Have you noticed that there is a growing trend towards growing food in one’s own back yard? It is no longer the practice of only a few tree-hugging ‘greenies’ or permaculture practitioners, but has become a pretty mainstream, trendy and, lets face it, sensible thing to do. Apart from the sheer delight of plucking a ripe and juicy fruit specimen off the tree in your own backyard for instant gratification of the senses, the benefits of eating produce that has been grown with a modicum of control regarding the use of pesticides and herbicides is immeasurable.
And the well-worn wail of “Id simply love to grow fruit trees but I have no space in my garden” does not cut it. With the help of the technique of Espalier and with so many new varieties being bred that can live hapily in tubs, there is no excuse. One gardener we know has a variety of fourteen different fruits growing in her 500sq meter section and she still has space for ornamentals, a pond, veggies and a small native forest – plus the house of course.
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The varieties of most fruits are now so plentiful that there is something to please all tastes – no matter how nuts about fruit you are! Or just how fruity you are!
‘Fruits and Nuts’ encompasses a broad spectrum of plants, but like most traditionally cultivated plants, they all generally enjoy well-drained moist soils that are high in humus. They do need regular attention in the form of annual pruning which helps to expose the branches to the sun and air which practice helps to produce a quality harvest. But hey, what is a bit of effort with the shears once a year in comparison to the prize pleasure of a freshly picked, juicy, sweet plum or pear or peach?
Ever heard that saying “nutty as a fruitcake” – how did nuts first become associated with being a little crazy? Well we all know how rich in nutritional content nuts are, and that no self-respecting fruitcake would be without them, so don’t be nuts, go nuts and grow nuts!