Delicious Produce Trees & vines for homegrown abundance

January’s topic: Eat your heart out healthily
Theme: Delicious produce-producing trees and vines 
Industry expert: Charles Oosthuizen
Grower: Tuberflora Nursery based in Muldersdrift, Gauteng: https://www.tuberflora.co.za/  

Life is a Garden met with expert grower, Tuberflora, to find out about the latest edible hybrids and delicious fruit tree varieties available this summer at your GCA Garden Centre. With serious water restrictions experienced across the country recently, are you equally mulch-serious yet? Come get some professional growing advice and choose the perfect produce-producing tree for gardens and patios of all sizes. 

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1. Your website lists such a juicy, crunchy, and zesty variety of produce-producing trees. Please give us your top 5 summer must-have fruit trees that our gardeners can look out for at their GCA Garden Centre this season. 

  • Pomegranates (King of fruits)
  • Figs (Queen of fruits)
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Citrus
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

2. We love your selection of the more uncommon nut, berry, and fruit tree/plant varieties. For our gardeners looking to grow something special, which trees/plants would you recommend and are there any growing tips to be aware of? 

We are introducing wine grape varieties this year, and although they are small and seeded, they are edible. Grapes are water-wise and thrive in hot, dry weather conditions.

We also sell special heirloom varieties of figs and pomegranates. In fact, Giving Trees grow the biggest selection of figs and pomegranates in the country and their aim is to preserve the huge gene pool of varieties for future generations. Figs and pomegranates are special spiritual plants as they bring good energy to your garden. Figs and pomegranates are tolerant of hot, dry weather conditions as well once they are established. Persimmons are tough, easy to grow and very rewarding.

fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

3. We recently experienced water restrictions across the country. Are there any water-wise growing/watering methods and practices you could recommend that allow consumers to sustainably grow food?

 

  • MULCH, MULCH, MULCH - why are South Africans so hesitant about this practice? We see this in so many gardens - baren, hard-baked soil raked neatly clean on a weekly basis. This is not the way forward in terms of sustainable watering practices at all. 
  • Drip irrigation is the future as it is cost-effective, low maintenance and saves a lot of water.
  • Water only in the late afternoon or early in the morning.
  • Water very well only once or twice a week instead of a little bit every day.
  • Add water-retaining gel to your pots and containers.
  • The more compost and other organic material in and on top of the soil the more water retention the soil will have.
  • Plant windbreaks around your property as wind can dry out an exposed garden very quickly.
  • Stop cutting down trees everywhere (no matter if they are exotic or not). Trees help to cool down the environment and increase air humidity.
  • Combine plants with the same watering needs together (hydro zoning).
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

4. For our gardeners that are limited to small spaces, which produce producing trees would you recommend for containers (not only for this season)?

Regular pruning, watering, and feeding is a must when you grow anything in containers.

Remember plants in containers are dependent on you for all their needs. They are almost like having pets as they can’t go and look for their own water and nutrients in the surrounding soil. The following plants however will do reasonably well:

  • Cactus pear
  • Olives
  • All citrus varieties
  • Pomegranates
  • Figs
  • Pears and apples
  • Persimmon
  • Berries
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

5. For our large space gardeners, which large harvest trees would you recommend (not only for this season)?

In tropical areas mangoes, avocados and macadamia nuts make wonderful shade trees. They look attractive with their evergreen leaves and will reward you with a harvest as well. Pecan nuts and olives will do well in the cooler areas of the country.

fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

6. What are some of the most common mistakes you have seen with unsuccessful edible tree/plant growing? What are some of the signs to look out for and how can gardeners address these problems with their plants? 

One of the biggest mistakes is trying to plant certain varieties of fruit in areas where they do not belong, for example stone fruit (peaches, plums etc) will not like growing in Durban and mangoes will not do well in Bloemfontein. Many deciduous types of fruit trees need a certain quantity of chilling hours (cold units during winter) to produce good harvests.

Not reading the label properly, which contains important information like pollination

requirements is another common error. The labels have all the information you need summed up, so remember to read these at your garden centre before purchasing the plant. In addition, all fruit-producing and other edible plants have their own specific pests and diseases that you will need to be aware of and manage. Remember that they need feeding, watering, and pruning for best results.

 

7. Are there any other handy hacks and maintenance practices you could share with our gardeners in terms of growing produce and pest control? 

  • Keep your plants well-watered and fed so that they have better resistance against pests and diseases.
  • Preventative measures are far better than trying to fix the problem once it has started. Regular preventative spraying is highly recommended.
  • Walk through your garden daily so that you can stay on top of things and take immediate action.
  • Correct pruning and fruit thinning can also improve crops.
  • Fruit fly and codling moth are the biggest problems country-wide and affect almost all fruiting crops. Bait stations and some preventative spraying is a must, especially in areas with high concentrations of fruit trees (like in suburban areas).
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

8. Are there any new edible hybrids and varieties that gardeners should look out for at their GCA Garden Centre?

  • Galangal (the most potent member of the ginger family)
  • Fever tree (Lippia javanica) also called “Zumbani tea”
  • Wild ginger bush (Tetradenia riparia)
  • Kiwi fruit (Hayward the female and Tomuri the male)
  • Wine grape varieties
  • Pomegranate “Parfianka” which is one of the best tasting varieties available
  • Fig “Petite Negra” is a dwarf-growing black skinned fig with reddish-pink flesh
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

With such an incredible selection of produce-producing trees this summer, you can eat your heart out healthily AND increase the biodiversity in your area AND save on money AND have a surplus to share with those in need AND reduce your agricultural footprint AND – the benefits go on! Your GCA Garden Centre awaits!

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