Have a safe and happy festive season – enjoy good times in the garden!

A tall glass of iced water with a squeeze of lime or lemon is a real thirst quencher on a hot summer’s day. Picking your own citrus is extremely satisfying, convenient and the rich flavour is second to none. Even beginner gardeners can have success with a citrus tree.

Citrus trees are a favourite to grow in the ground or a large pot. They look stunning with their gorgeous glossy foliage, perfumed flowers and have the bonus of juicy tasty fruit. Thriving in most areas of Australia, with a little care the whole street will be supplied with tasty fruit. There is nothing particularly technical about growing citrus trees in the ground or in a large pot; all that is required are good observation skills.

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Top Tips to tasty juicy fruit when planting in the ground:

  • Plant trees in position that receives at least 6 hours of sun per day. Small spaces are perfect as long as it’s sunny.
  • Improve the soil when planting with well-rotted manure and compost and/or Seasol Super Compost. As a general guide when planting dig a hole 50cm x 50cm wide and put the bottom third of soil aside. Back fill with equal volume of soil put aside with soil improver, place in hole and mix with existing 2/3rds soil. To this mixture add a handful of Seasol Plant + Soil Booster. This will help with strong root development and healthy plant growth.
  • Once the tree is planted water in thoroughly with Seasol or Seasol GOLD.  This will help to reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment. Also ensure there are no air spaces around the roots.

How to get bigger yields of taster fruit & citrus.

  • Mulch around the roots with 75mm layer of coarse chunky mulch.
  • Water regularly throughout spring and summer to ensure root establishment. A citrus tree develops fine feeder roots just under the soil surface and the key to keeping these plants growing well is looking after the soil under the complete root zone.
  • Hungry citrus need nutrients to help them grow, flower and fruit, Apply granular Seasol plus Nutrients Fruit & Citrus to the soil every 6 to 8 weeks and remember to water it in thoroughly after application.
  • To give them a liquid boost, feed with PowerFeed PRO SERIES Flowers, Fruit & Citrus. It’s a dynamic fertiliser and soil improver to help all citrus and fruit trees, as well as your flowers.

Top Tips to tasty juicy fruit when planting in pots:

Citrus trees will thrive in a large pot for many years. In small gardens, growing a citrus tree in a pot opens up many possibilities. These small well-behaved trees are ideal to use for decoration, portable screening and producing delicious juicy fruit. Move them around to chase the sun. They will require at least 6 hours of sun a day to thrive.

  • Select a pot that is at least 45-50cm diameter. Plants do better in larger pots, there is more room for the roots to develop. More soil volume results in a cooler root zone in summer.
  • Only use premium potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix, these mixes have been formulated to guarantee best plant growth. Don’t block off the holes in the pot with rocks as this will not allow the soil to drain freely and plants will be prone to rotting.
  • When potting water your newly established citrus in with Seasol or Seasol GOLD. This will help to reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment.

  • Premium potting mix has enough fertiliser in the mix to feed the plants for at least 4 weeks, after this time apply slow-release fertiliser around the soil surface. A sure sign of over fertilising is when a citrus tree drops their leaves suddenly
  • Apply controlled release fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release for Flowers, Fruit & Citrus at the beginning of every season and apply liquid fertiliser over the foliage every fortnight. Soluble liquid fertilisers such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives or PowerFeed PRO SERIES Flowers, Fruit & Citrus are ideal for plants in pots as they are applied over the foliage and absorbed very quickly. There is less wastage and no leaching of nutrients.
  • Pots should be mulched to save water. Avoid organic mulches made of bark or compost and look for small stones or pebbles. These will reduce the evaporation of moisture from the soil and create a decorate effect at the same time.

Green Gifts for kids

With the trend to all things living, head to the Garden Centre and make all your gifts green this year. There are many desk-top plants, fruit trees, shade lovers and bird attracting varieties to choose from.

For the kids in your life, they would love the opportunity to grow a Venus Fly Trap. These carnivorous plants are fascinating, snapping shut every time an unsuspecting fly or mozzie lands on the fine hairs in the trap. The insect will be digested in a few short weeks, being converted to a nutritious liquid absorbed by the plant.

Top tips for growing Venus Fly Traps –

  • Place in a well-lit position with high humidity. Increase humidity by placing the pot on expanded clay in a saucer of water. As the water evaporates the humidity increases.
  • Plants will grow well in a terrarium if the lid is left open to encourage air movement around the plant and ensure insects can find their way in. With kids around there is no shortage of force feeding when it comes to finding flies.
  • When repotting a mix of sphagnum moss and coco peat is ideal.

Green Gifts for the avid gardener – fruit trees

For the practical and avid gardeners amongst us chose a fruiting tree or vine. Peaches, apricots, and nectarines are all great backyard fruiting trees.

If you have limited space, why not plant a Duo. This means planting two trees in the same hole only 10-15cm apart. These grow independently on their own root system and are stronger trees than multi grafts.

To reduce water usage through the summer month’s prune peaches, apricots, and nectarines immediately after fruiting, reducing the need for winter pruning.

To complete the Christmas gift, include a bottle of  Seasol and PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives to help the plant flourish.

Summer produce

The edible garden tends to get forgotten amongst the haste of Christmas. A little work at this time of the year will reward with tasty produce even in the hottest months. In warmer areas tomatoes will be fruiting at Christmas, other areas will have to wait until later. Plant another crop now to follow on from the first sowing. In a large hanging basket where it is too sunny for a lot of other plants, plant some Cherry tomatoes. Red, yellow, and orange varieties not only look great but will fruit brilliantly over the summer. A sure way to get any member of the family eating fresh tomatoes. It is time to plant dwarf beans, beetroot, loose leaf lettuce, corn, chillies, capsicum, celery, corn, honey dew melon, eggplant, silverbeet, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and watermelon.