Don’t you just love summer fruit? Succulent figs, juicy passionfruit, fragrant peaches and the sweetness of a sun ripened strawberry… it’s hard to pick a favourite.
Growing your own fruit doesn’t mean you need to own an orchard either. Many are dwarf, some can be trained up a pergola or on the back fence and some can even be espaliered. The trick is to know what to grow where, so read on or pop in store to find out more details on growing your own this summer.
Figs (Ficus carica) are deciduous tree that prefer full sun. They can grow into a fair sized tree, or are great to keep trimmed down low as a hedge (as they fruit on current season’s growth) or espaliered against a fence. They’re self-fertile too, which means you don’t need multiple plants. They also get two flushes, one in December and another later on in summer, giving you more bang for your buck. They’re really tricky to transport, so growing your own figs will mean you have your own supply of bruise free fruit. Varieties include white Adriatic (good for jam), black Genoa – one of the highest yielding varieties with black
fruit with dark red flesh inside, or brown turkey (good eating).
Blueberries (Vaccinyum x corymbusum) are the perfect beginner fruit. They happily grow in pots (to 1m), have lovely spring flowers and produce masses of fruit (up to 4kg a year) all summer that is particularly delicious (and nutritious) so kids love grazing on them. Place them in acidic, free draining soil or potting mix and protect them from birds…who also like the odd blueberry! Make sure you choose a variety to suit your climate too, There are low chill types for Sydney and further north, a deciduous types for colder climates.
Passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) are a super fast evergreen vine with stunning flowers and a bonus bounty of fruit. They like a full sun position and are usually self pollinating, but having a healthy population of bees is needed. They also love a good feed of potash and regular water and mulching to help them grow. Check out our post here for more details on care and cultivation tips.
Strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) are a wonderful groundcover that grows in pots or in the ground and lasts for years, especially if you annually remove runners and dead leaves, then mulch them well. They prefer a full sun position, and once established will fruit over several months, especially if you feed them regularly with soluble fertiliser once flowering starts. Varieties include: Supreme, Sweetheart, Torrey and Selekta.
Peaches and Nectarines (Prunus persica) are a small deciduous tree that has wonderful spring blossom followed by delicious stone fruit. There are dwarf types, multi grafts and single grafts, and most are self-pollinating, meaning you only need the one tree. Varieties include:
Nectarine ‘Goldmine’ – freestone, white flesh variety. Best consumed fresh.
Nectarine ‘Crimson Baby’ – dwarf that grows well in pots with full size yellow / red blushed fruit
Peach ‘Golden Queen’ – clingstone, yellow flesh variety. Great fresh or preserved.
By: Meredith Kirton