Planning a Fruit Garden

Get your fruit garden off to a great start by implementing these techniques for planning a fruit garden.

| September 14, 2012

  • Grow Fruit Naturally
    “Grow Fruit Naturally” by gardening expert Lee Reich provides more than 30 in-depth profiles of fruits and shows how to successfully grow them using all-natural growing techniques.
    Cover Courtesy The Taunton Press
  • Working With Microclimates
    Microclimate comes into play with spring frost hazard. A difference of a few degrees of temperature can spell the difference between a bountiful harvest and just a few, or no, fruits. Hence the importance of a microclimate.
    Illustration Courtesy The Taunton Press
  • Apple Orchard
    Apples need cross-pollination, so a ‘McIntosh’ tree needs another variety, such as ‘Red Delicious’, nearby to bear fruit.
    Photo By Fotolia/xalanx
  • Pollination
    Within the flower, pollen from the anthers unites with egg cells in the stigmas to form seeds, and in so doing stimulates the development of the fleshy covering around the seed—the fruit!
    Illustration Courtesy The Taunton Press
  • Parts Of The Flower
    Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male parts of a flower (the anthers) to the female parts of a flower (the stigmas).
    Illustration Courtesy The Taunton Press
  • Grafted Tree
    The “rootstock” of a grafted plant provides merely the roots and a short length of trunk upon which is grafted the stem of a desired variety; all growth above the graft, which always remains at the same height, is of the grafted variety.
    Illustration Courtesy The Taunton Press
  • Spacing Between Fruit Plants
    The distance you should set your plant away from other plants, buildings, or walls depends on how big your plant(s) will eventually grow. Eventual size is determined by the richness of the soil, pruning, and a plant’s inherent vigor.
    Chart Courtesy The Taunton Press
  • Approximate Fruit Yields
    A selection of plants that bear fruit over a long season lets you spread out the harvest and preserve the bounty at a more leisurely pace and extends the season during which you can enjoy fresh fruit.
    Chart Courtesy The Taunton Press

  • Grow Fruit Naturally
  • Working With Microclimates
  • Apple Orchard
  • Pollination
  • Parts Of The Flower
  • Grafted Tree
  • Spacing Between Fruit Plants
  • Approximate Fruit Yields

Pick luscious fruit right from your own sunny balcony, suburban lot or orchard with the help of the ultimate fruit growing guide, Grow Fruit Naturally (The Taunton Press, 2012) by Lee Reich. Grow the best-tasting apples, blueberries and more with natural practices ranging from cross-pollination to irrigation methods. An encyclopedic listing of fruits presents comprehensive information on individual fruit care and needs. Learn the basic requirements for creating a fruit garden in this excerpt taken from Chapter 1, “Planning Your Fruit Garden.” 

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Grow Fruit Naturally. 

The weather is springlike, and fruit plants in color-splashed mail-order catalogs and at local nurseries tempt you with possibilities of luscious harvests for years to come. You pay your money, you dig holes, and you plant, but will you realize your tasty dream? Yes, if you plan before planting!

What requires attention in planning is sunlight, climate (including temperatures and rainfall), pollination needs, plant spacing, and how much of particular kinds of fruits you’d like to harvest. The most straightforward approach is to plan your fruits around the existing conditions in your yard and the varieties of plants that can flourish there.



Sunlight Requirements

One of the most important considerations in determining where to plant and what to grow is sunlight, which you can influence to some degree.

Most fruit plants need full sunlight, which means 6 hours or more of unobstructed sunlight each day from spring through autumn. If your yard lacks this much sunlight, consider your options for gaining more light. For example, are there trees you can cut down or back? Or go ahead and plant, realizing that there will be some sacrifice in yield and your plants will be more susceptible to diseases. Another alternative is to plant fruits such as gooseberries or currants, which thrive in shade.






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