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!
A traditional old favourite. Strong upright growth habit and heavy yielding producing high-quality fruits in long bunches of medium-sized crimson berries. Laxton is the most Mildew resistant variety. Flowers are produced later than most redcurrants thereby avoiding late frosts. Self fertile. Deciduous
Fruit is produced on the previous year’s growth and older shoots. Cut back the main branches by one-half after planting. Create a framework of 8-10 branches. Each Winter from year 3 shorten main shoots by one-half. Apply a general fertiliser in Spring.
Colour: White Habit: Rambling Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1m
Red currants are a great source of vitamin C. They are easy to grow and form attractive shrubs in the home landscape. The fruit can be picked fresh (if you beat the birds) or used for jams, jellies, juices and pies. Freezes well. Good heavy cropper. Ripe around December-January. Deciduous.
Red Currants differ from Black Currants in that they fruit on the older developed wood (branches) of the bush. Suitable for warmer areas including Auckland/Northland
Colour: White / Green Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.8m x 1.8m
A cross between a black currant and a gooseberry. Great for eating fresh or cooking. Forms a large bush with spines. The fruit is ripe when it goes almost black.
Prefers well drained moist soil. Plant is sun to part shade. Frost hardy. Deciduous.