Nothing says spring more loudly than the sight of a flowering fruit tree – all that lovely blossom with the promise of freshly picked fruit.
But what do you do if you don’t have room for a fruit tree? They do take up a lot of space and even though they do look great in the garden, they also give you heaps of leaves to clean up in autumn. The answer is a miniature tree.
These trees can be planted in the garden or grown in large pot. I have two – a peach tree in the garden that is 35 years old and stands 1.2 metres high which yielded about 50 peaches last year, and a pear growing in a pot which yielded two pears in its first year. I have high hopes of more this year.
A little extra care is needed to ensure they don’t dry out and monthly feeding of a liquid fertilizer will ensure a happy result when the fruit crop comes in. If you’re not sure where to site them in your garden, they are easily moved to that particular spot where they look at home. A special benefit is that if you are renting you can take them with you.
Tomatoes are always the subject of discussion in my house at this time of year – what type, height and size of the crop we want to try. If growing from seed they should be planted now to have healthy seedlings ready for planting out in November, the popular idea being that Melbourne Cup day is the ideal time.
I don’t suppose the tomatoes will object if the Melbourne Cup is not actually run, but the soil should be warmed up a little by then and this will give your plants a good start. Staggering the planting time with a two-week break between plantings will see you with a continuous supply during the summer months instead of having them all coming in at the same time.
If growing the taller varieties, placing the stakes or other supports in place when planting the seedlings will prevent root disturbance which will affect their progress. Leave at least one metre between plants (I prefer a little more) which helps prevent overcrowding and transmission of disease. It also makes it easier to pick your fruit and to control weeds around the base of the plant.
Plants need fertilizing on a regular basis with either granular or liquid types and if you are short on space you can also grow these in pots if you take a little extra care of them.