Alison Caldwell, CNLP
Buyer, Hicks Nurseries
Growing your own fruit trees and berry bushes is a rewarding experience for the entire family. Fresh from the garden produce is great for use in pies, smoothies, salads and so much more. Learn below how growing fruit is as easy as pie!
The Basic Elements:
- Sun: 6-8 hours a day at least for most fruit.
Water: Regular consistent watering to prevent fruit from cracking.
Soil: Fertile & well drained.
Fertilizer: For strong healthy plants – especially when growing in containers.
Pollination: Some fruit require another fruit of the same kind for a better harvest.
- Berry Patch
- Fruit Trees
- Grape Arbor
- Container Gardening
- Mixed borders
Mix It Up!
- Fruit trees can be inter-planted with bushes, herbs, shrubs, small fruit, vegetables or vines, and some do well in containers.
- Mixed plantings provide good returns and tend to confuse insect pests while harboring a wide variety of beneficial species.
Ex. Try a border of berries and basil; parsley also makes a great edging.
Arbors – More Than Plant Support
- Provide a focal point in your garden.
- Can be used to divide areas in your yard.
- By adding a bench you can create a shaded sitting area.
- Using an arch creates an entryway to your garden.
- If planting bare root or containers, soak the plant for an hour or so to make sure the roots are well moistened before planting.
- Remove the tree from the plastic container and loosen the roots if necessary.
- Dig a hole large enough to hold the root system and just deep enough so that the bud unions is 2” above the ground level.
- Fill in half the soil – water, to remove air pockets, then fill remaining soil.
- Keep mulch away from the base of the tree and make a ring to keep rain water from running off.
- For the first season, be sure to water once a week if it hasn’t rained. This creates a strong healthy anchor of roots which is the feeding system for the fruit.
DO NOT put fertilizer or manure into the hole when you plant the tree. This may stunt the growth of your fruit tree.
After a few weeks apply Dr. Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer as directed around the tree 2 feet from the trunk and work into the soil.
Organic Growing Practices
Site Selection – The best preventative medicine for a fruit tree is to keep it in the sun, in an airy spot with good drainage. The vast majority of problems that you seek to avoid are fungal infections.
Diversity – Don’t plant five trees of the same type. A diversified home orchard will be better able to ward off pests than a mono-culture. Besides, isn’t it more appealing to have all sorts of different fruit to eat all summer and fall?
Pruning – Be sure to keep your fruit tree open. Prune and thin aggressively. This will allow sunlight and air to bathe your tree and will help reduce the pressure of many diseases.
Irrigation – When you irrigate your tree, do so with trickle irrigation. This puts the water right on roots where it is needed. Not on the leaves and fruit where it can aid and abet the fungi. A simple, inexpensive soaker hose does fine for this purpose.