How To's & Fruit Tricks

A How-To Guide for Starting a Fruit Garden

July 19, 2017

From summer’s sweet strawberries to fall’s crisp apples, there’s nothing quite like biting into a piece of fruit that you grew yourself. So what’s one of the main reasons why people don’t have a fruit garden you ask? Most people just don’t know how to get started. So whether you’re planting in a pot or a plot, here are a few things every first time gardener should know.

Start Small

Almost every gardener will tell you that it’s better to be proud of a small garden than to be frustrated by a big one. When the urge to start your own garden strikes, it may be tempting to transform your entire backyard into a miniature fruit farm, but that can be a lot (and we mean a lot) of work for first time gardeners. Instead, pick a small piece of land (typically 16X10 is a good start), and start out growing one type of fruit. Once you’ve got the hang of that one, expand and start growing other kinds of fruit.

Deciding Where to Plant

Now that you know how big your plot is going to be, it’s time to figure out where it’s going to go.

  • Pick a sunny spot. Fruit needs a lot of sun to grow strong and healthy. Too much shade won’t necessarily kill your plants, but it will make them less fruitful.
  • Choose well-drained soil. If your house already sits on top of well-drained soil, you’re in luck! Fruit plants hate having wet feet, so loamy soil is a must. If you don’t have well drained soil in your backyard, you can pick up a few bags at almost any home improvement store.
  • If you’re planting on a plot, which direction your slope should face is a highly debated topic, since both come with pros and cons. A southern slope tends to be more hot and dry, but can work well if it’s protected by a windbreak. On the other hand, a northern facing slope may not offer enough sun, leaving your fruit damp and susceptible to bacteria.

Gather Your Tools

The right tools can mean the difference between spending five hours working on your garden, and two. While everyone will need slightly different tools depending on what they’re growing, most gardeners will need these basics.

  • Used for digging small holes and picking weeds.
  • Gardening gloves. Gloves don’t just keep your hands clean, they protect you from bugs, chemicals, and sharp rocks.
  • Sun hat. If you’re working outside all day, a wide-brimmed sun hat will protect you from harmful UV rays.
  • Watering can or hose. If your garden requires a lot of water, you may want to pick a location that’s close to a water source.
  • A roundhead shovel will help you dig larger holes, which are necessary for growing fruit trees.
  • If you’re starting a garden from scratch, a rake will quickly become your new best friend. A rake will help you spread mulch and capture any debris that falls on your garden.

Decide What to Grow

While deciding what to grow usually depends on your diet, you should also consider starting with fruits that are easier to maintain, like:

  • Strawberries can grow in pots or in the ground, making them a great choice for homes on both the East and West coast. Strawberries are also a quick producing plant that needs little room to grow.
  • Ever dreamed of having a miniature vineyard in your backyard? While we may not be able to help you turn them into wine, we can give you some tips on how to grow the best grapes. Start with a vine instead of grape seeds — they’re faster growing and require less maintenance. And before you plant the vine, let it soak in a bowl of water for two to three hours.
  • Because watermelons aren’t a “self-cling” plant, you’ll have to add some support for the vines. But other than that, watermelons do a great job of caring for themselves!
  • Fruit trees. Don’t limit yourself to just ground-growing fruit. Lemon trees, apple trees, and mango trees are fast growing and a beautiful addition to any home and garden.

 

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