Dragon fruit in Hervey Bay

col

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Have a few DF vines in my backyard, seems this year the actual opening of the flowers is taking longer from when the buds first appear.
Last year, around this time my 1st flush was 13 days from bud to flower.
This year, around this time is 19 days from bud to flower.
Out of approx. 20 something buds, only 3 have opened this morning with the rest looking like they are about to flower, where I can actually see the white flower sitting under the green 'bud' petals. I can only presume this is due to the lack of rainfall/humidity this year.
Has anyone else experienced this due to the lack of moisture in the air?

For anyone interested, I have only the 'white' variety producing where my 'red' variety fruit should be ready for next season. Earlier this year I changed all my watering to drippers only, removed all sprinklers to save on my tank water where the savings are very noticeable. My vine supports are 90mm PVC drainage pipe wrapped in Jute which allows the vine feeder to reach out and hold onto very easily, and also pierce/grow thru the Jute material, purchased from Bunnings for around $14 per roll.
I also have 2 drippers fixed atop each support pole which allows the tank water to then dribble down and completely soak the Jute wrapping, thereby feeding all the vines feeders. I have also experimented with the actual support structure where I built a 'shelf' styled apparatus originally to help support the heavy vines. Earlier last year (2019) I went the more traditional way of allowing the vines to grow up then hang over as most others do, just to see if there is any improvement in actual fruit production.
So it seems that even tho my DF vines are pampered top and bottom regards water feeding, the recent drop in humidity from this terrible drought season has some effect, ie moisture in the air.
On another note, my heart felt condolences to all those affected by the bushfires, and a heart felt shout out to all whom are doing their utmost to help. Col.
 

DTK

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Great info Col. I have not previously grown Dragon Fruit but recently been tempted to do so. Your contribution is very helpful. Taaa, Dan
 

DTK

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That is massive Col - perhaps the healthiest I have seen. Where do you (if you still do) buy your DF plants?
 

col

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That is massive Col - perhaps the healthiest I have seen. Where do you (if you still do) buy your DF plants?
Morning Dan, was given 2 cuttings just over 3 yrs ago. Originally planted in a small box along the fence, but after researching I relocated them to allow growth. Had them climb up and rest on a frame with plastic lattice used for support. First season rewarded me with approx. 20 fruit.
That winter after we had a brazier fire in the garden, next morning I tipped out the supposedly dead embers and continued to mow the lawn. To my shock horror, turned round 30mins later and saw my sugar cane mulch on fire along with the neighbouring fence, panic time.
Ran to turn on sprinklers but they had already melted, what a catastrophe. In the end my original DF was gone, luckily I had cuttings.
So built a big trestle type frame down the back and planted 4 young pups and watched them climb up the Jute wrapped PVC pole and allowed/trained to fall out and over the plastic lattice.
Now I have a selection of frame work with the more recent vines, clipping all new growth that sprouts out on the vertical vine, bit like what they do up in Asia so as to allow the 'umbrella' effect.
Some photos from last night and this morning. (1) 5th Jan 7 30pm.jpg (2) 5th Jan 7 30pm.jpg (3) 5th Jan 7 30pm.jpg (4) 6th Jan 6 30am.jpg (5) 6th Jan 6 30am.jpg (6) 6th Jan 6 30am.jpg Cheers, Col.
 
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ClissAT

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I completely missed this thread with all your wonderful photos! :ROFL:

I really don't think you have anything to worry about, Col!!:twothumbsup:

That is one healthy trellis of DF vines! :situps:
 

DTK

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It's amazing. Being brand new to DF, this is the best I have seen.
 

col

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I completely missed this thread with all your wonderful photos! :ROFL:

I really don't think you have anything to worry about, Col!!:twothumbsup:

That is one healthy trellis of DF vines! :situps:
Thanks ClissAT, having read your posts in the past I take your comment as a huge compliment, your experience and information is valuable to others like me, have a lovely one, cheers, col.
 

DTK

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Col, how would you describe the soil in which your DF are growing?
 

col

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Col, how would you describe the soil in which your DF are growing?
Hi Dan, Firstly I live on top of some of the worst soil known due to the building structure problems it causes in my area, Highly Reactive clays. Hence I built some raised garden beds and have added to the height of the sides depending on what I was planting, costs etc.
I put down weed matting to try stop or reduce the terrible weeds that sprout in my area such as nutgrass and horseweed. I also threw some Gypsum around at one stage to help break up the clay structure prior to adding soils.

So, quite a few trips to the garden centre for what they called "garden soil" which seemed fine when I checked it, had some bits and bobs in it such as tiny pieces bark, some sand (not too much) and other goodies they told me about but I cant remember, also seemed to hold well when squeezed in my hand.
I would also buy half a load of their 'compost' where they would mix up for me before loading up my trailer.
Arriving home with my trailer full of half compost, half garden soil, i would throw in some slow release Dynamic Lifter pellets and mix up in wheelbarrow or i would shovel it into to the garden bed then sprinkle the pellets on top, followed by a good soaking of water.
This, in my opinion formed a good solid base to start with and after a few months once its all settled in would test with a PH meter and find it all around 6.5 - 7.0.

Over the seasons i was mulching with the local produced sugar cane bails, but at the time i was on sprinklers and due to watering concerns started to monitor how much of my rain water i was using.
Not using the sugar cane anymore as i think it absorbed too much of my sprinkler water and didnt get down thru the soil to the roots like i was hoping for, well i know it wasnt because after a 30min watering i checked the soil two inches down. No water.
Ended up throwing garden soil on top of my sugar cane and watered in. The cane will break down.
So, every 3 months i have been applying Yates Dynamic Lifter in slow release pellet form but 12 months ago i did start adding Yates Thrive Citrus and Fruit. N 11% P2.5% K 8%
This was in liquid form (diluted) and a bit expensive plus i wanted to look for something with higher potassium for when fruiting or prior to fruiting.

Now experimenting with Yates Thrive Flower and Fruit which is also to be diluted but in powder form and cheaper.
N 14.0 P 2.6 K 21.0

Apparently the higher Potassium levels help with the fruiting process, but I am by no means an expert or seasoned pro, its all about the learning.

So Dan, i honestly don't know if it has anything to do with the change in fertiliser levels but this season i have just had some 78 flowers open up on the small DF patch i have, compared to just 3 this time last year.

I have also ripped out all my sprinklers due to the waste of water and fitted drippers around all the bases and even fitted 2 drippers at the top of each DF support pole.
Using sprinklers whilst running my tiny 1/2hp rain water tank pump I was using just under 1000litres every 30 mins.
By changing to drippers I am now at 300litres every 30mins.
Although they are drippers, under pump they don't exactly 'drip' but do have a constant trickle which is OK with me, as I have measured their output into a measuring jug and can control my pump's timer better by knowing how much tank water I want or need to give them (depending on cooler winter season or rainfall).
Now my soil is black or very dark and full of worms. I used to turn over my soil but that was when I was growing other fruits/vegies before, but I don't anymore after being invaded by the dreaded Qld fruit fly. I don't want to upset the DF's fine root system so I keep the fork or shovel out of it now.

Lat night I applied fertiliser but will think about what ClissAT suggested to me about foliage spray. All my DF vines have the Ariel roots which have taken to the Jute strapping I have wrapped around my support poles really well, and are well soaked whenever I water due to the top drippers. So, the foliage spray will also help feed the Ariel root systems just like or possibly better than the ground ones.
During this heat and as long as I have rainwater in my tanks, I am presently watering every 2 days for approx. 20 mins each time and this is done as the sun goes down, mossies eat me alive if I go out any later.

So that's about it Dan, should mention tho that when taking any cuttings, I only take healthy cuts and place them inside my shed for a week taking care to place them all in the same direction they have been growing.
Once dried out and the cuts looking ok, I place into pots or grower bags with soil from the garden, place in a semi-shaded spot and water whenever I water the others. Never had a problem from infection or whatever by drying the cuts out before planting.

I will also state for whoever is interested, please take the time to check the soil you intend to buy. The first vegie garden I built my girls a few years ago here was full of soil from a local garden centre but in time it became almost impossible for the roots to penetrate through, resulting in very bad growth/production.
Whenever I tried to turn the soil over, I would bust my back using a matic the soil was so hard, almost concrete like.
After a while I tore down this particular bed with the help of a 'Dingo' operator when doing another project in my yard.
This guy noticed the crap soil straight away as the same compacted stuff they use when preparing a slab for a new house build, or at least something similar.
In my opinion, taking the time to check and get your soil correct before you plant is the best and easiest thing to do, because if you don't it will be a struggle and you'll be chasing your tail trying to get it right whilst watching your plants suffer.
Cheers, col.
 

DTK

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WOW Col, that is an excellent response. Thank you for taking the time to give such a helpful, detailed answer. Very much appreciated! I have just returned from Bunnings and knew there was something else I wanted....jute! Oh well, will just have to go to Bunnings again some time. :)
 

col

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WOW Col, that is an excellent response. Thank you for taking the time to give such a helpful, detailed answer. Very much appreciated! I have just returned from Bunnings and knew there was something else I wanted....jute! Oh well, will just have to go to Bunnings again some time. :)
No probs Dan, just read your post on another section regards sunlight.
Here, my DF's get sun from early morning where I think the suns up around 6am ish.
I start to get shade around 3pm ish as the neighbours shed is behind my garden.
So its about 9 hrs daily but that depends on the season as well.
I will say tho, if I've had to spray my white oil for thrips or whatever, I now do it as late as I can as it can burn the vines if done whilst suns out. Also I do have a couple of wee spots where the vines have leaned over and the strong UV has burnt that section of stress.
Just like we do as humans, I cover these small areas up with a rag or even the Jute strapping laid over it.

When wrapping my poles with the Jute strapping which I think is about 40mm wide, I start at the top of the pole working my way down like the old Barbers pole thing. Reason for this is I apply whilst overlapping a bit which means every lower layer or wrap protrudes outwards or on top of the wrap above.
This is to catch any run off from my drippers above or from rainwater and it ensures that all the strapping gets completely saturated with water, to then feed the Ariel shoots.

Forgot to mention I also compost and add this to my DF vines but only when I have good grass to mow. I have some composting now but didn't have for some months due to lack of rain which then brings out the nastiest of weeds in my area (clay soils) so I just bin that stuff as opposed to composting it. I used to dig my compost in but with DF the roots are close to the surface and delicate so I don't dig it in anymore, I just lay it on top and let the rain soak it in.
cheers, col.
 
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DTK

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Thanks again Col. Great info; much appreciated!