At the time of writing this post, the 4 feijoa trees in our back lawn are laden with a bumper crop of fruit. As children growing up on the farm, we literally ate bucket loads of feijoas as almost everyone had trees in their garden. Often you couldn’t give them away as there was an over supply therefore much of the fruit rotted where it fell.
To a certain extent that still seems to be the case today which surprises me because we as a family love them and devour them as quickly as they fall off the trees.
Without wanting to boast, some of the feijoas I’ve picked in the last couple of days are some of the biggest I’ve seen, around 6cm in width and 9cm in length. The trees were planted about 8 years ago but only now are they flourishing.
Feijoas are very easy to grow and look after. They don’t seem to be affected by pests or diseases, so they can be a wise choice for any garden. A good feed of citrus manure in early spring followed by regular watering during the flowering and fruiting stage is all that’s required. To achieve the best results, plant several different varieties so they can cross pollinate. In New Zealand the main pollinators of feijoas are blackbirds and mynas.
In previous years pukekos have plundered our trees but this year that hasn’t been such an issue as there are fewer of these cheeky birds about. I know I’m tempting fate by just saying this …
The feijoa is a native of south America and originated from the mountainous areas of southern Brazil, northern Argentina, Columbia and Uruguay. It is also known as the Pineapple Guava or Guavasteen and is named after Joao da Silva Feijo, a Brazilian botanist. The feijoa was introduced into New Zealand in the 1920s. There are many varieties available.
New Zealand’s temperate climate with hot summers, mild winters and fertile soil provides the feijoa with optimal growing conditions. Trees should be planted in an area where they can enjoy full sun and a free draining soil. Pruning is not necessary however I usually give our trees an overall trim after harvesting to increase the next yield and to allow easier access to the fruit. Like all the trees on our block I prune off all the lower branches to lessen the risk of disease plus this allows me to get in close with the ride on mower.
If you don’t have feijoas in your garden June through to August is a good time to plant some. You will be well rewarded for your effort.
Unemployment is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden. Orson Scott Card