PLANT A MINI ORCHARD
Now is the perfect time to plant fruit trees and create your own mini orchard
Even the smallest of gardens can become a productive little orchard dotted with fruit trees, and now’s the best time to get planting. Select a plant that’s been grafted onto a compact rootstock and train the stems so you can grow several different fruits in a small space, either in the ground or in large containers. Apples and pears, in particular, respond well to pruning. This means you can train them as stepovers to edge a path, as an espalier against a wall or fence, or as single trunks known as cordons. Check the pollinating requirements of your chosen fruit tree – some will need to have one or two different cultivars planted close by to ensure fruit production, or alternatively you can grow a self-fertile cultivar that doesn’t require a pollinator. It’s worth contacting a specialist fruit nursery, who will be able to advise on both suitable rootstocks and pollinators. See our plant offer on p106 for four space-saving ‘Duo’ fruit trees, featuring two cultivars on each plant
RICH PICKINGS Grow a range of tasty fruits in patio pots if you’re short on space
Damson ‘Farleigh’ Dark blue plum-shaped fruit for baking or preserving on a compact plant. Self-fertile.
Cherry ‘Stella’ AGM Plump, shiny dark red fruit, ready for picking in midsummer. Self-fertile.
Greengage ‘Imperial Gage’ AGM Honey-sweet, golden-green fruit ripen in August. Self-fertile.
Plum ‘Victoria’ Lovely orange-red fruit for eating raw and cooking. Fruits late summer. Self-fertile.
Apple ‘Discovery’ AGM Early-fruiting eater with attractive glossy red fruit. Sweet and sharp flavour.
Pear ‘Conference’ AGM Reliable heavy crops of juicy sweet fruit mid-late September. Self-fertile.