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Canberra Today 2°/5° | Sunday, May 22, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Pick the persimmons carefully

Persimmons… When the fruit comes, the birds will have their eyes on it and that’s when it’s ready for picking. Photo: Jackie Warburton

Persimmon trees can put on an autumnal show and can be grown into quite a large tree in the garden, not only the orchard, says gardening writer JACKIE WARBURTON.

Jackie Warburton.

I HAVE planted my persimmon tree as a backdrop so the autumn colour is seen, and the tree will be easy to net to protect the fruit from the birds. 

There are mainly two types of persimmons – astringent (hard eating) and non-astringent (soft eating). The fruit is completely different from each other so a little research with recipes and a taste test is needed to decide which type would work best given they can take up to seven years to fruit.

When the fruit comes, the birds will have their eyes on it and that’s when it’s ready for picking. Fruit is grown on current growth so a light pruning after the fruit has been removed will help with next year’s yield.

Persimmons can be picked and ripened indoors on a sunny windowsill if birds are a pest. Most varieties are self-fertile and need acidic soils to grow well and lots of sun. They don’t like their roots disturbed, but can be planted when they are dormant in winter. 

THERE should be a good show of autumn colour in the vegetable garden with asparagus fronds turning golden yellow and grapes, apples, plums and pears, too, are colouring up. 

Keep the water up to fruit trees until they have lost all their leaves. It is important to keep them mulched. 

With the continuing wet weather, slaters, pill bugs and earwigs are still a problem in the garden. Clear any old debris from the garden and the base of plants to ensure there is good airflow. Once plants are “out of reach”, the insects move on. 

Diatomaceous earth is a terrific insecticide for crawling insects in the veggie garden. Sprinkle around the base of any small seedings that need protection. All veggies can be watered with seaweed solution and leafy greens need to be regularly picked to keep the sweetness and stop them from going bitter. 

CAMELLIAS will need a fertiliser now that is high in potash to help them into their flowering period, which is generally mid-winter, early spring. It’s best not to do any pruning now as the flower buds have already formed.

If there are too many buds and the branches look too heavy, then it is fine to remove a few buds. This is called disbudding and will promote bigger, more beautiful flowers in the long run. It can be hard removing flower buds, but the results will show when they flower. 

Camellias will be coming into stock in nurseries soon, so get in quick as there is generally only an annual order and they sell out fast. If you are after a special variety, they can be mail ordered as well. 

NOW’S a good time to clean out all the plants that have been affected by frost and trimming of spent foliage and flowers of herbaceous plants – plants that die back in winter. It’s also a good time to replenish soils, and weed and mulch for winter.

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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Jackie Warburton

Jackie Warburton

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