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The take-away container propagation method. Place cleaned seed on a damp cloth, replace lid, and leave in a warm place.

The take-away container propagation method. Place cleaned seed on a damp cloth, replace lid, and leave in a warm place.

The feijoa (Acca sellowiana, aka. Feijoa sellowiana) is one of those underrated suburban fruit trees that is often (perhaps unwittingly) grown around Adelaide backyards and little eaten. The varieties I’ve come across most often have offered grey-green torpedoes with a sharp, pineapple tang and a somewhat gritty texture. In the height of feijoa season, we were given a paper bag full of a variety I’d not encountered before. The skin was thin enough to bite a chunk out of and the flesh silky(ish) and smooth.

Even though feijoas don’t quite grow true to type, according to Jeff Nugent and Julia Boniface’s Permaculture Plants, they do grow “reasonably similar to the parent” when propagated by seed. Fruiting from autumn to mid-winter, it’s not ideal propagating weather, but I thought I’d give it a go.

First, I spooned the seed from the fruit and gave them a quick rinse, before laying them out on damp paper towel inside a recycled plastic take-away container. The sealed takeaway container served as a kind of mobile greenhouse. During the day, I’d leave it on the car dashboard to soak up even more warmth inside the car’s greenhouse-like environment.

The seed began germinating within about three weeks, and all had germinated by four weeks, by which time the early bloomers already had their first set of leaves unfurled. I then carefully planted them out into pots, gave them a dose of seaweed solution and crossed my fingers. Apparently feijoa seedlings can tolerate cold, but aren’t fond of wind, so we’ll stash them in a sheltered spot where they can wait for spring.

Feijoa seedlings, moved into more generous accomodation

Feijoa seedlings, moved into more generous accomodation.

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