If you want to know how to start growing fruit, it’s important to understand the basics. This post looks to give a crash course in growing fruit with the hope that you’ll learn something you didn’t know and become more comfortable with growing fruit.
How to Start Growing Fruit
When purchasing fruit stock, you need to get advice about the variety of fruit that meets your needs. This is because there most fruits have many variations. For example, there are dessert, cooking, and cider apples, and each of these types has a vast range of varieties.
Trees Aren’t Seed Grown
Take the example of a Worcester Pearmain apple. Examine the lower part of the trunk, and you will see that it is the product of a rootstock onto which the pearmain apple has been grafted. The rootstock determines the eventual height of the tree. Your choice could consider both variety and rootstock. If you want an apple tree for a tiny garden, get one with a dwarfing rootstock.
Fruit trees and bushes come either bare rooted or container-grown. Check the roots before you purchase. Don’t buy plants whose roots have dried out or which do not have a well-developed root system. But do not buy plants that are pot bound, which means that they have been so long in the pot that their roots go around in a circle.
Bare-rooted fruit stock should be sold with a moist wrapping of moss or fabric to prevent roots from drying out.
Consider Planting Times
Planting times are important. A rule for planting fruit trees, canes and bushes is to never plant them in months without an R in the name. This is because they need to be planted in their dormant season, which is the colder months. September to April is the proper time, but the ideal in temperate climates is October to November, as you would not want to plant in ground that is frozen solid. Check the planting times for your climate zone.
Consider Planting Site
The planting site matters. Choose a sunny site with fertile, well-drained soil. It is also essential to prevent frost damage, so you need to ensure that you are not planting in a frost pocket. Cold air should if possible flow downhill through a gap in a hedge taking it away from your trees. Shelter from strong winds is beneficial.
The ideal fruit site in the northern hemisphere is part way up a gently sloping, south facing slope.
The hole should be square and wide enough for the roots to be spread. The fruit tree/bush should be planted so that the roots should be covered, so bury it up to the point where roots give way to trunk. Spread the roots out evenly in the hole, fill in the hole with compost/soil and heel the tree in. To heel in press down the soil around the base of the tree/bush with your heel. Heeling prevents air pockets being left near the roots.
Keep Fruit Trees and Bushes Well Watered
Young trees benefit from support, especially in windy areas. You can get tree stakes which you fix into the ground and fasten to the tree. Cane fruits need a set of wires to which they are affixed. Do not attach your stakes too tightly to the tree otherwise as the trunk grows the fastening will cut into the tree. You can put a mulch around the tree, e.g., woodchip, but do not let it touch the bark or you will be helping insect pests.
Your tree will produce some small fruits in the first year. Pluck these off as they will not grow much and are taking nourishment from the roots, thus impeding the plant’s development. Cane fruits are different as you can pick them in the first year. Do not be concerned if your apple trees in subsequent years drop lots of fruit. This is the June drop and is the tree’s way of getting rid of excess fruit.
Fruit Benefits From Feeding
Applying potassium fertilizer to the soil benefits fruit crops substantially. But several other elements are necessary. A good source of these is seaweed meal. Another soil improver is rock dust, which should be applied thinly across your garden.
A variety of soil improvers guarantees that you will give your fruit a nourishing diet.