May in the Orchard

citrus with strawbale protection
Citrus all need a layer of homemade compost, a top up of mulch and monthly liquid feeding while they are in production mode. Make sure they have some extra shelter if they are young. Mine are still babies, so this winter I’ve made little walls from the strawbale festival seating to cut our cold south easterly wind, and trap the sun. Shelter makes such a difference.

Start planning for new fruit tree plantings. Decide which trees will work well at your place before you go shopping – otherwise garden centre seduction will get you! To help you plan, label stakes with the names of trees and bang them in where you think you want them. Marinate on these decisions, and ask yourself how well the tree will work in this position. Does this site match the needs of this tree? How will I irrigate? Is there enough room to prune and mow? Is there adequate windshelter? Sarah’s wonderful new catalogue ( is out now. Use it to help you choose.


Once your pipfruit have lost their leaves you can prune.

If you live in my hood and want me to prune your trees then email me or phone me on 027 244 9761 – I’m taking bookings from now (don’t leave it till August you’ll miss out!) If you are a Kapiti or Horowhenua school with new trees, and need help getting them off on the right foot then you can make me a nice cup of tea and I‘ll come and do your trees for free.

chilean guava
Enjoying your passionfruit crop?
Me too! And hurrah the tamarillos aren’t far behind. If your tams have whitefly then spray fortnightly with Neem until they realise you are more persistent than they, and give up. Another pesky pest the passionvine hopper can be seen on your passions or citrus right now. A delicate little brown fly with partly see through wings. At this stage of its life the best thing you can do is look for the eggs and prune them out. Look in the soft wood at the tips of the plant the fly is inhabiting – you’ll see rows of straight lines scratched into the wood. This is where the eggs are laid. Cut them out and burn them… a few smart moves and yes you can manage those pests!

The beneficient Chilean guava is still providing fruits. A bold statement I know, but I do believe it’s an essential berry for lower North Island gardeners. A lot of yummy fruit in a very small space for low fuss, and the fragrance is oh so good.