Most of us are trying to get our garden to work for us in many ways – somewhere to sit, somewhere to eat, somewhere for the kids to kick a football, somewhere to plant flowers, somewhere to store the bikes, lawnmower, BBQ etc. And so the list goes on, with so many things to squeeze in.
One of the most important functions for me is somewhere to grow some fruit and veg. I have a standard town garden so making sure everything is efficiently planned and looks great is essential. Over the years I have honed the veg plot in my garden to be the most efficient and productive as well as looking good at the same time.
So lets start with fruit, possibly the best producer for the least amount of effort. The most efficient fruit producers for space usage are trained fruit trees and bushes. The main ones include red currents, tayberries, blackberries, gooseberries, figs, plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots, apples and pears. There are other more unusual varieties as well but these are the easiest and most common.
For now we will cover apple trees. These are bred in the nurseries by grafting a stem onto a dwarfing rootstock to restrict their growth. This ensures that they put their energy into producing fruit rather than growth and without this they would take years before they come into fruit production and would end up as very large trees. There are several different types with varying amounts of dwarfing properties to suit any location from a pot to an open field. There are loads of different corresponding training forms but the easiest are cordons, espaliers and fan trained which will come on the relevant root stock.
In my garden I have a few super columns (also known as ballerinas) that are grown and pruned as a single vertical column that grows to about 7ft tall and takes up little space but still produce loads of fruit soon after planting. These can even be planted as close as 60cm (2ft) apart. Here’s a picture of the ‘Saturn’ variety of apple tree that I have in my garden.
This year it produced around 100 apples. And let’s just clarify that these are apples that taste amazing, crisp and sweet – the supermarket variety are not a patch on these. There are not many things better than walking out into your garden and eating an apple straight from the tree.
As well as being productive they produce loads of gorgeous blossom in the spring to rival ornamental cherry trees and of course attractive fruit to look at later on. You can plant bare routed fruit trees from mid November to March and pot grown any time of year. I will be posting a ‘quick and easy’ YouTube guide on how to plant a bare routed fruit tree soon.
Over the next year I’m going to be blogging about how to get the most fruit and veg out of your garden and I will be posting on YouTube a series of ‘quick and easy gardening’ guides on how to plant various fruit and veg – a total beginners guide in easy to understand language. So please check out my YouTube channel. You can also see my quick and easy guide on how to prune a trained apple or pear tree here