Visiting Nguon & Han Kov

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I’d like to welcome you all to my place today and probably the best idea would be for you to ask me questions.

Banana:   I grow the Ducasse and another variety but have trouble with the banana beetle borer. 

David Holdom:  As far as I know, chemical control is difficult and there is no effective biological control either.  I understand that control is via management of the plants by replacing them regularly and destroying infected material was the most practical way. 

John Ambrose: My understanding of it is that there are some chemicals that can be used but you just have to live with it but you can’t wipe them out with any pesticide I was told. 

Nguon: The DPI recommended a chemical which would last for 2 years but it didn’t work.

Cambodian Mango I have one which tastes very creamy but I’ve never had a crop as it flowers very early (there were flowers on several of his trees) If I ever get a crop on, they always drop. The trees are 6 years old.

George: A lot of mangoes flower too early down here in SE Qld especially if its been wet and if you’ve been adding nitrogen (the chook yard was housed under the mangoes) so don’t water in the winter and don’t fertilise and in the spring when they start to flower in the cold period, just break the flower off and 6 weeks later it will reflower. With early flowers when they set, what happens is if it is a cold night, the little embryo in the seed dies and the fruit gets to a certain size and drops off. You could also prune them and keep them small and do this straight after they finish fruiting in summer. It’s a classic problem for us: we’re just not quite in the right climate zone. Bowen is perfect: dry/coolish winters but we can get a bit of rain in the winter.

Custard Apples – Bob Cosgrove: When I was a kid the best place to grow this fruit was in the chook yard! I’ve seen a Pinks Mammoth that weighed 13lb.!!!

Guava   This is the main crop on my property and I sell it to Sydney. I grow the white fleshed one which I bought as a fruit and propagated the seeds because it was a really nice fruit.

Sheryl: How much do you get for them? 

Nguon:  Between $3.00 – $4.50 kg.  I bag all the fruit so it makes the fruit look nicer and it also helps against fruit fly but not 100%. I still have to spray. Sheryl When does the crop ripen?  Nguon  All year round but the main crop is winter. I have to thin. Fertilise with Q5 to start in spring – about 3 handfuls per mature tree then I put on CK88 or CK66 when the fruit is about an inch. They like plenty of water and fertiliser.

Jackfruit   I sell my Jackfruit for $4.00 kilo. Mine fruit all year round. I pick them when they get a little soft to feel and it has a very strong smell. Fruit bats don’t touch them. All my trees are seedlings from the one fruit and they’re not all the same. I have both soft and hard and one that is crunchy. Cut back any inward growing branches and just leave 1 fruit per stem.

Jujube   I have about 6 trees and all have thorns. Mine flower and fruit all year round but the heavy crop comes in June (winter). If I don’t spray for fruit fly, I don’t get a crop. We spray the whole tree with Lebayacid but it’s 2 weeks before we can pick although winter is free of the pest. Rogor only has a 2 day withholding period.

Longans  I have the Thailand variety but the bats get the whole lot although we got a good crop last year because I netted.

Neem    In Darwin they’ve been using it as a boundary hedge to stop termites.

Michael: The neem is used overseas as an insecticide but there is always something that will eat it. In India there is a beetle which feeds voraciously on it and they seem to survive very well! It is not registered for use here as an insecticide.

Karin: In Kenya they make a powder out of it and it’s the cure for 40 diseases!

Nguon: I also grow Persimmons/Soursops/a couple of different types of edible Bamboo (one is large and you boil the shoot then throw the water away and the other is a thin small leaf Taiwanese type which is sweeter than the other and you can keep the water with this one/and I have a  leaf of a Bamboo that you can use to put around sticky rice or flavouring cake/and the root of the Prolah (Cambodian word) which is crushed and mixed with white wine and used as a medicine.

Sheryl: I asked a friend who spends time in Cambodia every year and she looked up her Cambodian dictionary and “prolah preah” which is Helicteres elliptica. It  is a shrub that grows to around one or one and a half metres in clear forests and the roots are used in a remedy for fractures.

Article compiled by Sheryl Backhouse