We are hearing that growing more of our own tucker will be one of the trends of the future, so planting a few fruit trees in our backyards or even establishing a small orchard of dwarf fruit trees may be an option for the majority of us that live on a standard town block.
August and September are good times to plant most fruit trees that are available in nurseries in bare root, dormant forms. When picking the types of fruit you want to grow, be aware that some fruit trees require another variety of the same fruit type to help pollinate the flowers on the tree and produce a decent crop of fruit. This particularly applies to apples, some cherries, plums and pears.
One of the toughest fruit trees to grow in our region is a fig tree. Two varieties are commonly available in nurseries-Brown Tur- key and Black Genoa. They grow to medium size trees and produce two phases of fruit through summer and autumn-there is noth- ing more enjoyable than a ripe fig picked from your own tree!
Peaches are always popular in the home garden. A white fruit variety, Anzac, is one of my favourites and Elberta is a good, yellow flesh variety.
If you have limited space in your garden, think seriously about planting dwarf fruit trees-some can even be grown and be pro- ductive in large pots. I’ve seen “Trixzie” cul- tivars of peaches, nectarines and pears that grow to no more than 1.5mx1.5m and pro- duce heaps of full size fruit. There are also dwarf cultivars of Pink Lady, Gala and Golden Delicious apples. Another approach to space saving with your fruit trees is to “espalier” them against a shed or fence-this involves pruning the young trees to have branches that spread flat and horizontal.
Keeping the birds from eating the major- ity of the crop from my fruit trees has always been the biggest challenge in my garden, so I’d love to hear from readers who have found a solution to this.
By Ian Rogan Millthorpe Garden Nursery