Particularly in Western Australia, January is a month when watering is the most important part of the work in the garden. It is also said that January is not a good time to plant fruit trees.
However, I am going to have a go at planting a cumquat tree (sometimes spelt Kumquat). According to the specialists, the cumquat is not strictly a member of the citrus family but it is a very close relation.
The trees have small fruit with rind that can be eaten and a very acid pulp. The two kinds most commonly grown are the oval one, Nagami, and the round one Marumi. The leaves strike one as being dark and very ornamental.
The trees look very striking in a tub and they also make quite nice ornamental trees anywhere in the garden. I will plant the one I bought this morning in full sun.
Apparently at this time of the year, if the weather is cool and the ground has been well looked after, it is all right to plant them. As long as the soil around the roots is of good quality and one used plenty of sheep manure the tree will have a good start to life.
Also, the tree should get plenty of water and be looked after with kid gloves for the remainder of the summer, I can’t see we would have many problems with producing some good fruit.
I have had for some time a desire to produce a goodly crop of cumquats and marinate them in brandy. I believe they taste absolutely fabulous. So, watch this space for the results of the first bottling of the cumquat brandy. I make sure that all my fruit trees receive very regular watering and so far we haven’t lost any.
At this time of the month I tend to do a little training of the fruit trees; I trim those trees that make a lot of heavy leaf or develop a very dense center. I usually shorten or remove the extra growth.
It is necessary that citrus trees get a lot of general-purpose fertilizer and one should keep the surrounds of these trees well mulched, as the roots are surface roots. Which is what I will be doing with my newly planted cumquat for the rest of the summer.
One other point worth mentioning at this time of the year is the general mulching of the garden. It is best to be very generous with amount of mulch, use at least a depth of 40-50 mm (1-1.5 inches), even around the trees and the large shrubs.
Mulch acts as an insulator, keeping the moisture in and the sun out. You can prove this on a really hot day, stick your finger in the soil under the mulch and you could find it to be moist. That is just how the roots like the soil to be.