How to Grow Fruit All Year Round
Year Round Fruit
Everybody knows that fruit is good for us, but it is a rarer thing to hear the specific health advantages of home-grown fruit. In fact, taking to the garden to produce your household fruit supply is an all-round health-booster, promoting physical activity, giving control over fertilizers and pesticides, and hopefully encouraging greater consumption of the good stuff. Thankfully, it is not as tricky to keep a supply of local fruit running from autumn through to summer as one might imagine.
Raspberries, blueberries and peaches, for example, should come to fruition just in time to liven up summer cocktails, and it’s possible to harvest those raspberries after just one year of cultivation. Your peach tree will need to go somewhere that the sun can reach it, whereas berries tend to be able to handle a bit of shade.
The exotic persimmon may not immediately leap to mind as a potential fruit for your garden, but along with cranberries and blackberries it can be relied upon to brighten up the colder months. The cactus pear is a good option when thinking ahead to winter pies for those with sandy soil.
And it’s never a bad time for a banana. Keep the crop protected in cold times, and those banana plants will reward you all year round – and without the risk of alien predators leaping out at you!
If you’re worried that you don’t have enough space to make home-grown fruit work, think again. Potted fruit trees and trellises for wall-grown bushes are great ways to maximize space and brighten up a cramped yard. Pruning actually encourages a greater yield, making a smaller plot both manageable and, ahem, fruitful.
Our handy new infographic lays out all the best options for home-grown fruit, so that you can match your soil type and climate to your preferred fruits and create a calendar that matches your needs. Get planting today, and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of fresh air, lush surroundings, and healthy fruits whose sweetness is embellished with a hint of accomplishment.
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Godman, H. (2014). Backyard gardening: grow your own food, improve your health. harvard.edu
Passmore, N. (2015). The 8 Best Summer Cocktails Made with Fresh Fruit. forbes.com
Khaleeli, H. (2015). Scorpions, spiders and lizards: when did buying bananas become so dangerous? guardian.com
California Rare Fruit Growers (1996). PERSIMMON. crfg.org
How to Grow Fruits All Year Round
Growing fruit trees right at your backyard provides several advantages. For starters, it ensures that you always have access to fresh and healthy produce with you having full control over what types of fertilizers and pesticides (if any) touch your food. But before you actually start harvesting the fruits of your labor, you can also to make sure that you take care of it properly, which means that growing fruits also promotes physical activity all year round.
Despite the seemingly easy way to produce fruit at home, many people are still intimidated with the task because they have zero knowledge about it. The truth is that this task is not really as hard as it seems and, when you know your fruits, you can actually enjoy fresh fruits all throughout the year, even during the winter months.
Before embarking on this fun adventure of growing fruits right in your backyard, be sure to do a lot of research. You need to make sure that your trees are suitable to the soil in your area as well as your lifestyle (some plants may require a bit more attention than others). You might also want to see when they start producing fruits and such so you can enjoy constant fruit yield all throughout the year.
Easy Fruit Trees to Grow All Year Round
Ensuring a constant supply of fruits from your garden does not have to sound like a very intimidating feat. If you look through the trees we have on the list below, you will realize that all you have to do is establish them and they should be easy to look after and maintain for the rest of the year.
Are you ready?
Hardiness zone: 9 to 11
Also known as the Bilse Avocado, this type of avocado is characterized by its dark green to dark purplish-black color and bumpy skin. Although Hass Avocado yields large fruits all year round, it is still best grown during the winter, spring and summer season.
This avocado tree, like other avocado cultivars, bears well every other year usually for the next 3 to 15 years of its life. The crops heavily deplete stored carbohydrates in the trees resulting to a poor yield the following season. In Southern California, the trees are provided with good soil and drainage and lots of sunlight to help them grow. Avocado trees need to be watered at least two or three times per week.
Many people love Hass Avocados because of its richer and creamier flavor despite it having a bit more calories and fats than the Florida Avocados. Fruits from this tree can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.
Hardiness zone: 3 to 9
There are over 7,500 known cultivars of apples all over the world that are bred and used for various purposes including eating raw, cooking and producing cider. Since apples do not breed true when they are planted as seeds, new trees are instead produced from grafted fruit trees.
How fast do apple trees grow? Full-sized trees usually go as tall as 30 feet in around six years’ time. But, when do apple trees bear fruit? The dwarf and semi dwarf variants should start bearing fruit in 3 to 4 years and produce around 1 to 2 bushels each year. Meanwhile, standard-sized apple trees will start bearing fruit 5 to 8 years and yields around 4 to 5 bushels of apples per year.
Organic apple trees are more common in the United States than in Europe although there have been a few successes in the latter though the help of disease-resistant variants. Care of apple trees is not as tricky as people think it is; they just need a well drained soil and lots of sun. Don’t forget to prune every year to get the best crops.
Apples can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks or in the freezer for about 10 to 12 months.
Hardiness zone: 4 to 9
According to botany, persimmons are actually berries, just like the tomatoes. There are several edible species of the persimmon, some of which are native to the Asian and American regions. China produces about 43% of the 4.6 million tons of these fruits being distributed all over the world.
If you are just starting to do backyard farming, this tree is highly suggested as it is one of the best fruit trees to grow. They are very easy to look after but you just have to make sure that they are being watered consistently.
It is not recommended to put the persimmon in the fridge but you can store them in the freezer and help them last as long as 10 to 12 months.
Hardiness zone: 5 to 9
A native tree in the Northwest China, the peach is best planted during the early winter and requires full sun as well as an acidic, sandy and well-drained soil. Peach trees in bloom are usually evident around March but usually get damaged or even killed because of the spring frost. However, buds that have not yet fully opened are able to survive this. It is the summer heat that helps the crops mature. They usually start producing fruits within 2 to 4 years.
A common question backyard farmers ask is this: “Are peach trees self pollinating?” Fortunately, peach trees do not require other things (e.g. insects) to complete the pollination process.
When it comes to storage, peaches can be placed inside the refrigerator for two days at most or in the freezer for around 10 to 12 months.
Hardiness zone: 3 to 8
The most common use of elderberry fruit is as ingredients to dietary supplements often to combat illnesses such as flu, colds or constipation however there is not enough evidence to show just how efficient it is.
Elderberry trees love nitrogen and, thus, thrive best in areas near organic waste disposal. It takes them around 2 to 3 years before they start to produce fruit. The best time to start growing these organic trees is early in spring.
Storing elderberry in the refrigerator will last them around 2 to 3 days and around 10 to 12 months if placed inside the freezer.
Hardiness zone: 7 to 8
The grapefruit, which was introduced in Asia during the 17th century, is actually an accidental cross between the pomelo and the sweet orange. These trees can grow up to 5 to 6 meters high and will start bearing big fruits after just 1 to 2 years. Just like the peach tree, it loves well-drained soil that is slightly acidic.
Grapefruit stored inside the fridge can last up to a week but can go up to 10 to 12 months when placed inside the freezer.
Hardiness zone: 8B to 10
It may not look like one but bananas are actually categorized as berries botanically. Unlike most trees included in this list, bananas are not cultivate by grafting but instead by removing and transplanting part of its underground stem which is called a corm.
Bananas love the full sun – probably why they grow mostly in the tropics – and like their soils to be well-drained, acidic and very nutritious. To get the maximum shelf life of this fruit, they are usually harvested before they become ripe. It is not recommended to refrigerate bananas but you can put them in a freezer where they last around 2 to 3 months.
During the colder months, it is best to wrap the banana plants or bring them indoors if possible.
Hardiness zone: 3 to 7
Native to North America, blueberries are shade fruit trees that thrive in moist acidic soil. Blueberries may be cultivated by they can also be picked from wild and semi-wild bushes. These plants require extra help when it comes to fertilizers and you can add acidic organic matter, such as pine needles, to do that. Do remember that adding too much nitrogen into the plant can also cause damage to their health.
Refrigerated blueberries can last around 5 to 10 days while those placed inside a freezer can last around 10 to 12 months.
Hardiness zone: 2 to 7
Yet another one of those fruit trees that grow in shade are the cranberries. These plants are dwarf shrubs or trailing vines that can be found in numerous states in the US as well as in several Canadian provinces.
Beds for cranberry planting are often placed in wetlands so make sure to have yours planted by the edge of the river or a pond. However, make sure that the beds are not flooded but simply irrigated regularly to ensure that they constantly enjoy moist soil. They are usually flooded during the autumn, in time for the harvest season, and in the winter, to help protect them from low temperatures. When ice forms, a thin layer of sand can be added to help combat pests and also rejuvenate the vines.
Cranberries may be stored in the fridge for up to 2 months or in the freezer for around 10 to 12 months.
Hardiness zone: 5 to 10
Produced largely in Mexico especially during the off-season, the blackberry is a perennial plant that is of the same genus as the raspberry. This fruit contains a significant amount of dietary fiber and vitamins C and K and are usually made into desserts, jellies, jams and even wine. They can also be mixed with apples to make pies and crumbles.
It takes blackberries around 1 to 2 years to start bearing fruit and loves being in the sun as well as in partial shade. Blackberries should be planted in well-drained, acidic soil. Remember that these shrubs need constant pruning if you don’t want them to be all over the place.
These fruits can be stored in the fridge up to around two days or in the freezer where they can last around 10 to 12 months.
Hardiness zone: 2 to 7
These perennials that come with woody stems got its name from raspise which means sweet rose-colored wine. They are often planted during the winter as canes although they can also be planted as tender plants. Sometimes, the canes are grown for a year to help obtain the proper bud break and then they are planted somewhere else with a warmer climate. Raspberries love acidic, well-drained soils and they are used by bees as a major source of nectar.
When growing raspberries in the backyard, you should remember to fertilize them at least twice a year. They are also very invasive plants so make sure to keep a constant check on them as they can take over your garden very easily. You can start harvesting the fruits as they turned into a deep color and you can turn your excess produce into jams or even freeze it.
You can store raspberry fruits in the fridge for 2 to 3 days or in the freezer for 10 to 12 months.
Hardiness zone: 4B to 10B
Also known as the prickly pears, cactus pears are rather different in terms of appearance compared to other types of pears. They look more like cactuses only that they are the edible kind. These fruits contain a significant amount of dietary fiber and Vitamin C and can be used as appetizers, soups and salads.
How to grow pear trees? For this type, simply cut off a pad of the plant (the inverted teardrop shaped segment that come with spines) and wait for it to form a callous. Once the pad has fully healed its cut, simply plant it inside your pot and place it at the hottest portion of your garden. These plants love direct sunlight and temperatures between 44 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Only water the plant after a month but make sure that they drain out of the pot. Cactus pears also love to be placed in sandy soil.
These fruits can be stored inside the fridge for around 2 to 3 days or in the freezer for 10 to 12 months.
Yet another factor to consider when growing a fruit bearing tree in your own backyard is to check the hardiness zone of your place.
Hardiness zone basically refers to the category at which a particular area is grouped to specify the type of plants that are able to grow there. This is a very important consideration to remember as some plants may not be able to withstand the extreme winter cold of a particular place. Snow cover is not included in determining the hardiness zone, however, which should be taken into account as snow can help insulate plants and their roots against the extreme cold.
The hardiness zones also do not take into consideration the summer heat levels of a particular place.
Tips When Growing a Bearing Tree in Small Spaces
Growing organic fruit trees right at home does not mean that you have to own acres and acres of land. In fact, even if you have a very limited space, it is still possible to start your own garden and maximize whatever available land you have.
Use containers. You can use old pallet wood and turn them into mini gardens. Having a plant box will help restrict growth so your plants will not grow beyond what you can manage in your small garden. Of course, it is also best that you choose an easy fruit to grow, particularly one that has been trained and designed to grow in a pot.
Go for dwarf trees. Another tip to help you grow multi fruit trees in a small backyard is to purchase fruit tree seedlings or rootstocks of dwarf trees. Modern apples, for example, are already being propagated as dwarf or semi-dwarf trees. But, a common question might be, how to dwarf a tree on your own? It may be best to ask a horticulture expert on this but the Internet is also full of tutorials for this one. Don’t be scared to try and experiment!
Look up. There are just some fruits trees and plants that grow where space is available. How do you combat this? Build your garden upwards! You can choose climbing varieties of a mixed fruit tree or plant such as the Concorde if you want to grow pears in your tiny garden.
Prune, prune, prune. If you want to keep small fruit plants in your backyard, never forget to prune them constantly. Free-standing trees should be pruned during the winter months while the wall-trained ones should have their pruning done in the late summer.
Other Tips for Growing Fruit Trees at Home
When to start adding organic fertilizer for fruit trees?
You might think that your plants and trees do not need fertilizing but some of them actually do. To make sure that you have control over what type of substances get into your trees, check the labels properly or, better yet, go for organic fertilizers.
The best time to do this is right before bud break but if you missed the chance, you can also do it in June. Fertilize a month before they start growing in the spring and not by the end of summer or by fall as the new growth will just be destroyed by the frost.
High nitrogen fertilizers are usually your best buddies and these can include blood meal, cottonseed meal, composted chicken manure, feather meal and several others. Also make sure to add in some compost to the soil.
What to spray on fruit trees?
Not all fruit trees grow the way you see them in catalogs and you may have to resort to spraying something on them to help prevent pests and insects or to keep them away from other illnesses. Fruit trees may require different types of sprays including:
- General purpose spray for keeping away most pests and tree problems
- Dormant sprays to help take care of scale insects
- Fungicide sprays to get rid of scab diseases, especially in peach trees
- Insecticidal sprays to take care of most pests that invade fruit trees as the flower petals start to fall
Remember to check the label and see if they are fit for use on fruit trees.
Best mulch for fruit trees
Aside from making sure that your fruits are healthy and are free from pests and insecticides from the top, you also they need to make sure that they are well taken care of right at the roots.
Placing mulch around your fruit trees will help in regulating the temperature of the soil, keeping moisture in and suppressing weeds that could take away the soil’s nutrients from your fruit trees. You can buy mulch from the store but you can also make use of readily available ones such as shredded leaves, grass clippings, pine needles and other similar items.
Ornamental fruit trees
As weird as it may sound, not all fruit trees are bred and grown for their produce but simply for the way they look. Yes, these trees still produce edible fruits but they just lack the flavor that the non-ornamental ones have. Fruits from these ornamental trees are not best when eaten raw but can be very tasty when added in pies or turned into preserves.
Some examples of ornamental fruit trees include crabapples, purple-leafed plums and chokecherries.
Buying fruit trees
If you are ready to start growing your very own fruit tree garden, the best thing to do would be to approach the local nursery or garden center in your area. By this time, you have probably already decided what types of fruits to grow based on your hardiness zone and other factors.
Once you have done that, it is time to choose a tree. Be sure to go for one that comes with a straight trunk with a diameter between ½ and 5/8 inches. Go for trees whose branches are evenly spread out but avoid ones that are low lying as they can make harvesting rather difficult. Also make sure to check the roots.
Of course, it might be a little different if you plan to buy fruit trees for your tiny garden.