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Help with plant spacing and position

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Waterfall starts with ...
Hi guys,

I have a little area in my house I have been working on, it gets the most sun all through the year compared to any other space in my yard so I am making it my "tropical zone". I'm in Sydney about 7km from the ocean, we don't get frost.

Although this area gets lots of sun it also faces West so receives the most wind. To remedy this I have built a polycarbonate wind break which is about 2m tall.

You can see in my attached photos the area I am working with is 2.2m wide by 8m long where the pavers will be removed and I can plant in the ground. The shorter poly wall on the North side is 4m so I also have some space for pots but need to leave some space to get the car in and out or the garage.

I have a jackfruit, rollinia and soursop I would like to plant in the ground and possibly one other plant which is a NDM mango if you guys think it can fit. I would like some advice on how many tree's I can fit in this space and in what position or order they should be planted? Can anyone comment on the growth habit of these plants and how this would affect the positioning?

The 1st photo is from up on the roof and gives you an idea of the layout.
The 2nd and 3rd photo shows the wind break wall.
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Picture: 2

Picture: 3
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Waterfall
Waterfall
14th December 2014 3:24pm
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Original Post was last edited: 14th December 2014 3:24pm
sternus1 says...
You have virtually no possibility whatsoever of growing soursop in sydney especially considering your proximity to the coast, without a heated greenhouse for the winter months. Forget about it--even here in Brisbane they are marginal.

You'll probably get away with rollinia however. Also, you could definitely plant luc's garcinia (which is a betetr fruit than mangosteen, even) as well as achachairu. Guavas fruit well in pots. Jaboticaba will be ok as well as other eugenias.

Bayberry is a superb fruit for sydney, as is Arbutus unendo. Diffiuclt to get a hold of however.

You could grow babaco, but I doubt if you could succesfully grow papaya.

Dragonfruit are a yes--definitely reserve space for some good cultivars, but buy the columbian red from daleys, it is by far the best of the commonly available types. Opuntia will also yield for you.

In a space that size, depending on what you're planting, you could squeeze in about 15-20 trees, assuming you keep them trimmed to a conservative size. More if you're planning on growing in containers.Plant in rows and leave enough room to walk between these. Mangoes are going to be a no-no in the ground--they have immense and devastatingly damaging root systems--so if there's any plumbing or electric buried in that space, don't plant mangoes over the top of them. Again, mangoes are going to be iffy in Sydney. I suspect they wouldn't ever bear, or else would bear poorly.

Definitely reserve space for a carambola--a fantastic, hardy and heavy bearing species that will do well for you in your locale. I recommend Arkin or Kembangan, but if you can get giant siam, definitely get that one.
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sternus1
Australia
14th December 2014 6:02pm
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Original Post was last edited: 14th December 2014 5:55pm
Thithi says...
Come on sternus, let the man try to grow what he loves. Don't be a doom sayer. Waterfall, I grow soursop and jackfruit in Melbourne ( in pot atm, and planning to put in the ground next year). Go for it waterfall.
Ps. Jackfruit does not like a lot of sun, leaves are burnt at lower temp compare to avocados.
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Thithi
MELBOURNE,0,NT
14th December 2014 6:28pm
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sternus1 says...
Fair enough thi. But I would urge caution; it's better to accept some things rather than to wastes years of energy and anticipation. There is a difference between thriving and surviving. Merely because a tree can survive out of its zone doe not mean it will ever fruit. It's a lesson a few of us have learned the hard way. I could tell you a lot of stories about my attempts at growing mangosteen :\

That said, I hope that star apple proves me wrong and you get a massive harvest one day :D
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sternus1
Australia
14th December 2014 6:37pm
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Original Post was last edited: 14th December 2014 6:36pm
Waterfall says...
Thanks for the response Sternus, I will look into some of those suggestions.

Below is a list of what I already have growing in other parts of my yard however I am saving this new space for the real tricky stuff as mentioned it gets the most sun year round.

Mangoes are no problem is Sydney, very common actually. I grew the soursop from seed so if it dies its no big deal. I can leave the NDM mango in the pot.

Plant Name Cultivar
Apple Pink Lady/Granny Smith dual graft
Avacado Grafted Wurtz (dwarf)
Babaco
Black Mulberry Grafted (dwarf)
Black Sapote Seedling
Blackberry Waldo
Blueberry Blueberry Burst
Blueberry Brigitta
Blueberry Blue Rose
Blueberry Tifblue
Blueberry Powderblue
Blueberry Legacy
Blueberry Sharpblue
Canistel Seedling
Carambola Grafted Kary
Cherimoya Fino de Jete
Custard Apple Grafted Paxton Prolific
Feijoa Seedling
Feijoa Grafted Apollo
Fig Black Genoa
Grape Muscadine Noble
Grumichama Black
Guava Hawaiian
Jaboticaba Seedling
Jackfruit Seedling (Daleys)
Jackfruit Seedling (ebay)
Lime Kaffir
Lime Unknown
Loquat Nagasakiwase
Lychee Wai Chee (semi-dwarf)
Mandarin Imperial
Mango Bowen Seedling
Mango Nam Doc-Mai (dwarf)
Mango Grafted Khiew Sawouey
Monstera Seedling
Nectarine New Boy
Nectra-plum Spicezee
Orange Cara Cara
Panama Berry Cutting
Passionfruit Black Grafted
Passionfruit Pandora (not Grafted)
Paw Paw Sunrise Solo
Peach Unknown
Pepino Kendall Gold
Pitaya (dragonfruit) Yellow
Pitaya (dragonfruit) White
Pitaya (dragonfruit) Trish Red
Pitaya (dragonfruit) Jade
Raspberry Heritage
Red Shahtoot Mulberry Grafted (dwarf)
Rollinia Seedling
Strawberry Lowana
Strawberry Pink
Strawberry Red Gauntlet
Strawberry Sweetest
Strawberry Temptation
Tamarillo Orange
Tamarillo Red
White Sapote Grafted Golden Globe
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Waterfall
Waterfall
14th December 2014 6:41pm
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Original Post was last edited: 14th December 2014 6:41pm
sternus1 says...
Please come back with updates from time to time. I'd be really interested to know how things like papaya and black sapote do in Sydney.

Very surprised to hear that mangoes fruit well in sydney.

If you're in the market for better dragons than those tamborine CV's, I have a limited number for sale right now, as well as other fruiting cacti.

s

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sternus1
Australia
14th December 2014 6:46pm
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Waterfall says...
No problem Sternus, where can I get one of these luc's garcinia you mentioned, it sounds like a good one to grow?

Most of my tropical or subtropical plants are only approaching 1 year old now since purchase but they all made it through winter fine and are putting on lots of growth now. My seedling KP mango fruited this year but were removed as I decided to get some lower branching. The babaco is loaded with fruit and lots of things have already flowered including the lychee, custard apple, avocado, pepino tamarillo and cherimoya. Of coarse all the temperate fruit trees have been producing well.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
14th December 2014 10:19pm
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Original Post was last edited: 14th December 2014 10:11pm
sternus1 says...
luc's garcinia isn't commercially available in Australia and must be grown from seed.

They are out of season right now but should be available to buy from luc from January.

He can be contacted at this site:

http://aussiefigandfruit.freeforums.net/thread/13/lucs-garcinia

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sternus1
Australia
14th December 2014 10:43pm
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echinopora says...
sternus, what varieties of dragonfruit/cacti do you have avail? Sorry to hijack. I've god columbian, and from tamborine trish/jackie/scots. Wouldn't mind another.
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Echinopora
terranora
15th December 2014 10:55am
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sternus1 says...
Please email me at:

noevilstar@hushmail.me

thanks

s
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sternus1
Australia
15th December 2014 10:56am
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Waterfall says...
Progress has been slow with xmas visiting relo's etc. but I did manage to get the pavers up and cut into a nice straight line (see photo).

Next step is to prepare the soil. It is good under the black plastic as I was growing veggies in there but under the pavers will need lots of work as it was compacted and is most likely general fill.

Tomorrow I will start digging all the soil, I was thinking of doing layers of lucerne hay, cow manure and compost, maybe starting from about 400mm deep. Any thoughts on that welcome.

I'm wondering if I have left it too late now to plant anything in the ground here, maybe I should leave everything in their pots until next spring?
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Waterfall
Waterfall
26th December 2014 9:36pm
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sternus1 says...
Not spring, plant in winter.
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sternus1
Australia
27th December 2014 9:04am
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The poster formerly known as... says...
It depends what you are planting. If you plant many things in winter here it's a struggle to get new plants through the dry and blistering first week of spring and the rest of the dry season. I plant anytime there is a meaty looking low pressure system rolling in. Pretty much guaranteed of the plants settling in well. If you are looking for the Mexican garcinia, let me know. I've got a bunch of small plants laying about and could probably still post them fairly easily.
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Theposterformerlyknownas
Keperra
27th December 2014 12:02pm
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Waterfall says...
I think the Jackfruit and Rollinia will do for now and I have a whole bunch of paw paw grown from seed which may work well as a short term shade system over the next few years. I will keep my Soursop in a pot for now until it gets much larger, I don't really expect it to survive anyway. I also have a NDM mango on a dwarf rootstock which I would like to squeeze into this space if possible?

Its good to get some feedback from you guys as I am pretty new to this.

Is this Mexican garcinia from Luc? how can I contact you?

cheers.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
27th December 2014 12:46pm
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sternus1 says...
Rollinia a will be a survivor for sure. They're a lot tougher and cold tolerant than they are given credit for.

Beware of 'dwarf' rootstocks on mangoes--a dwarf mango will still grow into a bloody big tree if left to its own devices, and the root systems of mangoes are reasonablly invasive. If you are going to plant one out, make sure it's well and away from your plumbing. Wouldn't bother growing one in a pot,not really worth it.
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sternus1
Australia
27th December 2014 1:23pm
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Waterfall says...
The only plumbing under that space is the drainage for the retaining wall which just empties onto the grass at the bottom of the wall and it about 1.3m below the soil.

When I bought the mango tree at forbidden fruits they showed me a fully grown one, it looked about 4m tall.

I also have a panama berry tree I could plant in there, I believe they are relatively short lived?
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Waterfall
Waterfall
27th December 2014 1:47pm
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Original Post was last edited: 27th December 2014 1:47pm
Linton says...
Stated above that Rollinia is tougher and cold tolerant. So I would really like to know if Rollinia can be easily grown in Melbourne and can get fruit here.

I've always wanted to grow one but thought they couldn't survive down here. On the site it says that they like hot conditions with high rainfall and we don't have that.

Please let me know if it is definite that they can grow here for sure before I waste my money to buy one. Thanks!
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Linton
Springvale, Vic
27th December 2014 7:10pm
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The poster formerly known as... says...
Panama Berry is a great fast growing shade tree for more tender plants to grow under. Papaya are not as good as they are super nutrient hungry and do t cast much shade as they go straight up and have a small canopy.
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Theposterformerlyknownas
Keperra
27th December 2014 9:13pm
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sternus1 says...
panama berry is another super productive tree. The fruit is ok. They are good nitrogen fixers too apparently.
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sternus1
Australia
27th December 2014 9:57pm
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Waterfall says...
Can anyone comment on soil preparation depth? I'm dealing with compacted coarse sand and fist size sandstone boulders which makes it quiet difficult to dig (see photo).

I was thinking 400mm but would be happy to stay at 300mm if I could get away with it?

The plan is alternate layers of lucerne hay, chicken poo and cow manure with some coarsely sifted sand put back in to remove the boulders. Then I will plant some Jap Millet grass which I have lots of seeds spare and dig it back in as a green manure once fully grown over summer.

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Waterfall
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28th December 2014 4:12pm
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sternus1 says...
Rocks are bad news when it comes to soil because they cause root drying and burning and work to cloy.

The Honest answer is that you're probably looking at raised beds.

The good news is you are starting with a fantastic work surface to build these--ideal. actually. The ground is level, you know how much area you have, and because of the gravel/stone content, it's not going to shift around too much.

You can build some really beautiful oiled raised beds from railway sleepers. These are quite easy to construct, and basically all you need is the lumber, some meaty fasteners, a drill and a driver.

Make sure you countersink the holes for the screws, and fill the depressions with wood putty. This will really, really help preserve your frame and stop it shifting out of square.

If you can get them, use old hardwood railway sleepers, because they will have already warped--and wood can't warp twice.
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sternus1
Australia
28th December 2014 5:07pm
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Original Post was last edited: 28th December 2014 5:07pm
Waterfall says...
I have found that once I reached 400mm the "fill" is gone and there is the original dark sandy soil underneath without rocks in it. I pH tested it and it was neutral.

Looks like I have a lot of digging to do.

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Waterfall
Waterfall
28th December 2014 5:28pm
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sternus1 says...
If you have access to the space, I recommend hiring a bobcat to scrape and cart the 400m crap away. It won't cost the Earth, and is sure as hell worth it in terms of saved labor. For a space that big you're looking at somewhere around 180$ thereabouts. A cat will make short work of it. You're still going to have to cart the fill away at some point anyway whether you hand dig it or not. In terms of scale of economy, a bobcat, if you can get one in there, is going to be win-win.
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sternus1
Australia
28th December 2014 6:05pm
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Original Post was last edited: 28th December 2014 6:04pm
Waterfall says...
Luckily its only the area that had pavers on it that will require this digging. If you look at my first photo from my first post you can see its about 1/3 of the 2m x 8m area.

I also have a friend who requires fill for his retaining walls so I can load up a trailer and dump it at his place.

Either way its still a lot of work.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
28th December 2014 7:16pm
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sternus1 says...
If it's any consolation, I just finished hand digging a 15 foot long, 1/1/2 m deep trench with a pick and shovel. I'm on clay and it is probably the worst thing I've ever had to do. Just got it done today after about 5 hours of work in the drizzle, which is a blessing as this makes the clay workable--otherwise, I might as well try and chip it out with a hammer and chisel.

Never again. Next time, I'm going to take some of my own medicine and call in the bobcat :/

I see now. The sandy stony stuff is paver base, fair enough.

If you're native soil drains, then you don't really need to amend it too much--well, don't amend your backfill with compost, this will cause problems in the end and isn't worth it. Top dress only and work stuff in over time. I wouldn't backfill with exotic soil at all--just break it up before putting it back in the planting hole, and add sand so that your pil retains some structure. If your soil is ph neutral then you're going to need to acidify it because you'll probably never plant a tropical fruit tree that doesn't like acid soil. There's a bunch of ways to do this, but the easiest way is with manure composts and sulphur really. People will probably tell you to use sphagnum etc but this can get pretty expensive as one of those little bricks doesn't go far. If you can swing it, try and get coffee grounds--cafes produce endless supplies and most will let you raid their bins for it. It depends if your soil is light, or it's clay based--like the crap I'm on. To amend heavy clay, you pretty much have to constantly add compost and sulphur and turn and turn turn it until you have something that is like loam. This also requires pretty epic amounts of water, and just sucks generally tbh. For me, I don't really have any alternative to backfilling and the process is quite expensive and backbreaking (hence the gigantic trench) as I must import exotic soils in bulk.

Back OT, the first foot of your soil is mostly where the magic happens when talking about tropicals. Most have evolved in locales naturally rich in nitrogen and carbon owing to constant inputs of detritus and guano. Consequently they have broad and shallow root systems which would take advantage of this unlike temperate species. If you only had a foot of primo soil in large area, this would be enough.
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sternus1
Australia
28th December 2014 8:14pm
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Original Post was last edited: 28th December 2014 8:13pm
Waterfall says...
The soil here is sand and drains a little too well, there is no clay at all. In the front yard which was my first project after removing all the grass I had a load of mushroom compost delivered and worked it into the soil to about a shovel depth deep to boost the organic content. This seemed to work really well and now it retains moisture much better whereas before it was hydrophobic in some places, everything out front seems to be happy now.

For the current project I will return this soil but sieve the rocks out first and I would like to add some organic too. I have a few bails of lucerne hay under the house and some cow manure which I would like to mix in with this sandy soil as I refill the garden bed, is this not a good idea?
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Waterfall
Waterfall
28th December 2014 8:52pm
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sternus1 says...
The problem with mushroom compost is that it is a bit of a crapshoot. It can contain, ironically, fungicides which persist as a chemical presence therein for several years which is bad for microbial activity in the soil.

You can't really go wrong with lucerne, it's great. Really no downsides. Cow manure is probably a good option since you're on sandy soil and it will create a bit of glugginess which in your situation will be beneficial.

Something else you should consider doing is mixing in some cheapo potting mix for fibre and structure. The Brunnings brand stuff will be good for this task.Once you've created a firmer soil, start adding trace elements, but not before as they will simply dissipate through the sand.
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sternus1
Australia
28th December 2014 9:49pm
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Waterfall says...
Progress has been slow considering I am on holidays. I have completed a small section that was under the pavers, I am doing it in sections just so it is easier to manage the piles of dirt and rocks. This area gets full sun all day which makes it hard to work in on hot days like today.

I looked at the cheap potting mix but it had sand in it and I don't want to pay for sand so I grabbed the cheap cow manure which was only $1 more per bag and I have used this before with good success. I also got some free woodchip mulch and some fresh chicken manure.

The photos show some of the sifting and rocks removed and the area I have been working on. I also paved a small area under the awning of the garage so I can place a few pots there, this is a prime position for winter warmth.
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Picture: 2

Picture: 3

Picture: 4
  
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Waterfall
Waterfall
1st January 2015 5:18pm
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Original Post was last edited: 1st January 2015 5:16pm
Brain says...
I have the same green seive and it is hard work, so i know how you feel. But at the end it will be worth it. Keep up the hard work and good on you.


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Brain
Brisbane
1st January 2015 11:06pm
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TMary says...
Waterfall your trees will thank you for your hard work in preparing a good home for them :) Since you have lifted all those pavers why not use them to build up the bed?
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TMary
Neutral Bay NSW
2nd January 2015 8:23am
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Waterfall says...
Hi Mary, I guess I want to avoid a raised bed to make maximum use of the windbreak I have constructed. The drainage seems to be very good so I'm not concerned about wet feet either.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
2nd January 2015 10:57am
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TMary says...
I see about the wind; I was just thinking that it would give you extra depth. :) I can't dig so I just prop the trees up and chuck soil on top. Rather primitive compared with your thoughtful preparation.
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2nd January 2015 11:16am
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Al says...
I've got rocky 'fill' soil on much of my block too waterfall, put in before I got here to raise it up as my area is flood prone. Itv is yellow clay too so not very plant friendly.

I do have plans for bringing in some soil, mixing it with old mulch and putting in retaining walls, but in the meantime I work from the top down on it. I lay on compost and dynamic lifter under thick mulch and keep topping this up regularly. The trees suck up these nutrients so that in less than two months the feeder roots are showing beneath the mulch and I need to add more material. It works well and build s up the microrganisms while feeeding the young trees and retaining moisture.
Your system will no doubt reap rewards once it all settles in Waterfall. Be sure to mound it up though as it will slump down plenty over time.
Thanks for all the pics of your project.
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Al
South Golden Beach
2nd January 2015 8:12pm
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Waterfall says...
I haven't done any more digging since returning to work, when I have found time it has been wet and the sieving is too difficult with wet soil.

I have been practising grafting, I have attempted to graft a branch of my nam doc mai onto my khiew savouy, this means if it takes I will have some space for another tree in this new area I'm working on.

I really want to put in a Lychee after munching on a few from the markets over xmas. I already have a dwarf wai chee in the front yard but it is so slow growing I will probably be waiting another 10 years before I get to eat some.

Canley Vale nursery has some advanced tai so and kwai mai pink in stock, I'm thinking of planting it in the northern corner of this new area I'm working on.

What type of lychee do you guys think would suit best?
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Waterfall
Waterfall
1st February 2015 5:58pm
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sternus1 says...
Lychees are actually really hard to get to fruit in the ground, and given your locale the chance of this happening is very remote.

Somebody will probably post back that they have managed it, but I refuse to believe it without proof.

You need absolutely superb soil and light conditions. Lychee will not even fruit on any limbs which do not receive full sun. The problem with this is that New growth scorches so getting the balance right is a royal pain in the Arse. It is such an arse pain in fact that I simply grow mine in massive pots.

If you're committed to growing lychee, I recommend b3 or bosworth as it is also called. It's not the nicest cv, but it's by far and away the toughest and has the best chance of fruiting for you. If you opt for container growing which I strongly, strongly, strongly urge you to do given you have limited space and an in ground lychee will almost certainly not fruit for you, then go with chicken tongue types. Daleys sell them.

They will also be selling seedless lychees in a year or so.

Again, you will have to accept the possibility that lychee will simply not fruit for you.

S
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sternus1
Australia
1st February 2015 7:14pm
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Original Post was last edited: 1st February 2015 7:10pm
Waterfall says...
Yes I have heard they can be a tricky plant to get fruit out of.

Kwai mai pink is the same as B3 which is what they have at Canley Vale. A quick search on here and there is a guy with a fruiting B3 here in Sydney, another 9km further inland than I am too, I'm about 7km from the coast and 200m above sea level here.

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Waterfall
Waterfall
1st February 2015 7:41pm
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Slicko says...
Seedless lychees???
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Slicko
Carindale
1st February 2015 7:46pm
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sternus1 says...
Yes, seedless lychees.

I don't know who their supplier is, but whoever that person is, s/he is a hero.

A hero.
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sternus1
Australia
1st February 2015 7:48pm
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sternus1 says...
Yes, seedless lychees.

I don't know who their supplier is, but whoever that person is, s/he is a hero.

A hero.
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sternus1
Australia
1st February 2015 7:48pm
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Thithi says...
Sternus, how sure are you that daleys will sell seedless lychees in a year?
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Thithi
MELBOURNE,3000,VIC
1st February 2015 8:07pm
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sternus1 says...
A year or so. Maybe two.

Yes, I am sure.
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sternus1
Australia
1st February 2015 8:15pm
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Original Post was last edited: 1st February 2015 8:15pm
Carl76 says...
What would be the closest I can plant a rollinia and a canistel to my house, plan on pruning both to 3m ?
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Carl76
Wilston 4051
9th February 2015 10:11pm
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Waterfall says...
A little update, the tropical zone has not had much work done on it mostly due to it being too hot but now its cooling down I have started again with the aim of having everything in the ground toward the end of winter.

I have given up a little of the space to build a small greenhouse which I should have completed by this weekend. It is 1m deep by 2m wide and 2.6m tall at the highest point. A lot of work has gone into insulating it and making it 100% air tight however the entire roof is attached to an autovent actuating arm if we do get a hot winters day.

It will only be used for winter, I will put the soursop seedling in there and maybe a couple of the smaller tropical seedlings which are in pots (Mex Garcinia, Achacha, Jackfruit and Rollinia).

The Salathiel lychee I purchased has been growing very well so far with lots of new growth, the B3 has done nothing yet but still looks healthy.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
16th April 2015 11:05am
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Waterfall says...
I got it all sealed up on the weekend and the autovent showed up today too. I've attached a little graph of what the temps are doing overnight without any heating. It's warmer in there but not by much.

The plan is to put down a thick layer of foam and then place a large low profile water tank on top of the foam, possibly a big under bed storage container or similar. The water tank will have an aquarium heater in it and the plants will sit on top of this water tank. The heater should only kick in once any heat the sun has provided the water has been lost.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
20th April 2015 6:08pm
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Markmelb says...
They need your lean to in Launceston - was Minus 3 last night 5.9c in my area - the jackfruit looks good but the sapodillas new leaves are going bronzy from the cold I think - better get the heat lead set up and bubble wrap - that my idea to help these plants survive. If this keeps the temps around 8c they will survive ok.
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Markmelb
MT WAVERLEY,3149,VIC
20th April 2015 7:43pm
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Waterfall says...
I'm impressed you are able to grow some of the things you do down in Melbourne. A microclimate does make a huge difference, the other day I had one temp sensor up on our back deck and the other down behind my poly wind barrier and the temp difference was 10 degrees, neither sensor was in the sun.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
20th April 2015 8:17pm
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Waterfall says...
The greenhouse is finished and I started work on a trellis for my dragonfruit today.

I have put a 80L tank of water in the base with an aquarium heater in it currently set to 30 degrees. This is covered with black plastic to absorb more heat during the day and prevent UV damage to the plastic water tank. The lid of the tank was not strong enough to support the weight of the plants so I had to construct a small shelf for the plants to sit on.

All I need to do now is make a vent low down to draw air in low during the day which then helps the hot air escape through the roof which has an autovent attached. Up until now I have just been opening the window a little when I go to work in the morning and shutting it when I get home, but I need to automate that too.

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Waterfall
Waterfall
29th April 2015 6:48pm
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Markmelb says...
Waterfall - do you have some info or a link of your temp sensor device? Are they hooked into some software or an app? I ran my brewing vessel strap heater (25watts) last night that got down to 6c last night placed around base of sapodilla with a bubble wrap enclosure close around sides and top and the temp stayed around 12.2c as another reference the car roof won with 3.3c so wasnt far from a frost - think tomorrow morning will be a frost with expected top Friday of 21c.I also think you may need a pump in waterbank or you will have a localised hot spot at the back?
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Markmelb
MT WAVERLEY,3149,VIC
30th April 2015 8:39am
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Original Post was last edited: 30th April 2015 8:38am
Waterfall says...
Hi Mark, they are called "RC-4 Temperature Data Logger" and you should be able to find them on ebay. They come with software and you can select how often they log the temp and a few other things plus it gives you instant graphs and lets you export the data to excel. I bought them a few years ago so there may be something better out there now.

There would have been a hot spot when I first filled the tank with cold water but I'm sure the water temps will naturally equilibriate once the desired temperature has been reached.

I'm not sure if this method of heating will work yet, early indications show around 3 degrees increase in temp during the coldest part of the night/morning.
I am not willing to use a lot of electricity to grow these plants so this method will have to do, at some point it becomes an expensive hobby and you may as well just buy the fruit from the markets, I already have too many expensive hobbies.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
30th April 2015 8:48am
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Markmelb says...
Thanks for the info - will check these out - running 2 brewing devices last night didnt impact at all on my house useage when I checked my account online - (smart meters) also sunny today so my solar panels will make up for it - Running my small 2kw Turbo oven last nite for 30mins did show a use impact on the graph.
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Markmelb
MT WAVERLEY,3149,VIC
30th April 2015 9:39am
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JohnMc1 says...
My wireless weather station will log everything and at any increment from 1 minute or more, I find logging every half hour is suffice. The data stored in the inside display unit can be downloaded via USB to a PC and can be used in software supplied. The solar charging battery operated outside detectors would be about 60 to 70 metres from the main inside unit and hasn't missed a beat in 2 years. A wireless weather station is highly recommended for those serious weather watchers.
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JohnMc1
Warnervale NSW
30th April 2015 5:57pm
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Markmelb says...
John - do you have anything to measure the Temp differences insde and outside your Poly houses at night both Summer and Winter. When I had a glasshouse in the 80s I just used a max/Min themometer and logged those for a couple seasons - I found out running the 2kw heater was very expensive even in the 80s so dedided to run it as a cold glasshouse with about 20 5 gallon drums full of water and painted blackand that worked well for a couple years till they rusted out and I left that residence.
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Markmelb
MT WAVERLEY,3149,VIC
30th April 2015 6:11pm
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Waterfall says...
Here is my temp log for the last 24hrs, 4pm to 4pm. It was a cloudy day with some showers today, usually on a clear sunny day the temps will hit 32 degrees inside.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
30th April 2015 7:11pm
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Thithi says...
Hi waterfall, how are your trees in green house? just out of curiosity, what are the trees that you put in the green house, because I could not identify any of them ? I have soursop, star apple, wax Jambu in pots outside but under a carport roof. They are ok atm but not sure how they'd fare in winter.
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Thithi
MELBOURNE,3000,VIC
9th May 2015 6:19pm
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Original Post was last edited: 9th May 2015 6:16pm
Waterfall says...
Hi Thithi,

So far they seem happy, we have been having some cold westerly winds here this week and I feel sorry for the tropicals which are left outside.

Inside the greenhouse I currently have Rollinia, Achacha, Mexican Garcinia, Soursop and Jackfruit. The only tree that will remain in there next winter is the Soursop, the others should be capable of surviving outside. I have made the greenhouse just big enough to grow the soursop to fruiting size. All the others will be planted in the microclimate I have built just outside the greenhouse.

Today I have finished removing the last of the fill in this area and this week I will be buying some soil to replace it with so I can have these trees in the ground by the end of winter.

I have also been figuring out the final plant positions for this garden bed, you can see in my sketch where I plan on positioning them. It would be great to get some feedback on these positions, if anyone can see some issues with the plant positions?
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Waterfall
Waterfall
9th May 2015 6:34pm
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Waterfall says...
I filled the garden bed today with 1 and 3/4 tonne of premium garden soil. I am planting a green manure crop which will be turned in just before the end of winter and then I'll plant the tropicals in the ground.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
13th May 2015 6:37pm
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Markmelb says...
W - your soil you put in looks really raw like what i have seen from our garden supply places.
When I moved in 12 years ago had 5 cubic mt of loam mixed with a 50/50 mix of chook manure and mulch.

In the bed I have my Lychee - Sapodilla - and mango in I took 3 or so years to develop using hay and sugar mulch no dig idea growing vegies then each year and adding compost and naked farmer ( brown coal)also 2 years of worm farm castings with the worms. I feel you should develop a bit longer to get optimum results :)
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Markmelb
MT WAVERLEY,3149,VIC
13th May 2015 8:02pm
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Waterfall says...
Yes good soil takes time and you can't just buy it by the cubic meter unfortunately.

After I dig in the green manure I will work in some home made compost and some worm castings. From there I will keep it mulched and let the worms do their thing. I don't really want to leave these trees in pots for another year.
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Waterfall
Waterfall
13th May 2015 10:36pm
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Original Post was last edited: 13th May 2015 10:35pm
Yoda on DMT says...
You don't have to go nuts and plant a green manure crop TBH. If you're keen to plant, just buy a few bales of sorghum mulch, and run it through your mulcher--then furrow it in with your compost and worm castings. It will be as good. I wouldn't worry about nitrogen fixing in your situation too much--good soil is good soil, and it doesn't really matter how you get there, so long as you do. Considering you're near the coast, if you can get a few bags of kelp, and blanch the salt out of it, you'll be laughing--possibly the single best soil additive in existence.
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Yoda on DMT
Trafalmadore
14th May 2015 7:47am
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Original Post was last edited: 14th May 2015 7:46am
Waterfall says...
We had a very cold night here last night, very cold for autumn anyway. The greenhouse performed very well considering it is only heated by a 80L water tank with an aquarium heater in it. It kept the temps at least 4 degrees warmer so inside the greenhouse remained in the double digits temperature wise.

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Waterfall
Waterfall
14th May 2015 5:54pm
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Waterfall says...
My soursop has been powering along with new growth in the greenhouse, it has developed a few branches too without any intervention from me.
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Waterfall
WATERFALL,2233,NSW
23rd May 2015 12:19pm
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Waterfall says...
The first day of winter was a cold one with temps hitting a low of 4.2 degrees but the greenhouse worked well and kept the temps above 10 degrees. In other news I found some flowers on my Rollinia seedling which is growing inside the greenhouse for now.
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Waterfall
WATERFALL,2233,NSW
4th June 2015 7:56pm
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Original Post was last edited: 4th June 2015 7:56pm
Markmelb says...
Great W - didnt get as low outside my heated grow area (about 6c) but my bubblewrap over mesh cover over my sapodilla and jackfruit maintained similar temps as you but not as hot daytime - maybe about 20 - 24c only when sun came out - how old is your Rollinia seedling? Cute flowers :)

How did you go Fay as saw temps of -2c near you in Warwick and Stanthope - why does it get so cold there? Altitude?
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Markmelb
MT WAVERLEY,3149,VIC
4th June 2015 8:13pm
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Waterfall says...
It's just a Daley's $20 seedling purchased in August last year.
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Waterfall
WATERFALL,2233,NSW
4th June 2015 8:29pm
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Waterfall says...
A little update here, I decided to do some planting in this new area I have created behind the poly windbreak. I had 8 paw paw seedlings given to me by my wife's uncle which he had grown from seed, 2 of them are in my greenhouse but the rest were outside, all of them are in reasonable size pots.
Anyway the cold and wet was killing them in the pots so I had to get them in the ground before they rotted at the roots. I lost about 4 of them but I'm not too fussed as I don't need this many paw paw trees, the rest have been planted around the yard except the 2 in the greenhouse. I was only growing this many to make sure I had some females and at least one male but as it turns out they are all bisex.

So then I decided to plant the rest of my tropicals out which were in pots but not in the greenhouse. These include a panama berry, achacha, Mexican garcinia and 2 lychees (B3 and Salathiel). The soil is a mix of what was sifted free of rocks and layered with lucerne and manure, plus all the soil from my old veggie patch and also the 2 trailor loads of soil I bought which I also mixed in lucerne and cow and sheep manure. It was then covered with a thick layer of sugarcane mulch and left for 2 months.

Digging the hole for the trees I found literally hundreds of worms. I've planted to the 2 lychees in one hole as you can see in the photo, Salathiel is on the right which is the north side.

The other thing I wanted to mention was my home made air pruning pot, I made this by heating the plastic pot with a heat gun and pushing a nail punch through it from the inside out which gave a smooth elongated hole. The panama berry was in this pot for a long time and it should have been very root bound due to its size but it was not root bound at all. The only real downside I found was these pots dry out very quickly with all the extra air holes. I'm going to buy a large one now and put my soursop in it.

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Waterfall
WATERFALL,2233,NSW
14th July 2015 7:13pm
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Original Post was last edited: 14th July 2015 7:13pm

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