Discovering new and innovative ways to grow more fruit in less space isn’t a new concept in gardening. With today’s myriad of exciting fruiting plants, producing a backyard fruit hive has never been more fascinating.
Here are five ways to grow more fruit in smaller spaces.
1. Pot Planting
Pretty much any fruit can be grown in a tub or pot if it is given the right watering and feeding. Figs, citrus trees, pears, apples, berries and even grapes can thrive in the right environment. Typically, smaller trees thrive better in containers than large ones, but restricting the roots can actually promote fruiting. A container can often allow greater soil conditions than the soil in your garden can provide.
A container also allows fruit trees to be transferred around the garden or even between houses. It is a good idea to invest in top of the range planting mix and re pot every couple of years. When selecting a container, consider strength, size and its ability to hold nutrients and water. Drainage holes are essential, but overly porous containers often dry out quickly in windy and hot conditions. If your container is too small, it becomes difficult to keep up with the feeding and watering.
Blueberries are very beautiful flowering shrubs, and are valuable to grow on aesthetic alone. Depending on your location, planting blueberries in a container with the correct watering, feeding and potting provides better results than your garden soil. This comes down to the fact that blueberries are picky about soil pH. As opposed to most plants, they require an acidic soil of pH 4.5-5.5. They’ll thrive in a peat-based medium soil with good water holding capacity and decent drainage. Blueberries hold compact root systems and whilst some remain as small compact shrubs other varieties grow tall. In a big barrel, planting a handful of carefully selected varieties will ensure your berries keep picking over a few weeks.
Rainwater is great for blueberries. Be aware, however, of the effect on pH when utilising bore water, which often contains higher salt levels. They may need correct with soil acidifier. Provide blueberries with fertilisers necessary for acid-loving plants. If your bush’s leaves turn a yellow, reddish colour, especially near their edges, they might be lacking magnesium. Green veins and yellow leaves indicate iron deficiency. Your blueberry barrel is the ideal place to empty the mud from your coffee plunger.
2. Against the Fence or Wall
Growing your trees flat against a wall or fence is a pretty way to promote fruit growth in small spaces. Espalier trees grow along wires supported by posts, a masonry wall or against a fence. Even commercial orchards are now utilising the 2D method as it can optimise sunlight and produce more fruit per hectare.
3. Step-Over Apples
The step-over apple is a type of low, single layer espalier that is traditionally grown along a pathway or along the border of a vegetable garden. Begin with a dwarf apple tree. Install your wire 60cm above the garden floor with sturdy posts no more than 1.5m in distance. The principal works the same for espalier trees, but keep it to one layer of horizontally trained branches.
4. Mini Trees
Dwarf trees and trees planted along dwarfing root stocks are perfect for containers and small gardens. Many different dwarf varieties of pears, apricots, apples, peaches and nectarines are available. They produce a great amount of fruit in this size.
5. Multiple Plants in One
Double and triple grafted fruit trees elongate the harvest time and provide different flavours on the one tree. You can also achieve this effect by planting a number of different fruit trees in the one hole. “The Family Tree” is a variety of fruit trees that can be planted next to each other. The branches are pruned to grow outwards. You want to choose just one family of fruit for each tree as they require a similar growth habit. Think combining three to five different apple varieties, or create a family tree of nectarines and peaches.