About Me

My Photo
I have a little garden in Rozelle about 5km from the centre of Sydney. I love to grow as much organic food as I can in a tiny space. The garden calms and excites me, and is a wonderful little green space in a big city. This blog is a record plotting the changes over seasons and years.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Welcome bees!

A few months ago I planted some lovely broccoli plants. I looked after them well, feeding them and checking for bugs. I noticed their lovely little florets emerge. And then I got distracted. In what seemed like a day, they had all gone to flower. I had a decision to make. Either chop the flowering heads off and let the side shoots emerge, or just let them go! I did the latter. I decided to let them flower their little hearts out. Why? For the bees.

The macadamia tree is starting to flower and it always benefits from extra bees, and the back garden is lacking bee attracting plants at the moment, so it was good timing. Do I think this is a waste of a good broccoli plant? No, not at all! Just a different use.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Macadamia love

I planted macadamia tree about 7 years ago. This was when I was establishing my new garden close to the centre of Sydney. Some of the trees I planted were dismal failures, but the macadamia has been beautiful, well behaved and pest and disease free. This year, for the first time, it has rewarded us with nuts!

The variety I chose is H816. It is a commercial variety established in Hawaii (hence the 'H' in the name). It is an upright tree which is perfect for our tiny garden. We have only pruned it a couple of times, lopping off the top and tidying a little bit. Apart from that, it needs little input apart from some chicken manure and compost a few times a year. I treat it much like my citrus and feed it smaller amounts regularly (stopping only in winter).
The tiny tree that I planted in 2008

The tree now

And the best part....the nuts!

  • There are 2 species - smooth shelled (M.integrifolia) and rough shelled (M. tetraphylla) with many grafted hybrid forms 
  • Maccas are native to Australia and were commercially a big thing in Hawaii during the 1900s, hence why some of the varieties are Hawaiian
  • They like to grow in rainforests close to streams. For this reason they like to be well watered, are happy under some other bigger trees and like life without frost
  • They do best in deep, rich soils with pH of 5.5 to 6.5, and a fairly sunny position
  • Harvesting is easy, as mature nuts fall to the ground. Just pick them up, husk them and let them dry out for a few weeks
  • Daleys have a good list of macadamia varieties including how tall they grow 
  • I strongly recommend researching the type to buy as they can range from a manageable upright tree only a few metres tall, to a tree that is 12 metres tall and almost as wide