Fruiting Hedges – Feijoas

I thought I’d give a little update on my feijoa hedge. I planted it last autumn along our driveway:

And here it is a full year later:

Ok, so it’s not mind-boggling progress with the feijoas but I’m happy. I can see they have actually grown, although the one on the right is a little slow. From my observations feijoas grow slowly around here without attention in the first few years, and I haven’t actually done too much for these.

Varieties

I planted two each of Mammoth and Goliath. There’s a guy at my local weekly market who sells really reasonably priced  fruit trees, with varieties that are suited to our climate, so I grabbed some of these.

Position

These are planted along a north-south axis, with a stone wall to the west providing shade from the hot afternoon sun in summer and hopefully reflecting a bit of heat from the sun in cooler weather.  I needed to plant something that would eventually not need watering (or at least could stay alive in drought conditions), could cope with a bit of shade, could be easily and un-fussily pruned to keep at a shrub size (I dont want them to block the driveway or to interfere with the stone walls), and of course, would fruit!

Soil

The soil was ok – I think it was once upon a time filled with something of reasonable quality. I added a lot of cow manure and compost (of questionable quality) and I mixed through straw so that it would break down and help hold water in the soil.

Underplanting

I’ve planted it with rosemary, lavender, convolvulus, tree Euphorbia and a couple of caper bushes. I don’t love the tree Euphorbia. I actually thought it was going to be bushy and shrubby like all the other Euphorbias I’ve ever seen. Pretty silly assumption on my part given the name. However, now I’m thinking it might be an ok companion plant while the feijoas are growing.

The Caper Bushes are interesting. I thought they had died last winter – they definitely died back and I wasn’t expecting them to reappear, especially once spring arrived and there was no sign of them. However, come summer, the hottest weather, and they did reappear! Miracle. So Diggers say they revel in the hottest spot in your garden, and are drought hardy once established. And no doubt this is very hot in summer, surrounded by concrete and stone walls. I think I’ll plant a few more, as they will hopefully yield something edible in a year or two and they are provide a nice colour and texture contrast.

Caper Bush

Fejioa Pests

Something has been nibbling on all the new growth:

This happens to my olive trees as well. One night I went out with a torch and found a brown stick-like caterpillar, which I think is a native caterpillar that feeds on Eucalyptus. I wondered if it might also be grasshoppers?

The feijoas in my backyard chook area are showing almost no signs of nibbling.

Although these are also on drip irrigation and were mulched with lots of spent straw from the chook house.

Future Care

So I think I might try and give the ones out drip irrigation for a few years over summer,  and feed them up a lot more, prowl more for bugs at night regularly, and maybe plant some more smelly companion plants in the hope it might deter the pests.

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