Horticulture

Edible plants keep Tony going after starting with tomatoes

One of the many exotic edible plants Lychee farmer Tony Welch grows is pepper. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
One of the many exotic edible plants Lychee farmer Tony Welch grows is pepper. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

FOR Tony Welch it all started with a humble tomato crop 40 years ago.

Now the Bungundarra farmer grows lychees, mangoes, longans, aracas, chillies, pepper, asparagus, coffee and some citrus fruits.

His major focus is the commercial lychee crop of 1000 trees, but he said he grows the other produce for personal use as "a hobby and a therapy".

When Tony and his wife Denise moved to the property in the 70s they began with tomatoes, and it was not until listening to a talk on rare tropical fruits that they decided to make the switch in the 80s.

"With tomatoes, you've got to keep ploughing the ground and replanting," he said.

"With (lychee) trees, once they're planted they only need maintenance."

He also grows black sapote, also known as chocolate pudding fruit, and sapodilla, both of which originate in central America.

At this time of year the rare tropical fruits are not in season, and the berries on the pepper vine are only half grown.

In December, Tony harvested 700 grams of dried pepper off his one vine, which took him about three or four hours to harvest by hand.

Pepper is picked green, then dried in the sun for about three to four weeks, which reduces it to 35% of its weight according to Tony.

The Welch's have eight to 10 varieties of lychees growing, with six or seven of those for commercial purposes.

Tony also exports his lychees to wholesalers in Sydney, where there is a bigger market.

The current warmer temperatures are not optimal conditions for the crop, but Tony is hoping for a bumper yield in the next harvest in November-December, so he can retire on a good note.

Last year, they had a poor crop, but that was on the back of a bumper crop that resulted in them bringing in 16 workers to help harvest.

Tony is part of Capricorn Edible Plants Inc.

The group is holding a Biggest Morning Tea from 2pm to 4.40pm at the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens today.

All proceeds are going to the Cancer Council.

Topics:  bungundarra, lychees, tomato



Enviable lifestyle is just part of the job

Toby the dog and Pat Lilleboe enjoy a stand up paddle board on Lammermoor Beach a couple of weekends ago.

PICS: Greek Islands and Malaysian havens have nothing on Keppel

How did this Central Queensland man come to die?

A still image of Janay Rd in Kabra, Central Queensland

The body of the man was found on Wednesday

State's new smoke-free laws kick in today

BUTT OUT: From September 1, 2016 the minimum penalty for breaches of the state's new smoke-free laws will be $243, up to a maximum of $2,438.

The new smoke-free laws from September 1 will be...

Latest deals and offers

Memories come flooding back

RELIVE stories of courage, heroism and tragedy during the Clermont Historical Centre's'A Flood of Memories' Exhibition from August 31 to December 2017.


Get Set for Summer!

Win One of Ten Prize Packs
Learn More

History comes alive at Back Plains celebration

Ian Mason wrote a book on the history of Back Plains and is launching it at a massive reunion event.

Reliving fascinating and rich history of Back Plains area

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

Gympie Muster couch dumps down, but still a problem

TIPPING POINT: After an appalling year of couches being dumped at the end of the last Muster, festival organisers have taken litterbugs to task

EFFORTS to combat post-Muster couch dumping are proving effective

Rockhampton author celebrates publication of second novel

Shelley Russell Nolan with her first published novel, Lost Reaper.

Shelley Russell Nolan never gave up on getting her books published

Cryptic crosswords: Top clues to solving them

Your guide to solving the cryptic crosswords in your local paper

How high? Twin 20-storey high-rises plan for "over 50s"

A development application has been lodged with the Fraser Coast Regional Council to build two skyscrapers in Hervey Bay.

Developer says Bay needs to move with the times.

City View Hotel: From a pub to a backpackers

NEW LIFE: Hamish Parker has purchsed the City View Hotel and wants to turn it into an accomodation venue.

Architect picks up a little piece of history for a steal

Bunnings starts demolition of historic foundry buildings

SAWTOOTH GONE: Demolition of Foundry sawtooth shed to make way for new Bunnings building.

Lane and footpath closures will take place

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd