Autumn is a busy time no matter where you garden, but if you have fruit trees you can count on being extra busy. Here are just a few of the trees (all available from Designer Trees) that might drop fruit in autumn.
- Olive Trees, Olea Europaea. By autumn, olive trees have both green and black fruit. It is a good idea to keep the olive fruits picked, and any fallen ones cleaned up from under the trees if you are growing them in Australia. Olive trees have adapted so well, that in some areas they are considered weeds. You can do your part by collecting the fruit before the birds in order to slow unplanned spread of these prolific trees.
If you plan to process your olives for eating, (olives straight from the tree are not good to eat) then autumn and early winter is a good time to put the fruits to soak in a brine bath. Pick as soon as they are plump if you want green olives. Wait a little longer to allow them to turn black if you prefer them a little riper.
- Mangos, Mangifera indica. Mangos are a tropical or subtropical, preferring locations with moist, warm summers and slightly cooler but frost-free winters. If you have a mango tree in your yard, the chances are that you have been enjoying its delicious fruit all summer. Autumn is a good time to clean up the last fallen fruits, and to clear debris. Mango trees do not usually require pruning, but if there are any dead branches, now is a good time to remove them.
Autumn is also a good time to plant young mango trees. Kensington Pride mangos can be grown from seed, but most of the types are best grafted onto a reliable root stock.
If you have a bumper crop of this delicious fruit, it can be preserved in a light syrup, or frozen so that you can enjoy it in smoothies or on your morning pancakes all winter long.
- Native Australian Fingerlimes, citrus australasica. Harvesting fingerlimes is usually complete by the end of March. April and May are good times to look over your fingerlime bushes, trimming away deadwood, and examining them for pests. They usually like to grow in protected places, so this is also a good time to assess their location and to see if they need any extra weather protection.
Adverse conditions that can be developed on your finger lime plants include European brown rot, melanose, scale, aphids and thrips. They are not susceptible to the common fruit fly, but can get gall wasps.
If you have a large crop of finger limes, they will keep for about a month in the refrigerator. Caught early enough, they can be frozen. The frozen fruit won’t have quite the flavor of the fresh ones, but can still be used in soups or stews, where the flavor is more important than texture.
Autumn can be a time to start new finger lime bushes. Look for a protected place that will get full sun for about six hours a day. They are naturally an understory plant, but will fruit best with adequate amounts of full sun.
Australian Gardens in Autumn
As with gardens everywhere, autumn is a busy time. There is the picking and preserving, the pruning and protecting, the planting and planning for next year.