Landcare members taste-test unusual fruits
ALAN Knight shared his passion for collecting seeds and rearing native plants with Central Burnett Landcare members.
The group organised a trip to visit the long time members property at Mungungo, north of Monto last weekend.
He has been collecting seed and rearing native plants for many years.
CBL Project Officer Marion Denholm said the group visited Mr Knight's property to see his extensive collection and hear about his successes (and failures) in raising plants.
"This gave us a chance to see first-hand what will grow in the North Burnett area,” she said.
Mrs Denholm said the food tree plantation covers an area of about 1.6ha (four acres).
"The land has a fair slope of about 10 to 15 percent, with sandy loam soil and some surface stone,” she said.
"Alan has irrigation available from a bore, which he says is very good water, drinkable but with some calcium and nitrates, which may assist plant growth.”
She said because of the slope providing drainage and the sandy nature of the soil, irrigation must be frequent to keep moisture in the upper soil profile.
"Alan uses drippers for new plantings, graduating to micro-sprinklers as the plants grow and root mass and diameter increases,” she said.
"Some of the plants have been mulched around with a ring of coarse grass cuttings.”
Mr Knight has more than 150 different species planted and is constantly adding new plants to see if they will grow successfully.
Not all are Australian natives, many are exotic fruit trees and he also has a few purely ornamental plants grown for flowers or striking foliage.
Fruit from the plants is harvested in season and sold to a wholesaler.
CBL president Jacqui Laidler said unusual fruits had gained popularity in recent years, as people's tastes have broadened.
"They have become aware of new products, however it is quite a challenge when you must educate and market, as well as growing the produce,” she said.
The visiting group were very impressed with the quantity and quality of the plantation trees and shrubs.
Some ripe fruits were sampled in the plantation, including white mulberries, white sapote and acerola cherries, and delicious leaf teas were brewed using green leaves from the lemon myrtle and lemon-scented ironbark.