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May 2003

The Daley News

I wonder how many of our readers realised that we missed out our April Newsletter. I hope there weren't too many disappointed people. With the rain returning to our orchards again, the enthusiasm has flooded us and before I knew it April had dissappeared. To make up for the gap, I have added in a few extra articles to this months newsletter. I hope you enjoy it and I hope that you have received some of this fabulous Autumn weather.

Our Special Feature for the Month

with nitrogen fixing crops and pest repellent plants

Prevention is better than cure. Always the way really isn’t it. If the seasons were always on my side and I managed stay on top of all my trees needs, pruning, weeding, watering and fertilising, I’m sure I would be considered a dreamer by may green thumb associates if I claimed I hadn’t faced a pest problem of some kind.

An integrated approach of healthy soils and healthy trees, preventative measures, including inter-planting with pest repelling and deterrent plants, good monitoring to nip the bug in the butt when they do come along and a few simple techniques to fall back on when the situation is looking dire, are essential items in your gardening tool bag. Note that the more you can do to encourage your garden / orchard to maintain balanced natural insect populations the better off you will be. By combining preventive measures with the least toxic controls, you can have a healthier orchard and still enjoy lots of good eating from your trees.

A large selection of herbs, fragrant and flowering plants can assist with pest control in your orchard and garden. The top of the list for multi use to prevent a range or pests include – Basil, Nasturtium, Chilli, Pyrethrum, Red and White Clover, Alyssum, Fennel, Feverfew, Lavender, Mustard, Dill, Caraway, Buckwheat, Cosmos, Queen Anne’s Lace, Mints, Nettles, any of the Alliums (Garlic / Onions / Chives) Wormwood, Rhubarb, Tansy, Southernwood, Rue and Hyssop. Planting such herbs throughout your orchard can have a deterrent effect for a range of problem bugs, can assist to attract bees and therefore improve pollination of your fruit trees, supply a suitable food source and can be prepared and applied as a direct insect treatment should a problem arise.

Aphids in your garden? Mix up with a 5 litres of water, some garlic, rhubarb leaves and ¼ cup of pure soap flakes. Leave to sit in a warm place for 2-4 days. Strain out the leaf matter and apply to the tree with a garden spray bottle. Apply once a day until the population of aphids significantly decreases, usually 3-4 days.

Some interesting results are emerging from studies to identify the potential uses of some of our native plants. You may have heard about the multiple uses of the Neem, particularly of its insecticidal properties. The potential for Neem is receiving much attention, but less publicised is the wealth of research on the insecticidal properties of its close relation, the white cedar.
White Cedar (Melia azeradach) is native much of Australia. It is a deciduous tree with good frost and drought resistance. It is popular as a cabinet timber and windbreak tree except in areas with or adjacent to livestock as the berries are toxic to animals. The leaf, bark, fruit and oil of the tree have shown to possess insect repellent properties with effective results displayed with mosquito larvae, grasshoppers, Rice Weevil, Angoumois Grain Moth, Tobacco Cutworm, Painted Bug, Nematodes, Epilachna beetle (28 spotted lady bug), and Cabbage worm.

As an example: Dusting infected plants with pure fruit powder of Melia which has been shade dried, or 50-100% water extract spray acts as a strong repellent against the Cabbage Worm (Piers brassicae).

This is great news for those people who have been intrigued by the properties of the Neem but are out of its favoured climatic area. If you would like any further information on this or would like some reference points for studies done on this please do not hesitate to contact me.

While synthetic fertilisers are quick to work as they often contain a single active chemical to target one particular aspect of the insects life process. This can have an immediate impact but the insect population can also be quick to mutate and build resistance to that chemical. Plant derived pesticides often contain as many as 20 different chemical constituents acting in many ways therefore reducing the possibilities of adaptation of the target insect. While botanic insecticides are promoted as ‘environmentally friendly’. Handling and application of such substances should still be done with care, caution and awareness.

Please note that while Daleys is happy to share new innovative ideas arising within the horticultural industry and present extracts from articles and current research, we cannot take any responsibility for the content of material and encourage readers to further investigate the process before experimenting with such innovations.

Nitrogen fixing plants in the orchard

One of the basic requirements for sustainable orchard management is to ensure that soil fertility is maintained. The practice of supplying nitrogen to fruit trees from biological nitrogen fixation is a sustainable means of improving soil quality and quantity. This can be achieved with pasture legumes in the understorey vegetation of orchards and / or inter-planting with crop support plants / shrubs and trees
Maku lotus (Lotus pedunculatus cv Grasslands Maku) is an excellent nitrogen fixing ground cover for subtropical orchards. It is tolerant of low light intensity and is therefore well suited to growing under canopy of various fruit trees. While it is slow to establish, it will eventually form a dense mat which aids to reduce soil erosion while supplying nitrogen to the soil.
Amarillo peanut (Arachis pintoi) is one of the most successful legume species with respect to suitability as an orchard groundcover. It is persistent, able to compete with weeds and grasses, has low light adaptation, drought and nematode tolerance, is non-climbing and amenable to mowing.
Clovers, Alyssum and Alfalfa have also proven effective in nitrogen fixation as well as permeating compacted soils, providing increased drainage and aeration
Crotelaria grahamiana – Hardy, nitrogen fixing shrub to 2m. Also useful as a plant specific wind break and to cut as mulch.
Pigeon Pea – (Cajanas cajan) Perennial nitrogen fixing shrub to 2 m. Edible seeds. Excellent animal fodder.

There's also a controversy about whether cover crops or mulch is the best ground cover beneath fruit trees. Grass and cover crops can compete with the trees for water and nutrients, so wait until your trees are well established before using these ground covers, and be sure to fertilize your trees. Also keep the grass or cover crop mowed close to the ground to deter rodents and ease removal of dropped fruit and leaves.

Attracting Frogs to your Garden

From our customer requests, the motivations for attracting frogs to the garden range from a concern for their declining population, to the calling for the wild to reach the suburban backyard, to the hope that ‘their prince might come too’ (Thanks Tanya aged 9). Whatever the reason there is no sound more enchanting in your garden than the night echo of frog calls.

Whether its ground dwelling frogs that you want to see or bright green tree frogs, a pond is not enough to have on the invitation. They need a whole habitat. A mix of moisture, shelter, hiding places, leaf litter, reeds, grasses, lilies and insect attracting plants, you may just have all the elements covered to bring them in.

The following plants are among those recommended by and available now from Daleys Nursery.

Grasses: Lomandra hystrix (Forest Mat Rush); Lomandra Longifolia (Mat Rush), Dianella caerulea (Blue Flax Lily)

Low Plants: Baekea virgata, Viola hederacea (Native Violet), Crinum pedunculatum (River Lily), Hibbertia scandens (Snake Vine)

Medium Plants: Cordyline peteolaris (Palm lily), Alpinea coerulea (Native ginger),

Large Plants / Trees: Acmena smithii (Lily Pilly), Lophostemon confertus (Brush Box), Archontophoenix cunninghamii (Bangalow Palm), Assorted Grevillias, Callistemons and Tea Trees.


Our Plants of the Month;

Our new Exotic Fruits-

Kaffir Plum - Harpephylum caffrum

Evergreen tree with glossy leaves with green fruits, ripening to red/purple.The fruits are the size and shape of a large olive and while quite tart if eaten raw, they can be made into a delicious jelly. These ornamental trees have been used as street trees as they have a strong sculptural shape. It is a native of South Africa, from the sumac family, reaching up to 10m in height.

Naranjilla - Solanum quitoense

This small orange fruit can be used to make a delicious juice considered a delicacy in South America. This small spreading herbaceous shrub (up to 2m) is very attractive with large leaves that have a purple velvet effect. The small orange fruit have a translucent yellow / green flesh with a delicious, juicy, slightly acid, pineapple / lemon cross flavour. The plant does best in a rich, organic soil will also grows well on poor, stony ground, and on scarified limestone as long as it has good drainage. It appreciates semi-shade and wind protection, but will tolerate full sun. Watering is essential in dry periods.

To enjoy the ripe fruits, simply wipe the fruits free of the small hairs and eat fresh out of the hand by cutting in half and squeezing the contents of each half into the mouth. The empty shells are discarded. The flesh, complete with seeds, may be and added to ice cream, made into a tangy sauce or even in baked desserts. The juice is very popular in parts of Chile and Ecuador.

From our Bush Foods Section -

Native Finger Lime - Microcitrus australasica

The sought after native bush food has a long narrow fruit with thin skin, ranging in colour from green, yellow or purple. The fruit contains a sweet acid juice similar to that of a lemon. It is popular for a tangy addition to chutneys, jams, marmalades, savoury sauces and refreshing drinks. It adds a fabulous zing and an interesting texture to salads when added to the salad dressing. In great demand for culinary use. Juice vesicles are compressed and burst out (staying in one piece) when the skin of the fruit is cut, enabling them to be used in many creative ways. A great accompaniment to our Native Atherton Raseberry as a dessert sauce.

This delicate rainforest tree, native to Northern NSW and southern Qld, makes an unusual feature in your bushfood garden. Its sweet scented orange/pink flowers help to beautify the prickly shrub. While slow growing it can reach up to 5-6m over time.

The trees listed above and many more are available at Daleys Nursery. See our website at and go straight to the shopping trolley to order these plants or call in and see Emma at the Nursery for more information.

Pecan Season is here again.
Here is another experiment that worked!!

Pecan Nut Roast with Tamarillo Salsa Sauce

1 cup of shelled pecan nuts, need not be perfect halves
3 cups of chopped mushrooms
1 cup of finely diced onion
1 tbs of butter
2 tsp of olive oil
1 cup of bread crumbs or cooked brown rice
1 spring of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 leaves of fresh sage finely chopped
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp of black pepper
2 tsp of cooking red wine or sherry

Pre heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Place pecans on a flat tray and toast until fragrant. Sauté onions in olive oil until transparent. Remove from pan. Melt butter in pan and sauté mushrooms until soft. Mix mushrooms into onion mixture. Finely chop pecans, either using a knife or a food processor. Add pecans and the rest of the ingredients less 2 tbs of bread crumbs.
Grease a loaf tin with butter. Place all of mixture into the tin, pressing down firmly as you go. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for 30 minutes, checking to ensure that the top is browning lightly.

Sauce Ingredients :
5 tamarillos
1 Red capsicum diced finely
1 fresh corn cob
1 fresh small green chilli
1 tbs water
1 tbs of tomato paste
½ tsp sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
3 fresh native finger limes

Halve the tamarillos and scoop flesh from skin. Discard skin. Remove kernels from corn cob, but running a knife down the side of the cob. Chop the chilli finely. Place the first five ingredients in a food processor and blend till finely chopped and well mixed. Does not need to be puree. Place the mix and the remaining ingredients, excluding the finger limes, into a small saucepan and simmer while stirring for 5 minutes. Cut the finger limes length ways and scoop out the cells. Just prior to serving, stir the lime into the salsa, for a fabulous tang. Spoon the salsa over the nut roast on serving.

Served with some steamed vegetables, the fragrant hearty flavour and its rich texture, this recipe will satisfy even the most committed carnivors.

Success stories with Fruit Wines

Looking for something to do with all your excess fruit?? Thought you might try your hand at Kiwifruit wine? Pomegranate maybe? Almond, Passionfruit or even Medlar. One of our adventurous customers recently brought us a bottle of Yellow Mangosteen Wine, another of Burdekin Plum Wine and the other, well if only I hadn't drunk that one last I might have remembered what it was! Endless opportunities but be careful, it’s addictive! That’s making it, as well as drinking it. Have a sticky beak into the lives of two friends who turned their excess into a hobby into a thriving small business.

Aussie fruit wine making venture, "ParWill Swillery” is based in Knowsley near Lake Eppalock, Victoria. Their sweet dessert style wines made from plums, apricots, and feijoas" have recently been awarded two bronze and one silver medal at the Tasmanian Fruit Wine Show. Co-founder Jeff Williams said “This has been a real confirmation for us. It is very rewarding to have our wine quality recognised by the judges who know their wines made from fruit other than grapes.”

“ParWill Swill began under a plum tree at the end of a very good New Year's Eve party to celebrate the coming of 1997. My friend Michael Parry and I had been drinking home brew beer and gazing up at the plums, and decided to have a go at wine making.
Two days later Michael arrived with two shopping bags full of plums, a garbage bin, and a recipe book, and by the end of the night our first batch of fruit wine was underway. We tasted it two weeks later and could not believe how good and smooth it was. By the end of that summer we had made another two batches using different varieties of plums and trying to achieve different styles of wine.
Before long word had got out about our new hobby, and we had our first customer. With many weird and wonderful experimental wine batches, many failures and some successes, we discovered the potential of these sweet dessert style wines, and for the first time we thought about the possibility of turning our hobby into a small business.
During the next summer we expanded our operations, converting an old shed into a "winery" to cope with the growing number of 200 litre kegs full of wine. I soon realised that there was a lot to be gained from the Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE and enrolled in the course in Food processing/Wine making.
Since that time our fledgling business has continued to expand and we have recently celebrated the opening of our new "Swillery" which has the capacity to produce 20,000 litres of fruit wine each year. This is a truly mind-boggling step when you consider that it is only a little over five years since our first 20 litre experimental batch of wine. We couldn't have had a much more humble beginning. We hope that you may have the opportunity to enjoy our wines as much as we do as we head towards what promises to be a very bright future...” – Jeff Williams

The ParWill Swillery holds an Internet liquor licence, enabling them to distribute their wines by mail order. Simply send an e-mail to and you can have a box of nine bottles delivered to your door.

Click on the following webpage for some fabulous recipes for every wine imaginable

Next Issue

Gardening in Sandy Soils
How to care for your Citrus

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