Never miss a thing in the Macedon Ranges
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Horticulturalist Duncan Cocking runs Leaf, Root & Fruit. Based in Kyneton, he provides gardening services and workshops to support food production in front yards and backyards across Melbourne and central Victoria.
Last year, I lost a lot of my summer raspberry crop as I didn’t play close enough attention to the soil moisture in November. I’m taking no chances this year. A fortnight ago I activated the automated irrigation for the whole berry patch.
To test soil moisture, use the finger test method. Move the mulch to one side and poke your finger into the soil. Does the soil feel cool? Is there soil stuck to your finger? If so, then the soil is probably moist enough. If it is dry, then you may need to increase your watering.
November is a critical time for deciduous fruit trees such as apples, pears and stone fruit. Did you know that the trees are currently determining the outcomes of buds for next year? Right now, the amount of water you give the tree, and its state of health, will determine which buds will turn into flowers (and therefore fruit), and which buds will turn into leaves, when the tree wakes from its dormancy in spring 2024.
For the next six weeks, you should give your established fruit trees a good, deep soaking fortnightly (weekly for newly planted trees). Don’t bother with light, regular watering. That doesn’t encourage a good root system or help as much as a deep watering.
🍎 For more gardening tips see my latest planting guide and garden update.
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