Right now we are spoilt for choice of fruit to harvest – figs, guavas, mandarins &  this months useful plant choice – feijoa. A very hardy plant to grow in Auckland. Once established (after their first year in ground) they require literally no maintenance. They are pollinated by big birds like thrushes & blackbirds, so you can prune to open the tree to allow better access for birds to pollinate resulting in a better crop if you like. They also make a great hedge whether trimmed to shape or let to grow full size which is approximately 4m x 4m. There is a dwarf version ‘Bambina” which grows to 1.5m x 1.5m. Most feijoa species require a second tree for pollination – however it is not common to see a single tree not fruiting – perhaps the birds fly in from neighbours trees. The variety ‘Unique’ is advertised as self-fertile. There are a number of varieties which fruit in different months from February right through to May, so you can extend your fruiting season by choosing appropriate varieties:

Early season – Pounamu, Unique

Mid season – Appollo, Marion, Bambina

Late season – Mammoth, Opal Star, Triumph

The fruit are full of Vitamin C, the beautiful flowers are also edible & look great in a salad or desert. The fruit taste great straight off the tree, and there are many delicious recipes for feijoas including cakes, deserts, salads, chutneys & pickles. Here is my favourite cake recipe:

125 gm butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup milk, 1 1/4 cup flour, sprinkle mixed spice, 2 cups feijoa halves.

Mix all except feijoas, pour into tin, push feijoa halves in point down, can sprinkle brown sugar & walnuts on top. Bake 180 degrees for 50 mins.