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I have plans to buy a smallholding, but not yet. In the meantime, I love growing as much fruit and vegetables as possible. Ideally I would love more apples, but the trees take up so much room in my garden. Any ideas on what I could do?
Kevin Alviti says: I have two ideas that spring to mind. One would be to get yourself on a list for an allotment. Some have huge waiting lists, so I know that sometimes it isn’t an option. I once took on a couple of nearby allotments and filled them to the brim with fruit and veg. As it was in the next village, the fruit trees worked really well as they didn’t require day-to-day care and they cropped happily whether I was there or not.
Another option is to look back at the Victorian gardeners. I have edged my veg garden with apple trees trained as cordons. They are all planted 60cm (2ft) apart, so I managed to get over 30 in down one side. Although when planted like this they don’t crop as heavily as a regular tree, they do produce some great fruit and with more than 30 varieties there is always an apple that everyone will love. Plant the trees on a 45-degree angle (graft topside) spaced how you want them, supported by wires or trellis. Prune them back to about three or four leaves in late summer before the apples are ready to allow light in to ripen the fruit and maintain the desired shape.
If you do not have a smallholding, you could edge your vegetable garden with apple trees trained as cordons