CHECK YOUR STONES AND PITS
Those plum and apricot stones, peach and nectarine pits that you put into the soil in the autumn once you’d eaten the sweet flesh, will be emerging now and growing toward the light. If you were far-sighted enough to put down stones and pits in expectation of growing your own fruit trees, well done you! Homegrown soft fruits are especially good value, growing as they do from what would ordinarily be thrown away. Those hard ‘‘cores’’ from your favourite juicy summer and autumn fruits contain the germ of a new, free fruit tree and it only takes a small effort to get them growing. I crack the stones and pits with a hammer, just enough
to let in the water when I soak them overnight and get the sprouting process started. I find the stones from organicallygrown, heritage varieties do very well, growing quickly, fruiting early and resisting diseases in a manner superior to storebought trees. A potted fruit tree, grown by your own hand, makes a great Christmas gift and costs next to nothing; all that’s required is a little foresight.