Fruit Trees for the Fresh Food Lover

Fruit Trees for the Fresh Food Lover

We all love fresh fruit salad and a juicy apple or fresh lemon. But there is nothing better than when you know it was grown with love in your own garden. Save yourself some of the hassle of researching fruit trees for the fresh food lover and find out what is available and a good place to start when growing your own fruit trees.

Clean lines and shapes and minimalist planting make this a dramatic garden!

At last, that sweet little fruit tree you planted last year may just be bearing fruit for you! Yes it is the time for many of our fruiting trees to produce after their summer blossoms. There are a surprising number of different fruit and nut trees available at retail and wholesale nurseries here in the Cape and we at Cape Contours Landscaping highly recommend at least one fruit tree in your garden. My granny had a very old Pomegranate tree in her garden that we used to love to sit in and eat the fruits. Peeling back the skin to reveal the jewel-like seeds was magical every time. In this blog we explore some of the available fruit trees for the fresh food lover.

Apples – Malus domestica cultivars

We get a lot of Apple cultivars here in the Cape, but its best to stick to the ones that are guaranteed sweet and dependable that you and your family enjoy. Apples like well composted, manure-rich fertiliser and bonemeal which encourages root formation, when planting.

  • Apple Early Red – a dark to medium red, medium sized, early harvesting apple that has a sweet flavour and dependable crunch. They will keep well once picked too. The tree has a vigorous growth habit which is upright and is a dependable fruiter.
  • Apple Golden Delicious – a yellow to limey green soft skinned apple of medium to large size. A gentler flavoured apple that is very sweet and with a crunchy texture. A favourite amongst many people and kids especially.
A beautiful roof garden for night-time entertainment is dramatic and low maintenance.
A beautiful roof garden for night-time entertainment is dramatic and low maintenance.

Nectarines – Prunus persica var. nuci persica

Nectarines are a delicious, and very sweet fruit that is basically a bald peach – a cultivar of the common peach. They are a member of the ‘stone-fruit’ family, meaning they have a hard nut-like seed in the middle. Stone fruit do not like wet feet and so a key to growing these trees and other members of the family like Peaches and Plums is not to overwater them. There are a number of Nectarine cultivars available and it is best to choose one on a small to medium sized tree that is easy to harvest.

  • Nectarine Mayglo – Bright red with light yellow flesh. A firm, fine, melting texture and sweet flavour. Harvests in November.
  • Nectarine Margaret’s Pride – A good red blush on a bright yellow skin. Very soft texture and juicy. Harvest in December.

 

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Peaches – Prunus persica

Firmer flesh and less juicy than a Nectarine, Peaches have a fine furry covering that can be washed off before eating. Peaches have the same growing requirements as Nectarines and also do not like being overwatered. Keep your peach and nectarine trees to a manageable height so you can easily harvest the fruit without needing a ladder, and plant a variety of different cultivars for successive ripening and harvesting throughout the summer.

  • Peach Oom Sarel – A strong producing, vigorous tree, that blooms in late August and has harvestable fruit in mid-December. A firm, non-melting and sweet flesh that is great for preserving and bottling.
Edgy rusty steel retaining and hardy succulent planting around a circular lawn
Edgy rusty steel retaining and hardy succulent planting around a circular lawn

Pomegranate – Punica granatum

Pomegranates grow best in areas with cold winters and long hot, dry summers – like here in the Cape. The fruit may not ripen if the summer season is too cool or too short. Pomegranates are very high in antioxidants and Vitamin C and are great for juicing even with their tiny pips in the fruits.

  • Pomegranate Wonderful – The best known fruiting pomegranate variety produces large deep purple-red fruit with deep crimson juicy flesh on a medium sized tree. The tree is vigorous and productive, with stunning flowers.
Colour in the garden from hardy perennials, succulents and grasses in a cohesive design
Colour in the garden from hardy perennials, succulents and grasses in a cohesive design

Citrus sinensis – Oranges and Clementines

Great, evergreen trees that produce in the winter months, Citrus trees are some of the easiest fruit trees to grow in your own garden. Ornamental yet productive, having handsome, shiny green leaves and fragrant flowers, they add wonderful scent and flavour to cooking and your home. Sunshine, quick-draining soil, airflow, infrequent deep watering and seasonal feeding are the keys to citrus success. In cold climates, plant the tree in spring, when the soil has warmed up.

  • Navel Orange Washington – A semi-upright, medium speed grower that produces medium to large oranges in late May to mid-June. Deep orange skin colour and a rich, sweet taste, these trees bear a lot of fruit if cared for correctly.
Colour in the garden from hardy perennials, succulents and grasses in a cohesive design

Fruit Tree Planting

Plant well-draining, humus rich soil in a hole just deeper than the size of the root ball with Bonemeal, good quality compost and tree specific fertilisers if recommended (check with your local nursery).Add these to the bottom of the planting hole to encourage the roots to go down and ensure the plant is well-rooted during its establishment years. Backfill the hole and ensure that the base of the stem is at the correct depth, level with the finished soil level and not below the soil, or this can ring bark the stem and cause the tree much stress and even death. Stake the tree with a timber stake during backfilling and attach a flexible tree-tie support to the stem and stake for added stability of the rootball. Pruning should be done in winter (except Citrus) when the plant is bare of leaves and general shaping again in summer before the flower buds form. Citrus do not really need pruning and if it is done it should be done in summer.

Raised/mounded beds

Planting your fruit trees in raised beds is a good idea. Planting on mounded soil will prevent drainage problems, collar rot and fungal diseases. Mulching is really important to keep the fine feeder roots closer to the surface of the soil cool.

Colour in the garden from hardy perennials, succulents and grasses in a cohesive design

Mulching

Mulching makes better use of your irrigation by up to 50% and brings back bio-activity to your soil like beneficial fungi, insects and earthworms.

Feeding

Don’t use heavy nitrogen fertilisers that encourage too many leaves and growth. Rather use fertilisers high in Phospherous and trace elements that promote flowering and fruiting.

Soil types & watering

Don’t worry about what rootstock your tree is grafted on as it is quite a confusing science. Just ask your supplier what soil types it will thrive in as this if often key to the success of your tree’s fruiting. Watering requirements and general feeding/fertilising needs are good to know too and will help you care for your tree and guarantee lots of delicious fruit.

Happy gardening!

Images and source credits:

http://www.stargrow.co.za

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV2kr50K7Is

http://www.thembatrees.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Availabilty.pdf

https://www.waimeanurseries.co.nz/our-products/fruit-trees/pomegranates/wonderful/

http://www.homelife.com.au/gardening/gardening-tips/citrus-trees

OpentheWord.org

Prairie Sky Orchard

Image finder

Wikipedia

Table Matters.com

By | 2017-04-05T11:46:37+00:00 April 9th, 2017|DIY Garden Guide, Garden Design Tips, Seasons Guide|3 Comments

About the Author:

Landscaping Solutions from the team at Cape Contours. We are always looking for garden design tips and tricks that we can share with our followers.

3 Comments

  1. Russell Gordon October 23, 2017 at 11:32 am - Reply

    I would like to plant a fig tree at my home in Melkbosstrand. Could you please advise on the type of fig tree that would be best suited for my area. Also please indicate availability and price of the tree.

    • Bridget Fogarty October 23, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      I’m not very familiar with which Fig trees grow well in Melkbosstrand. As it is a very sandy and harsh climate, the best idea would be to ask your local nursery for their advise. They will probably also only stock plants that can tolerate that specific environment, and will be able to provide more detailed info.

  2. graham November 20, 2017 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Russell I have baby fig trees. You are welcome to one. Graham

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