabohl, and the tree has
been significantly damaged by puriri moth larvae. Even
thin branches have been ring-barked by this troublesome
pest. So a little TLC is needed if is ever to grow big
enough to take some bits off to graft into Grabohl.
2013 - A warm day (18oC at 3 pm), but breezy and
totally overcast, and in the afternoon there were a few
spots of splotty rain from time to time. Northerly. A few
days ago we had some cold but clear sunny weather, and
night temperatures dropped to about 5oC.
2013 - Wright's Early is still flowering very
strongly, Black Prince is passed its peak, Sultan is
starting to crank up, the 'Kerby' plumcot is all but
finished, and the Spring Satin plumcot is in full bloom.
2013 - all but finished flowering
2013 - new growth is under way. The flower buds appear at
the base of new growth. This is very handy, because it
means you can prune them back hard in winter, and not only
will they form new buds on the bare wood, the new growth
will generally flower straight away in spring. There are
already a few 'out of season' flowers open here and there.
2013 - new leaves are expanding.
2013 - many of the yellow kiwifruit seedlings have lovely
lime green newly developing leaves. A few plants have
flower buds. The green kiwifruit remain totally dormant.
2013 - another clump has a bunch with half a dozen ripe
fruit on it. The skin on some of the fruit has split. They
taste OK, sweet enough, some flavor, but there is a touch
of residual astringency. The green fruit really don't look
sufficiently mature to me - they are very 'angular', not
plump. These fruit will be from a late summer flowering.
Late summer set flowers mature about early- mid spring.
but as they are 'filling' over the cold winter season they
often not that flash. Flowers that set in mid winter ripen
in summer, and are far better as the bunch is filling at
the warmest time of year.
2014 - warm and sunny. Very pleasant.
2014 - Spring is definitely sprung. Yesterday I heard the
first shining cuckoo of the season. Best of all, two pairs
of Californian quail have taken up residence, and the cock
birds crow their territorial claim. These are wonderful
and engaging birds to have around, and I hope they survive
2014 - Pixie plum has finished flowering, but just about
all the others are in full bloom.
2014 - most peaches are now flowering, and the earliest
are in full bloom.
2014 - the first few avocado flowers have appeared, but
their numbers are passing smallat the moment. Pinkerton is
flowering, as are Fuerte and Sharwill. Carmen Hass
continues to flower, although the end of its flowering
period is probably not far off.
2014 - bedraggled and tatty looking, and rather yellow.
Sustained heat plus rain is needed for them to take off
2013 - Several days ago we had a subtropical front pass
over from the east, bringing very high winds, heavy rain,
and a closed State Highway 16 (flooding). Today, it is
dead calm at 0830, overcast, humid, warm, already 16.5oC.
Breezy by 0930, some odd sun moments between low grey
clouds. Overcast. By 1030 there were more sunny breaks,
warmer, hitting 23oC in the shade! Humid. Dew on
grass. Breezy/windy, with calm periods, threatening
showers. Lots of insects around. At 1245 temperatures are
21oC. Overcast, bit of wind, humid, warm. About 18oC at
1600, totally overcast.
2013 - the plants look pretty tatty and sparse. Blue
Java dropped yet another stem. I am increasingly
unimpressed with this cultivar.
2013 - most have started new leaf growth.
2013 - still dormant
2013 - early plum blossom is over, Elephant Heart
and a few others are flowering on.
2012- I killed a sheep today as the first move in dropping
numbers a bit. She was a small ewe - her mum was a very
small ewe from the flock established on Arapawa Island in
the 1800's. We ended up with 14kgs of usable meat
cuts and a wheelbarrow load of wool, skin, bones and guts
to bury under an avocado tree. In the meantime, our only
ewe not to have a lamb this season ended up dropping a
late lamb, much to everyone's surprise. So 'de-stocking'
is not making much progress yet.
2012 - Two macadamia trees continues to drop nuts while at
the same time starting to open the new season flowers.
Peaches and Plums
2012 - Peaches are
blooming well, several pears are in full bloom, and there
seems to be a good set of fruit on the plumcots. The
spring satin plumcot is just coming to the end of its
bloom. It has a surprisingly long blossom period. Prunus
capulin, the Capuli cherry, has started its bloom.
It produces prodigious numbers of flowers that are
extremely attractive to bees. When the tree is in full
bloom the noise of humming bees is almost deafening.
2013 - the improbably pink blossoms of the peaches
continue to intrude against the blue sky.
Pinus wallichiana syn Griffithii male
strobuli shedding pollen
male strobuli, not yet shedding
Immature male strobuli on Pinus edulis
growth on Pinus maximartinezii
2012 - The male strobuli of several of the pine nut
species here are now full size. Pinus koraiensis
and Pinus pinea will start to release pollen soon.
An adjacent ornamental species (Pinus wallichiana
syn Griffithii) is shedding copious pollen.
Pinus maximartinezii has spires of new growth, but
has not flowered yet.
2013 - a small Pinus pinea ('Umbrella pine) in a
tub on the deck is flowering for the first time. The male
strobuli release clouds of pollen when the branch is
shaken. Interestingly, it is early relative to the 2 trees
planted out on the property, presumably because it is in a
very sheltered and hot spot. Apparently this species
remains as a male-only plant for a number of years before
it ever has female 'flowers' (strobuli). The male strobuli
appear on the lower half of the tree, and, in time, female
strobuli appear on the upper third.
2012 - One of the raspberry varieties is flowering well,
and I noticed the first bronze beetle of the season.
Diseased cherimoya fruit
Possum and half eaten cherimoya. The 2 fruit and the leaf
in the background are
both affected with fungus.
2012 - We have 5 or 6 cherimoya trees here, but while they
fruit quite well we don't usually end up with more than a
few fruit as the fruit are always infected by some fungus
that turns the fruit black and rotten. For some reason
this year the infection has been much less, and we have
harvested a decem (10) or so fruit, and likely at lest
another decem will escape the plinge. The next biggest
pest of cherimoya fruit is, as always, the possum. We
still don't have a lot of luck catching them in the Timms
traps, but we do get the odd one. The campaign of constant
bait on offer in 4 or 5 bait stations has helped a lot,
altho' a lot of bait is being eaten, and it is expensive
2013 - a very bad year for the black fungus on
cherimoya, presumably in part because of the very wet
winter and spring. We have pretty much decided to cut
these back to almost 2 dimension trees so the air gets
thru them, and to maybe spray with copper after flowering
(which is soon).
2013 - this is clearly the peak blossom time for
Pinkerton. The racemes are fully expanded, and today was
warm (22oC in the shade) and humid. The trees are putting
out their characteristic odour, and the racemes have
attracted very good numbers of bees, as well as the usual
wasps and flower flies. Pinkerton may need a male
pollinizer cultivar (unlike Hass), and today both Edranol
and Sharwill would have pollen available for the later
part of Pinkerton's female bloom. Ettinger has pollen that
overlaps fully, but the little tree only have 6 or 7
flowers open, so it is a little late. Dusa would be an
The younger Hass trees have some flowers open, but not a
big number. Conditions are ideal for fruit set, I would
say (warm nights, warm days, humid, often overcast, a
A Hass seedling we have had for years is a solid wall of
avocado blossom, and it is dripping with bees and other
pollinating insects. Pity it only ever has ten or so fruit
Leaf drop is well under way in most cultivars. The
bronzy-pink new shoot tips are now pushing through
the tips of the flower racemes. Hashimoto has bright lime
green new growth. It's pleasing to see these newly planted
trees growing well, but a bit disconcerting to see the
healthy deep green mature leaves being shed. At least the
other trees suck much of the goodness out of the tree
first, so they are gratifyingly yellow when they hit the
2013 - 2 more bunches have coloured. There is minimal
splitting, so that at least is good. Pity they can't be
left to mature a bit more in the warming weather.
2011 - By early october, insect activity on avocado
flowers begins to pick up.
Polistes sp. on Hass avocado flower racemes.
2013 - sunny, some cloud cover, warm
2013 - flowering is well under way. The conditions over
the last 3 or 4 days have been very good for pollination
and fruit set - night temperatures have been 10oC or
above, day temperatures 16oC to 22oC, it has been
relatively calm, often overcast, and quite a number of
pollinating insects are around. Although it is a little
early in the flowering season, I would not be surprised if
some fruit set on Hass and Pinkerton.
2013 - warm weather has really brought the grass on, and
at last grass growth seems to be getting slightly ahead of
the growing lambs and their lactating mums. The lambs are
at (or passed) weaning age. Time to kill one or two, and
sell most of the rest.
Plums and apricots
2013 - I thought conditions for fruit set were quite good
this year, but the apricots and earliest flowering plums
appear to have had a poor set. Mid season and later
varieties have flowered quite well, but the flowering
seems protracted, some that have had flowers for several
weeks, and still have flower buds yet to open.
2011 - It rained heavily last night, and again this
morning. The sun has come out, and there is no wind, its
warm and humid. Rain is forecast for this afternoon and
the next few days.
2011 - Conditions are ideal for growth, and ideal for
washing in fertiliser. So I quickly did 'did the rounds',
chucking some pelletised general fertiliser under the
avocados, citrus, figs, and feijoas. All are just starting
out with new leaves and with flowers or flower/fruit
buds,so I figure a boost now will really show results in
two weeks or do time when leaves are expanding to full
size and new growth extending.
2011 - Orders had been received to pick some cherimoya
fruit, which are about ripe from here on. We have a
constant battle with possums over these fruit. They love
them. And, as always, they are taking a big toll on the
There are 2 Timms kill traps set under the tree at all
times during the fruiting season...
as well as a bait station nailed to the base of the tree,
with fresh cinnamon scented pellets constantly
But all to no avail. The possums rarely feed on the bait
in the bait station. They ignore the fresh apple in the
kill traps. We have tried sprinkling the apple with
cinnamon, with curry powder, we have tried plum jam,
marmalade, and even peanut butter. True, we did catch one
hedgehog and one rat, but zero possums.I'll have to think
of a new strategy, and have something in mind.
Rats are the number one problem for anyone with an avocado
or macadamia nut tree. But at least they take bait
pellets. We are right next to a patch of native forest, so
we have an inexhaustible supply of rodents and possums.
And rats love both avocados and macadamias. Indeed, for
the first time, we have had a rat that not only ate the
whole avocado fruit, but started to eat the seed as well!
One rat, in particular, lunched freely on the chook food
at feeding time, and became so cocky he would come out in
full view at the rattle of the feed tin. However, we have
far more luck with the live traps for rats than we do with
possums. These small spring-loaded traps are super
reliable if you do two things - first, spray them with a
zinc rust protective coating; second, always test the door
can close cleanly when the trap is triggered, and the wire
door lock is set properly. We have had far more success
with these live traps than we have ever had with kill
Debrief after a quick underwater swimming lesson. He
received a 'fail' grade.
2011 - Sadly, one of the twin lambs received a 'fail'
grade in the test of life...
As near as I can make out, he had slipped on steep ground
in the 'back paddock', and managed to inextricably wedge
himself under a fallen kanuka sapling. Well, as every
farmer knows, if you have livestock, expect to also have
deadstock. Pity, He was a big boy, and from his weight as
I took him for recycling, was growing very well before his
He has been buried near a newly planted banana. We will
eat him yet, but not directly...give it a two years or so.
2011 - The recent days have been a sunny with overcast
periods,quite breezy, and varying from cool to mild. Some
nights have been rather cold. Overnight minimums have been
around the 10oC mark, so grass growth is strong.
2011 - The twin of the lamb that died has also died.
Again, it is a big healthy lamb, and mum is bursting with
milk, so it remains a bit of a mystery.
2011 - Blossom is trailing off now. New terminal growth is
pushing through the avocado panicles, and the Hass trees
are now flowering well. There are very few bees around,
but a good number of german wasps, some bumblebees, the
blowflies are multiplying, there are lots of little
midgey-things around, and so pollinisation shouldn't be
inhibited. We'll see.
2011 - Two of our banana plants flowered back in late
febuary. This is really the wrong time of year to fill a
bunch of bananas, because the weather becomes cool and the
bananas stop swelling over winter. One bunch, in
particular, was quite well formed by winter, so I pegged a
piece of clear plastic around it to keep it clean and
maybe raise the temperature on the bunch to aid ripening.
I checked it pretty regularly, but it showed no sign of
ripening, even as late as a couple of weeks ago. When I
checked today, I found that both bunches had suddenly
started to ripen. About 50% of the fruit were yellow.
The ripe fruit in the covered bunch had virtually
all split, albeit not badly in most cases.
The uncovered bunch had also split, and split badly.
Individual fruit are easily damaged when a banana bunch
has this many ripe fruit. Even laying it on a table will
cause some split ripe fruit to tear and fall out of the
skin. It is difficult to remove individual ripe fruit from
the bunch without them tearing.
The better bunch had over 80 fruit, the smaller one had 58
fruit. The worst went to the chooks, a good number were
frozen for use in banana cakes and the like, and the least
damaged were kept for fresh eating. The flavor of the
bananas in the larger bunch was very good, while the
smaller bunch had acceptable bananas, fairly sweet, but
These late-summer set fruit took about 7˝ months to
october 20 2012
weather has been typical spring for some time - sun, overcast,
showers, cold, warm, and then, several days of howling wind.
The tender new growth on the avocados is cupped,
distorted, and the leaf margins are pencil-edged with black
wind-burn. Maybe some of this is spray drift from neighbouring
farms. Don't know.
The leaves on the bananas are shredded, and some are bent and
broken. I guess this is how they survive hurricanes in the
tropics. New leaves will emerge as the weather warms and the
wind drops. One of the effects of human-accelerated permanent
global warming is modeled to be an increase in rain and wind
in the upper and lower latitudes (which includes NZ). The
other effect the models suggest is a warming and drying out of
the continental middle latitudes. The current 50 year record
dry in USA might be an indicator of this suggested
There are lots and lots of marble sized plumcots on the
ground, but even so, there is still a very good crop remaining
on the trees. Interestingly, while plum flowering is all but
finished here, the Spring Satin plumcot still has a few
flowers open, and the odd few flower buds yet to open. It has
a an extraordinarily long flowering season.
We continue to size-pick early set Hass fruit from last year.
They are now very good. Not 'best', but 'very good'. We have a
seedling which ripens fruit at this time, and while it is a very
poor producer (and has a massive seed), the flesh is very
oily, almost dry, and as good as the very best Hass in Hass's
true season. I bought 3 avocados at random from one of the
major supermarket chains, and while the taste was 'OK', they
all lacked oil, tended to wateriness, and were barely 'good'.
These fruit are clearly picked early to take advantage of
higher prices early in the season. The green fruit are
'ripened' with ethylene gas, but really, the fruit is not
mature (in the quality taste sense). Even so, at $1.00 each,
they provide good nutrition at a relatively affordable price.
At about 240 grams a fruit, say 200 grams without the seed,
that is $5 a kilo (protein rich eggs at about 50 grams each
and $3 a dozen, are also about $5 a kilo - a very good
complement to each other). So a good meal of 1 egg and half an
avocado would cost 25 cents for the egg and 50 cents for the
avocado half = 75 cents. Half the cost of a hamburger.
Possums continue to be a problem. We are running through
around 100 grams of bait per bait station every 4 or 5 days.
This is expensive. The possums remain wary of the kill traps.
I try various combinations of bait to try to hit the
'irresistible bait', but no luck so far. I have been trying
peanut butter on carrot, which has sometimes worked in the
past. No luck. Maybe I'll try vegemite...
2013 - Hot but breezy. The days high was 28oC. The overnight
low last night was 10oC. It has been rather dry for the last
week or so, apart from a very brief burst of showery rain
2013 - the main season is under way, and damage from possums
has been relatively limited - so far. Poison bait is out
2013 - set on the Elephant Heart is the poorest ever - only 2
2013 - Pinkerton continues to bloom heavily, and today saw the
biggest number of bees on them I have ever seen - around 10
bees per tree. The new growth flush is only just beginning to
develop at the end of the flower panicle. Several Hass trees
are flowering very well, several not so much. Reed is
flowering very heavily, and also has a good number of bees on
2013 - Loquats are in full swing.We have a few seedlings here
that are a reasonable size and quite nice, but personally I
not that impressed with loquats as a fruit - in contrast to a
whanau member who is a big fan.A kaka in a kanuka tree at the
forest edge was giving me the evil eye the other day, and it
wasn't until I moved a little further away that I found out
why - it flew straight into an adjacent loquat tree. The
ground underneath was soon littered with mangled fruit. Well,
I guess that's one more fan of loquats in the 'hood...
2012 - The early flowering (and early fruiting) feijoa
'Kaiteri' has started flowering. So has 'Anatoki', but it has
fewer flowers. Unique, the mainstream early fruit (usually
ripe in late february here) is still in bud.
2013 - Strawberries are in full swing in the shops. Our
struggling little patch in the vege garden are only just
starting. The berryfruit aficionado put a net over them the
2013 - the yellow kiwifruit are at the tail end of their
flowering. I have had a number of seedlings growing here for
around 5 or 6 years now, and I every year hope that a
plant will flower for the first time ever, and it will be a
female, not a male. There are only a few first time flowerings
this year, and not one is a female. The plants look great with
their lush new lime green leaves, and the air is filled with
the spicy scent of their flowers.
2011 - Temperatures are well up over the last few days, 13oC
minimum at night, and daytime temperatures up around 20oC. It
looks to stay that way for the next 4 or 5 days.
2011 - All the avocados are pushing new leaves through the
terminal flower panicles. The avocado 'spring flush' is
officially under way. Older leaves continue to be shed.
2011 - For days now, its been warm, often showery, hot
2011 - The first tiny 'pinhead' fruit are just visible on some
avocado flower panicles.Unless all of them are shed, we will
likely get at least some fruit.
2011 - Plum set has been a disaster. Maybe it was too wet
during flowering and the pollen was washed out, maybe it was
oo cool and windy for bees, maybe there weren't enough of the
more cool weather tolerant bumblebees around. Maybe there was
a whiff of hormone spray drift from neighbouring farms
trespassing on our property. Don't know.
2011 - In contrast, a small plumcot, variety 'Spring Satin',
which we bought and planted in january of this year, has 6
very well developed fruit. This tree is a long way away from
our 'plum area'. The nearest possible pollenizer is a well
established 'Kerby' plumcot, which only has 26 fruit on it,
when it is usually laden.
2011 - We have 2 cherry trees. One,variety 'lapin' about 2.5
metres high, we had had for 6 or 7 years. It has 14 fruit set.
Another, 'compact Stella' is 3 years old and about head
height. It has about 7 fruit set. If past experience is
anything to go by, the fruit will ripen progressively, and
just as the first one has some color, it will be eaten by
birds. We will then say, "we should put a net over the trees".
I'll think "hardly worth it", matters will drift, and we'll
forget about it until I prune them in summer . We live in hope
of a 'crop' worth investing some time in, but hold low
2014 - It has been warm, cloudy-sunny, for some days now; but
from the 5th onward we have had a really icing cold wind.
2014 - the shining cuckoos have been around for several weeks
now. A week or so ago several males were competing for the
attention of a female. I would have thought it a little late
in spring to be only just thinking about egg laying, but I
suppose they know what they are doing.
The first bunch of blackbird fledglings are already out and
about in the world. The cock birds are still singing around
the place, a most fluid and melodious song. I like having
blackbirds around, even if their endless worm hunt means huge
craters dug in the mulch under the avocados.
There are at least 4 native fruit pigeons around the property
and adjacent native forest at the moment. They cause a lot of
damage to the plums and the almonds. They 'crash land' in the
twiggy branches, which sometimes break under their weight.
They then set about eating leaves. I thought they were after
the succulent new leaves, but when I stood and watched one for
a while it was evident they ate leaves at all stages of
development. I was astonished at the speed at which they could
make a huge chunk of leaf disappear down their throat.
Several pairs of Californian Quail are around. I hope they
breed again this year. We have plenty of piles of wood from
cut-down trees around, so there are plenty of good nest sites.
Most days there is either one or two female mallards on the
tiny pond. They disappear every afternoon, and re-appear next
morning. No idea what that's all about.
2014 - The first tiny 'pinhead' fruit are just visible on some
Hass avocado flower panicles from probably a few weeks ago.
The panicles on most varieties - except Reed - are right at
the end of flowering. Nothing seems to have set in the mid
season, except perhaps Hass and a couple of seedling trees.
Hopefully the tail end of flowering will see some set on other
2014 - our 'garden center' largish-fruited red tam is opening
its first flowers. It takes about 5 months and 1 week from
flower to fruit ripe enough to pick (although they are better
if left a bit longer on the tree). Early November set fruit
should mature about mid April. A 2 year old seedling plant has
already been flowering for several weeks.
2014 - full on ripe time. Sometimes I hear a big one hit the
ground with a distinct thud.
2012 - Kaiteri, Anatokil and Unique feijoas are all flowering.
All are early fruiting feijoas. Unique is self fertile, but
Kaiteri and Anatoki aren't, so need each other (or Unique) for
cross pollination. 'Gemini' is also starting to flower. It is
about the fourth earliest feijoa for us.
2012 - Tons of grapefruit litter the ground, and this year
they are exceptionally sweet and well colored. I am starting
to eat them cut into quarters, like an orange. Not bad.
2012 - As an experiment, I planted some avocado trees under
the shade of some eucalyptus trees. I didn't expect them to
thrive, but thought they might produce a little fruit,
especially as these are a mixture of different varieties, and
all planted within 3 metres of each other. This is the second
year they have flowered well, and the second year when there
is no fruit set (correction, 2 fruit set on a Pinkerton last
year - the possums got both long before they were ripe).
Oh well, maybe next year...
Avocado under eucalyptus - bad idea
flower fly on avocado flowers
The weather has been mostly sunny, but with a southerly
for the last week. Temperatures briefly hit 25oC one day last
week. Today it was 20oC at 10.00 am. Not bad. However, there
have been some cold nights, and the temperature
has fallen to 5oC overnight in the past few days.Even so,
it looks like there has been quite a good set on the Hass
avocados from the last week or so. Reed is really ramping up
its flowering now, and there is a large 'apparent' set,
straight off. Quite a contrast to Hass, which has only started
to set right at the end of its flowering period. Our tiny
'Gwen' avocado continues to flower, albeit the amount of
flower on the tree is minute. Interestingly, the avocado
flowers in general are clearly very attractive to bees
and other pollinating insects right now.
2012 - One of our two small cherry trees has flowers, set
fruit, and green fruit on it, all at the same time. I haven't
netted it yet, because I want to give the bees access to
pollinate the remaining flowers. The received wisdom is that
cherries don't fruit in Auckland because it is not cold
enough. It is true that the leaf buds don't burst very well,
and there can be bare areas on the branches, but there are
usually a fairish number of flowers.
I generally prune the tree once or twice in summer to keep the
growth in check and to force little side branches. In my view
it is this that is resulting in some reasonable (for Auckland)
flowering. Maybe I'm wrong.Maybe it would have just as much
flower if left to grow tall. But then I couldn't net it.
2012 - The Spring Satin plumcot, for which I had high hopes of
a good crop this year, has dropped all its little 'set' fruit.
Nothing remains on the tree at all. In contrast, another
plumcot variety 18 metres away has a good crop.
2013- sunny and overcast, the odd shower (other parts of
Auckland have had isolated thunderous torrential rain
patches), basically warm, but with a cooling wind. Nice in the
sun when its out. Overnight lows have been 10oC or above. The
highest temperature in the last 2 days was 24oC.
Birds abound - blackbirds seem to be everywhere. Cuckoos call.
A lonely cock quail was heard a few days ago, but has now
- the early feijoas are flowering well. A whanau member drew
my attention to a tiny mutant feijoa seedling that we have had
for many, many years. The shrub has tiny little heaves, and
has been incredibly slow growing, but has never flowered.
Until this year. It has a good smattering of flowers on one
side of the plant, and altho' the leaves are tiny, the flowers
appear normal size to me.
Tharfield Nursery Ltd (Trading as 'Incredible Edibles') were
granted Plant Variety Rights protection for another small
feijoa, a variety called 'TharFiona'.
This (confusingly) is sold in garden centers under the trade
mark Bambina™. It is described as being "small
in size, leaf, flower and fruit". It is further described as
having "...delicate, wee fruit". From the photo on the
website, I would say the leaves are larger than the stupidly
small leaves on the seedling here. If the fruit on their plant
are small, then I suppose the fruit on my plant will be
These mutants are found in seedlings from time to time, and,
for obvious reasons, they are not considered to be as
desirable as, say, some of the smaller-sized and more compact
'conventional' feijoa cultivars. Writing in 'The National
Horticultural Magazine' in july 1933, Knowles Ryerson, then
working for the US Department of Agriculture involved in
introducing new plants for the benefit of US horticultural
industry, noted "In addition to the more common and desirable
upright form, there are several other distinct types: a much
less desirable one, open, sprawling and low, and another
almost dwarf, compact and with small leaves being fairly
2013 - there have been several periods of humid, warm weather
at the end of october and the beginning of this month. A good
initial set on the younger Hass trees is encouraging. Hass
flowering is in its end phase, and Pinkerton has all but
finished. Reed is in mid flowering. Hass has only set at the
very end of its season, as usual. Most of the Pinkertons look
as if they will have only one or two fruit.
The first of the new seasons Hass avocados are just starting
to turn color.
2013 - a few flowers now open.
2011 - Warm and windy mostly sums it up.
2011 - The avocado spring flush it well advanced now, and the
pinky bronze new leaves will soon be full size and turning
green. The tender new growth on the avocados is highly
attractive to foliage-eating insects, chief amongst which are
the bronze beetles (Eucolaspis brunnea). This annoying
native emerges from the soil in mid spring in large numbers.
They chew holes in the new growth of our berryfruit, almonds,
stone fruit, feijoas, and avocados, often cutting the soft
developing stem tip, effectively killing the growing tip.
Boysenberries get hit hard early, blackberries a bit later.
Only wineberries are not hit too badly.
2011 - The chief 'berry fiend' in the whanau
usually spends ridiculous amounts of time collecting them
from the raspberries and brambles by hand and crushing
them. Sprays are 'out' because the 'bronzies' hit hardest
when the berries are in full flower - and we rely on
bumblebees and bees to pollinate them. But spraying is the
only practical option for the hardest hit, which are the
berryfruit. So I have sprayed them twice now, with
pyrethrum, as it has the shortest witholding period. To
minimise death of pollinators, I have sprayed at dusk -
albeit on last time there were still 2 worker bumblebees
working the flowers.
2013 - this mornings paper says that 2 days ago the
temperatures in Auckland reached 26oC, a new record high
for november. We have had 27oC highs for the past few
days, so I am not surprised. To be fair, the temperatures
have been pretty even throughout the day, at around 24oC.
The thing that struck me is that these temperatures have
been reached by about 0930 in the morning.
We had one very heavy downpour, for almost an hour, but
that was a few days ago. It has been hot and dry for over
a week prior to that, and has been hot and dry since. We
need rain. Some rain is promised in a few days, and I am
gambling on that.
2013 - strawberries are producing well, and I was
astonished to find that the berryologist had successfully
rescued a form of the old 'Captain Cook' variety. We had
plants of this variety from the late Ken Nobbs. It was a
well liked variety about the 1930's -1940's or so. The
fruit are pathetically small, but the flavor is sort of
'port winey' and delicious. The plant she has is probably
a seedling (decades ago I grew a number of Captain Cook
seedlings as a result of a failed experiment in crossing
them with larger present day varieties), not the original
cultivated variety. It is a misleadingly pale pinky red,
looking not quite ripe yet even when ripe.
Raspberries are now producing about a punnet of fruit, in
spite of the dry. Removing the bantams from the berry cage
has helped, too, the berryologist cryptically notes. The
aurora berry has also started. It doesn't produce much, it
is a fairly weak plant under our conditions, but the
berries are outstandingly delicious - sort of perfumey.
2013 - the season is all but over, and we have had a good
number of fruit. They are quite variable, some soft and
almost mushy, some firmer, some seedy, some not, some with
a marked slight bitter 'wintergreen' flavor (which I
like), some with none. The most productive trees are
seedlings. The grafted trees, chiefly Bronceada, have been
badly affected by looks like a fungal disease called
'black canker', Phomopsis anonacearum. It is at
its worst in wet conditions, so the trees have been
severely pruned to allow more light and air through.
2013 - the grass is down to the deck, but, thanks to the
kikuyu and small-leafed clover, it is holding its own. The
regrowth is high quality, and the sheep are getting fatter
in spite of the very low sward. This is the grass seeding
time of year. If we don't get rain, the matured seed heads
will temporarily halt grass growth and the pastures will
start to yellow off.
2013 - Apricots are almost non existant (about 6 fruit),
and plums have set very poorly (or not at all) except for
Wrights Early, Black Price, and the Damson. We pruned all
the plumcots very heavily, so there is nothing. A whanau
memeber in the valley has such heavy set on his plums that
he describes them as 'wall to wall' fruit. Sigh...
2013 - Our tiny pond was visited for two days by a pair of
paradise ducks and their 8 little duckling. This follows
on from a mallard, also with a mob of duckling, also a two
day visitor. Where they came from, I don't know. Maybe the
near-dry 'streamlet' at the bottom of the heavily
native-forested steep little valley adjacent. Where they
went to, well, who know? I like the paradise duckling,in
particular. They are very attractive in white with black
Fat native fruit pigeons crash around the 'weedling'
kawakawa trees that come up everywhere here. They eat the
new fleshy spadixes in the green stage, which surprised
me. They don't pay much attention to me, and they look
great as the bright sunlight reflects the iridescent green
of their plumage.
2014 - after several days of being totally enveloped in a
humid, warm misty/drizzly cloud we had sun and cloud and
warmth, and today is the same, bar a sudden torrential
downpour of rain. It has been warm at night and humid and warm
in the day. Sometimes uncomfortably warm.
2014 - yesterday was the first day we have heard the
cicadas in the native forest in sustained song.
A couple of Californian quail gave their alarm call as I
arrived at the pine nut trees, and a cock pheasant raised its
scarlet head to see what was going on. Both it and the quail
disappeared over the hill. Seeing these beautiful birds
together in a natural setting rates very high in the 'cool'
scale, in my view of the world.
Native fruit pigeons continue to feast on plum tree leaves.
They have now also turned their attention to the kowhai tree,
and are busy stripping it of leaflets. One miscued its
landing, crashed into the window at speed. It hit with a solid
thud, but the window held. We were sure it would be dead, but
it was recovering in an adjacent tree. After a short while it
flew off, seemingly undamaged.
Several whanau members report a kaka screeching in a "peculiar
demented way" in the night. One said he had heard it before.
They are often heard in the night, as they fly overhead to
'somewhere'. They are around, but seem to be fairly low
profile at the moment. They must get around quite a bit,
because a whanau member saw one flying over the 'ville.
2012 - Reed dropped a fruit.
2014 - Pinkerton still has good numbers on the trees. It seems
to store well on the tree, only the odd fruit dropping. It
remains a high quality fruit, oily, smooth, good flavor, but
not as rich a flavor as Hass.
The young Reed is flowering heavily - extremely heavily - for
the first time, and it has already dropped most of its old
leaves, and the new leaves are only just developing. Young
leaves take more food resources than they contribute from
photosynthesis until they are roughly 80% final adult size.
This must be a heavy draw on the trees resources. The fruiting
Reed tree is in a similar position - it is dropping last
season adult 'contributing' leaves like crazy, flowering
heavily, and carries a full crop!
Presumably sugars and starch stored in the trunk sees it
through until new leaves are big enough to be nett
Hashimoto looks as though it has had a good initial set. I
hope this year will be its first fruiting from planting out.
The big Hass trees have a pathetic crop this year - one tree
lost a lot of fruit in winter storms, the other has a touch of
phytopthora, I suspect. The two up-and-coming trees have been
a mass of flower.
2014 - spring growth is raging out of control, as usual, and I
haven't had time to prune them. The yellow 'Sally' has long
since set fruit, and they are developing well. In contrast,
the green 'Skelton' is in female flower, and 'Hayward' is
almost entirely still in flower bud (the males flowers are
2014 - the first few delicious fruit have come in. The
berrioligist reports the bronze beetles are present in big
numbers. We don't have chooks in there any more, and perhaps
this makes a difference. The black raspberry plants "are
absolutely devastated" and the berriologist doubt we will get
2014 - close to finished for the season.
2014 - the plants have been doing poorly for a while now.
Maybe they will pick up with this warm weather. The Goldfinger
variety is finally showing a color change on a few fruit of
2014 - the grass is really moving now, and plentiful. The
lambs have a little minor scouring due either to the lush
grass or maybe a little stomach worm as they develop their
immunity. The sheep look fat and content, often laying down at
full stretch in the shade and having a snooze.
2012 - temps up now, 18 - 20 air temps, up to 24 sometimes.
2013 - it has regularly been 24oC all day for many days.
Promised rain came a couple of days ago but was light,
although in aggregate useful. It has been warm and humid for
quite some time now. This morning was extremely windy, and a
passing tui was caught in the gust and ended up flying
backwards - I thought it was funny, even if the tui didn't.
The grass is seeding in our little plantation of newly grafted
avocados. Several Californian quail have made it a feeding
ground. I really appreciate these lovely birds, and am always
pleased to see them. This sentiment is not appreciated by the
female side (an extremely light sleeper), as the cock quail
starts its monotonous single note call very early in the
morning. Add in the tuis starting around 5 am, and there is a
certain amount of anti-bird sentiment by breakfast time...
2012 - Late fruit set high on Hass. Native bees now
out, co-incide with the flowering of the Queen Ann's Lace.
They like Hass flowers. The trees are all in mad growth
flush - peak - except Pinkerton, which did its thing
2013 - The avocados have finished
flowering, bar some late flower on Reed, Fuerte and Hashimoto
(and a rare 'tail end' flower or 3 on Hass and Pinkerton). We
have had a fantastic initial fruit set on Hass and Reed. But
over the last 4 days there has been massive fruit drop. Reed
has held good numbers of fruitlets, but some Hass trees have
dropped almost everything. Fruit set on these trees is both
disappointing and patchy. Yet Reed seems to have retained good
numbers of fruit (as has Fuerte), and some Pinkerton trees
have ended up retaining more fruit than they ever have.I
counted 10 pea sized fruitlets one one tree. But it is early
days yet, and even these more promising larger fruit could yet
fall. The earliest flowers have been the ones to set, the
flowers and fruitlets from the last few weeks have all been
tossed overboard. There are some very recently set pinhead
fruit on Hass, and it will be interesting to see if any of
these are retained.
The trees here are unirrigated, and perhaps that is the reason
there has been such a large fruit drop in Hass. That said,
Reed has held good numbers, and even a couple of very little
new Maluma trees are still holding onto a couple of fruitlets.
2012 - First color blush on plumcots
2013 - first color blush on one of the 3 spring satin plumcot
fruit. It is not just spring satin that has had a poor set.
Apart from Wrights early, Black Prince, and the Damson plums,
fruit set has been extremely poor on the stone fruit this
year. The old seedling apricot tree, usually somewhat
reliable, has about 8 fruit on it, and the Santa Rosa has
zero, in spite of flowering well. Guess its a lack of
pollinating insects earlier in spring.
2012 - Raspberries in full flow.
2012 - Blueberries - some are ripe
2012 - Bramble Aurora just
starting. The fruit are very perfumed.
2013 - Raspberries are producing well, the berriologist is
picking the few precious aurora berries, and some loganberries
are also coming in.
2012 - Last cherimoya has now been
picked. The cherimoya are flowering again
2013 - Cherimoya are coming to the end, There are still some
fruit on the trees, but only a few. They are ripening very,
very quickly once picked. One tree, a Burton's Favourite
seedling, is germinating the seeds inside the fruit! This
seedling is a particularly nice one, with no bitterness, and a
good flesh to seed ratio. I must get around to propagating it
2012 - The fruit are fat on the
2013 - There are 4 breba figs on the brown turkey "which is
pathetic in the extreme" according to the figologist. There
are no breba fruit on the Madeleine, and the Petrovicha, which
always has breba fruit, did have some, but dropped the lot.
Presumably the long dry is the cause.
2012 - Now flowering
2012 - starting to flower
2012 - cherries showing a little
2013 - a crop of 6 on one tree, and maybe 6 on another (the
flowers are still setting).
2013 - the Hayward green kiwifruit are now flowering well. I
haven' toticed any pollinating insects on them as yet. The
gold kiwifruit plants are carrying a heavy crop this year, in
spite of the extreme drought last year. Gold kiwifruit
flowering is now finished.
PSa has been found recently on an orchard in Kumeu - luckily
quite some distance from here. This disease pops up in
commercial orchards at great distances from sources of
infection. It seems to me that it must arrive on orchard
machinery, particularly contractor machinery, or contract
workers boots, or clothing, or industry advisor's footwear
etc. Luckily, home gardeners such as myself have no such
visitors or machinery traffic, and so (hopefully) little
chance of infection.
2012 - Pinus
maximartinezii new growth' candles' are starting
to show needles P. koriensis candles are already in
2012 - the male flowers are not
shedding pollen yet
2012 - walnut are shedding pollen
and have female flower
2012 - the tams are flowering now