Bowl of exotic tropical fruit used for the fruit tasting Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm at Cape Tribulation
Bed and Breakfast accommodation on the edge of the Daintree Rainforest  at Cape Tribulationand white-lipped tree frog
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About Alison and Digby Gotts - Cape Tribulation


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June 1999

May 1999
Mar 1999


CYCLONE Recovery - the clean up is nearly finished
WEATHER REPORT -  a very dry month
FRUIT - lots of Black Sapotes and Soursop
FARM ACTIVITIES - a new toy called 'Jaws'
RECIPE - Winged Beans with Sesame
BED AND BREAKFAST PROJECT - the first sod is turned

CYCLONE RECOVERY- nearly finished the clean up

The fruit trees continue to grow furiously and now the Breadfruits are really bushing up so that their ‘toothpick’ status is no longer visible. Most of the cut tree stumps now have suckers up to one metre long. For the grafted Abius, we are anxious to identify the suckers ABOVE the graft which shall be allowed to remain, as opposed to the suckers below the graft which we intend to remove. The only problem is that it is quite difficult to work out where the graft actually is.

We have finally removed all the fallen timber from the orchard and stacked it in huge piles in the windbreaks. It has taken more than 3 months of chain-sawing and carrying. A mammoth task so I hope we don’t get another cyclone for our lifetime. At last we have time to start the "Bed and Breakfast" project.

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Facts and figures provided by Gail and Cliff Truelove at the Pilgrim Sands Weather Centre, operating since 1982

May ended up being a much drier month than the previous 4 months with only 124.2mm of rain falling on a total of 17 days. Our May average is 324.9mm so we had less than half our average and the 2nd driest May since we began keeping records, 1997 only had 114.9mm. Usually May is a wet, drizzly, miserable month with irritability levels rising to match those during the build up to "the wet", so it was lovely to have some sunny weather.

Temperatures were fairly stable. Hottest day was 16 May with 29C and the coldest night was 21 May with 19.5C, coolest night this year so far.

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FRUIT - what’s flowering, what’s being harvested

Picked our first few Abius which were eaten before they left the orchard. The Black Sapote harvest is in full swing, with hordes of ducks lurking under the trees waiting for the ripe fruit to fall. Every honeyeater in the valley is dining off the trees and the falling fragments cause ducks to stampede.

We have one Durian tree, which suffered about 50% damage in the cyclone, showing flower buds which are right out of season – amazing if we actually have our first Durian in October – but don’t count your Durians before they set. Lots of soursops are ripening, one tree at a time. Coffee bushes are producing red berries but still not enough to make more than a couple of cups. And we have had a remnant bunch of Salaks to eat, a hangover from the March crop. Very few Carambolas as the fruit sucking moth is doing a lot of damage – we will need to net the trees for the next season.

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FRUIT TASTING – what’s on

The fruit on the menu for the tasting is currently:

  • West Indian Lime
  • Breadfruit Chips
  • Pommelo
  • Papaya
  • Carambola
  • Mamey Sapote
  • Yellow Sapote
  • Golden Passionfruit
  • Soursop
  • Black Sapote
  • Custard Apple

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FARM ACTIVITIES – a time for feeding, mowing and pruning

A ton bag of organic fertiliser has just been spread, made up to a special formula to meet the needs of our soil based on a soil test. We have concentrated on pruning the Salaks and getting rid of the suckers. We have been using "Jaws" a second hand sickle bar mower that we purchased recently to keep the grass trimmed around the Salaks, and it seems to be working well. We have also tried using a hand mower – what a nightmare!- for trimming the grass in the Salak rows and this seems to work but is more arduous.

We had an email back from a Salak researcher in Java, and he had some suggestions for improving the fruit set on the Salak flowers. Most of our plants are Balinese Salaks which have male and female flowers on the one flower spike. The tiny male flowers are at the tip of the spike. He has recommended that we collect the pollen from the Javanese Male plants that we have, freeze it and spray it on to receptive Balinese flowers. That this is a common practice in Bali and that they grow Javanese plants through their Salak orchards for this purpose. The fruit set is also influenced by the weather conditions. We’ll keep you posted as to whether this new technique increases our fruit set.

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The vegetable garden is back in full swing, and the Winged Beans are flowering prolifically so here is our favourite recipe for Winged Beans.

Winged Beans with Sesame

  • 300 gms winged beans
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

Cut the tops of the beans – only use young ones that have not hardened.

Cook beans until just tender in salted water.

Mix sesame oil, mirin, and sesame seed.

Drain beans and toss them in dressing immediately.

Serve cold.

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We had planned to launch into this project in March on our return from our holidays, but the cyclone had other ideas, so it has been delayed until now. We have done some research and checked out all the brands of composting toilets that are in the local area (more than 3 different sorts) but they all seem to have drawbacks, so we are not sure what decision will be made. The site has been pegged out and the grader blade was put on the tractor last weekend to level the site.

The site is about 80 metres from the house and located on the edge of the creek. It has been positioned so that you can sit on the balcony of the cottage and look down and along the creek, as well as getting the view of Mt Sorrow.

Digby went off to the wreckers to check out the availability of timber to find that there was a new person running it, who charged twice as much as the old timer who used to run it and the timber was in a huge unsorted pile still with the nails in it. We need to sort out our timber supplier.

Planned opening date – watch this space – will not be December 1999 as advertised on the back of our business cards – maybe June 2000? You never know – we might pick up some of the overflow from the Olympics. I mean wouldn’t you rather be in Cape Trib than Sydney in July?

That’s all the news from Cape Trib for June

Alison and Digby Gotts



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Bed and Breakfast accommodation on an exotic tropical fruit orchard at Cape Tribulation in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest
Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm, Lot 5 Nicole Drive, Cape Tribulation, Queensland, 4873, Australia - Tel: 0740 980057 - Fax: 0740 980067

Last updated December 19, 2013