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Hi Gardeners,

Welcome to Spring. The days certainly have been beautiful, and I can think of no better place to hang out but in the garden.

Did you hear a legend said, that if you send the specific birth stone and birth flowers to girls in their birth month, you can go along with this girl forever? It is hard to believe, right! However, many people tried and told me it really works. September’s Stone is the Sapphire, and the flower is the Aster. The meaning of the Aster is daintiness, and elegance.



The mango (Mangifera indica) is native to Asia from northern India through to the Malay Peninsula. Mangoes can be eaten fresh, juiced or made into chutneys. The most popular variety is the Bowen/Kensington with its bright orange-yellow skin and a reddish-pink blush. Mangoes prefer a sub-tropical climate, so are ideally suited to Queensland. They will grow in a wide range of soil types; however drainage is important. They don’t like frosts and must have dry weather during the flowering and the early stages of fruit development. In coastal areas Spring rains limit fruit production.

Spring is the best time for planting. Add organic matter to the soil and water trees frequently until they are established. To avoid competition for water and nutrients, keep an area at least 2 metres in diameter clear of grass around the trunk.

During the first three (3) years, apply your ‘fruit tree fertiliser’ in October, December, February and April. Then no fertilizing after August.

Mango trees grow in flushes during the warmer months of the year, and between these flushes is the best time to prune young trees. Train the trees so as to produce a strong low spreading framework of four or five main limbs. Fruiting mango trees may be pruned immediately after harvest, although little pruning is necessary after establishment.

To determine when the fruit is ready for picking, cut a mango and inspect the colour of the flesh near the seed. If it is yellow, the mangoes will be ripe in five or six days and can be harvested immediately. They should be clipped from the tree.

One of the diseases to effect fruit production is Anthracnose. The best way to prevent this happening is when the flowers appear, spray one week with ‘mancozeb’ and one week with ‘copper’ spray, three (3) times each over six (6) weeks.

Delicious mangoes will be in nurseries around October/November.


Papaws arrived here in Queensland over 100 years ago, probably from Central America. Known by various names, Papaw, Pawpaw, Papaya and Pepita, they produce deliciously tasty fruit which can be used in fruit salads and making chutney.

Papaws enjoy our sub-tropical and tropical weather with high temperatures, humidity and reliable rainfall. Not liking the cold weather which damages the leaves and mature trees may be killed with exposure to frosts over several days. They don’t like cold winds as this makes them slow growing and poor to fruit.

There are here (3) different types of papaws – male, female and bi-sexual. The flowers of the male trees are produced in large numbers on profusely branched stalks from 50 to 120cms long. The flowers of the female papaw are produced in the leaf axils on single or branched stalks approximately 3cms long. Bi-sexual trees produce both male and female flowers on the one tree. First the male flowers will appear, followed a short time later by the female.

When planting, if the sex is unknown, it is best to plant in groups of three and later thin out the male trees. Usually there is one male pollinator for every nine females.

Papaws do not like acidic soil so before planting check the pH of the soil. If it requires sweetening, lime or dolomite will bring the pH to a good level of 6.0 to 6.5. Prior to planting dig through some ‘blood and bone’ to a depth of 15cms. Then a dressing of ‘sulphate of ammonia’ every two months at a rate of 85 grams per tree. This will stop a nitrogen deficiency which reduces the size and number of leaves which will also be pale yellow in colour.

One of the main deficiencies is ‘boron’ happening when we have heavy rain or drought conditions causing the leaves to turn yellow from the growing point with a downward curling of the tips. The leaves will be brittle in texture and claw-like. The flowers will also drop, particularly in the male plants. The fruit will ripen unevenly, and the sugar level will be low. Boron should be applied to the plants in January when the tree is about 10 months old. When the plants are well established apply 10 grams of boron per plant.

Extra watering during July to October helps the flowering and fruiting, increasing yields in the following April to June. The timing of the watering is important as it reduces fruit wastage and results in better flavour and appearance of the fruit.

A freshly picked papaw is nice to eat especially with minimal pests and diseases affecting them. Why not grow a couple in your backyard! Also, if you enjoy a cup of tea, once drunk, place the tea leaves around the Papaw – they too enjoy a cuppa!

Happy Gardening

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My name is Andrew Powell and I have had the honour of serving the wonderful people of the Glass House electorate since 2009. In its current form, the electorate includes Beerburrum and parts of Elimba

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