There are many great benefits to growing fresh fruit, including the health benefits from spending time in the garden and harvesting delicious fruit to enjoy through the seasons.
It’s also great to have an array of fruit growing and available as they ripen to enjoy fresh or in cooking.
Here’s a few ways to grow your own delicious fruit…
Types of fruit to grow
Choosing fruit to grow will depend on your climate conditions and the space you have available.
Before purchasing plants do some research into which fruits grow well in your climate. If you’re in a cool climate then choose plants that like low temperatures like apples and stone fruit and in warmer climates choose plants suited to sub-tropical and tropical conditions, like dwarf bananas and pawpaw or papaya.
Although there are some plants available for cooler climates and have tropical varieties, like Blueberries or Pears and citrus are generally suited to most areas of Australia!
Before purchasing fruiting plants I like to visit Daley’s Fruit Tree Nursery online – https://www.daleysfruit.com.au/
They have a great range of plants available to order and many videos on growing fruit varieties on their website. Definitely worth a visit to this site!
Where to grow fruit
When deciding where to grow fruit, there’s a few things to take into consideration…
What size does the plant grow to, how much sun does your garden receive and are there any safety considerations, eg if growing in a communal garden within aged care home could the plant pose any health risks to residents.
Find more information on this here – https://soiltosupper.com/episode-020-growing-your-favourite-plants/ with extra links to more information on this page.
Fruit can be grown successfully in the garden or in pot and large containers.
When growing in gardens ensure the soil is healthy and nutrients added prior to planting. Follow the steps in my article here to improve the soil – https://soiltosupper.com/5-easy-ways-to-feed-your-garden-and-grow-more-food/
Growing larger trees will require a large hole dug in the ground, compost and fertiliser added to the soil and covered with mulch once planted. Some trees require staking to support growth for the first 2-3 months. After this time I suggest removing stakes to allow strong root growth on the trees.
If you don’t have garden space available then many fruit varieties grow very well in pots. A few of my favourites are Meyer Lemon, which is lemon crossed with orange to produce sweet juicy fruit, blueberries grow best in a large tub as they are happier on their own and strawberries grow well in a wide pot or hanging baskets.
For extra tips on growing fruit trees, watch my Masterclass as a group activity with your residents – https://youtu.be/alE_QMSA5RM
Care of your plants
Most fruiting varieties are hungry little things, so to keep them well fed follow a simple method of feeding all plants each season, i.e. 4 times per year.
Set a basic schedule to feed all fruiting plants at the start of each season and refer to my article above on 5 Ways to Feed Your Garden for information on applying fertiliser. I use a good quality organic pellet fertiliser for feeding all the garden and potted plants.
Something else to consider is growing companion plants to support the growth of your fruiting plants. Read all about good companions here – https://soiltosupper.com/how-to-grow-companion-plants-in-your-garden/ and also keep an eye on pest or disease problems (this will be minimal if you follow my feeding garden guide!)
If you find problems in the garden please post questions in my facebook Soil to Supper Club and I’ll provide solutions for you https://www.facebook.com/groups/soiltosupperclub
I’ve previously published a podcast episode on this topic of growing fruit, so please have a listen here…and include your residents too as I’m sure your gardeners will find extra ideas within the episode.
Growing and harvesting fruit is very rewarding and especially good for residents to be involved as they will gain confidence with gardening and enjoy social interaction with others, while harvesting fruit to share with the kitchen or their families.
Sounds quite sweet to me!
If you have any questions about gardening activities or establishing a gardening program please contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing with you,
Cath Manuel is a Horticulturist specialising in therapeutic gardening and kitchen gardens. She is the Founder of Soil to Supper which provides online and onsite programs and services. Cath has many years’ experience in the horticulture industry and has a great passion for sharing her knowledge to inspire and support people of all ages and abilities to enjoy gardening for improved health and wellbeing.
Find more on therapeutic gardening at www.soiltosupper.com