Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 16-12-2014 Contents Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 14
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Cool summer nights ideal for super fruit
Blueberries begin to fruit in their third year in well-drained soil.
In the garden
Blueberries are not only among the
most nutritious of summer fruits, they
have recently been listed as a super
food, but they can be harvested over
six to eight weeks and will last several
more in the fridge and many months in
Although the shrubs are deciduous,
their autumn foliage is handsome
enough to include in a sunny border
where they can enjoy the same
growing conditions as Sasanqua
Blueberries need a climate with cool
winters and the best-flavoured crops
are produced where summer nights are
also cool but days are sunny and warm.
The so-called highbush American
cultivars such as Bluecrop, and Earli-
Blue together with Australian-bred
varieties such as Denise, Blue Rose
and Sunshine Blue have made their
mark as productive crops.
While most are self-fertile, two or
three different varieties will improve
the fruit set as well as extend the
cropping season. The plants begin to
fruit in the third year after which
berries will form on vigorous wood of
the previous year s growth.
Well-drained acid (lime-free) soils
with a pH of 4.5-5.0, together with a
high content of organic matter are a
cultural must. Like Sasanqua
camellias, blueberries are shallow-
rooted plants that will also require a
consistent amount of soil moisture.
Suppress weeds with organic
mulches kept clear of the main stem
and water by trickle irrigation rather
than overhead to help prevent any
inadvertent splitting of the berries.
Slow release fertiliser at planting
time and then yearly thereafter will
take care of long-term needs together
with 50-100 grams of sulphate of
ammonia per plant in spring and
summer to provide the additional
nitrogen required for cropping.
A well-maintained mature shrub
should carry at least five kilograms of
fruit, which will require netting from
the birds from the green stage
Bend the green tops on
maturing onion crops allowing
them to dry off before lifting.
Plant leeks for winter harvest.
Feed cucumbers weekly once
the first flowers have formed.
Pinch out the growing tips
of dahlias and garden
encourage the production of
side shoots and double the
number of flowers.
Summer prune apples and
pears by removing long thin
fruitless shoots back to
mature branches. Not only will
this help avoid a heavy winter
prune but is also a way to
reduce any tendency to
biennial bearing. Heavily
loaded pome fruit trees, small
enough to reach without a
ladder, could benefit from
some judicious thinning of
clusters where there are
perhaps four fruit, twist away
two of them leaving the others
to grow larger.
If you would like to dry
herbs for culinary use, pick
stems before they begin to
flower. Hang in bunches in a
warm dry cupboard indoors or
a dim but airy place under a
carport or in a garden shed.
Crumble the leaves on to a
sheet of paper when crisp to
the touch, before putting into
screw-top jars with named and
Buy a tree for
a good cause
Buying a Christmas tree could be a
chance to give back to our furry
The RSPCA ACT will sell
Christmas trees at its shelter in
Weston Creek until Christmas Eve.
Staff and volunteers at the shelter
-- at 12 Kirkpatrick Street, Weston --
are available to help load your tree
into your car and to help you select
the correct stand.
All profits go directly towards
caring for animals in RSPCA shelters
during the holiday season.
Christmas trees start from $60 and
accessories from $55.
For details, call 6287 8100 or visit
FESTIVAL RAISES FUNDS
FOR VULNERABLE YOUTH
The generous spirit of Christmas
shined though at the annual C3
Church in Monash s Love Christmas
Love Canberra festival.
The festivities raised money for
Our Place, a youth education and
housing program providing
vulnerable young Canberrans with
safe and secure accommodation.
Love Christmas Love Canberra, held
on November 30, raised $4500 to
donate to Our Place, run by
Anglicare and Barnardos. C3 Church
in Monash also donated 21 hampers
to residents worth more than $1000.
Our Place has about 25 residents
and since 2011 has assisted more
than 80 young people through a
program providing greater
independence and stability.
ACTION will operate a revised holiday timetable
Monday 22 December -- Friday 9 January.
Visit the ACTION website or Transit for Google Maps to plan your journey.
Timetables available from ACTION website and bus stations*.
travel on Christm
* Subject to availability
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