Autumn - Time to Plant Fruit in the Garden

Autumn - Time to Plant Fruit in the Garden

Autumn is the time when we’ll notice fruit ripening on trees and bushes and it’s harvest time for lots of varieties of fruit - gardeners will be filling their baskets over the next couple of months. And Autumn is also the best time for planting fruit, soil temperatures are still warm and they have all Winter to settle into their new home before the growth in Spring. Whether you plan on growing some plants in the ground or in containers, there are varieties to suit every garden and indeed every gardener. Lots of recent studies are praising getting out and doing some gardening doing wonders for physical and mental health, so add that to getting a bit of home grown fruit, you’ve plenty of reasons to get out and do up some pots or get some plants in the ground. The trees, plants and fruit bushes planted in Autumn will also need less watering the following Summer and will establish a healthy root system more quickly. With the current weather we are experiencing, ground conditions will be in good order for getting lots of plants in the ground and just follow up with a good watering after planting.

A few varieties of fruit you could consider and amongst my own favorites would be Rhubarb, a very easy plant to grow that produces lots of tasty stalks every year and unlike lots of other fruit or veg it can be ready to harvest as early as February or March. Rhubarb likes an open, sunny or partially shaded site, and rich, moist soil. It will grow well in a sunny, open site, on a wide range of soils, as long as it has been well-prepared with plenty of manure or compost. You can grow rhubarb in a container but you'll get much better results from growing rhubarb in the ground. Plant them about 3 feet apart and a good mulch of well rotted manure at this time of the year and a liquid feed in Spring.

Blueberries - reckoned to be one of the highest in antioxidant levels of all common fruit and veg - They prefer acidic soil or, if you need to, you can grow them in a pot or container with ericaceous compost. Best situated in a sunny sheltered spot and keep them well watered - if you have a water butt and can give them rainwater - all the better. These fruits will start to ripen from mid Summer - pick them gradually as not all the fruit will ripen at the same time. Very happy to grow in our climate - if you choose a couple of different varieties you’ll have an increased yield compared to one plant on its on and they also make an excellent ornamental shrub - lovely white flowers in Spring and the foliage gets a great Autumnal colour

It’s also a great time to plant Apple trees and there’s loads to choose from but a great one to consider is the Coronet Dwarf Family Apple tree - this has two varieties on the one tree - so it is pollinated with no need for a second tree - and you can grow it in a container or out in your garden - like most fruit it prefers a sunny sheltered site and keep well watered during dry spells. Usually you’ll get the variety James Grieve with Elstar or Cox's Orange pippin with James Grieve - they’ll all fruit in their first year - beautiful blossom in the Spring and great Autumn colour along with tasty home grown fruit in Autumn. These also make a fabulous gift - very easy to grow and can be placed in a pot on the patio or a balcony or planted in the garden. They only reach a height of around 5 feet and don’t need much in the way of pruning or maintenance. We also have lots of Duo Trees - these are trees that have two stems of different fruit varieties coming from the one root stock - so perhaps two pears or two plums or two apple varieties coming from the one root stock, reaching around 10 or 12 feet once matured so ideal in a sunny sheltered spot in the garden.

September is the perfect time to plant Strawberries, Pick a sheltered sunny area and consider square or rectangular beds that are easy and convenient to set up some netting to keep the birds away from your fruit in Summer. Space the plants about a foot apart and have the rows around 2 or 2 and a half foot apart. You can also grow them in containers, making sure you keep them well watered and feed with a high potash feed like tomato feed or Nutri One

You can also grow currants and raspberries and plums, pears and damsons, quince, tayberries gooseberries - whatever takes your fancy - but now is the perfect time for getting them in the ground and look forward to harvesting them this time next year and perhaps filling the presses with home made jams and jellies and juices or tarts or just eating fresh from the trees or shrubs

A few jobs for the week ahead;

  • Skimmia shrubs look great at this time of the year and are a great winter shrub - if you have some give some ericaceous feed - if you don’t have some consider using them as a pot filler
  • Sow seeds like Aquilegia, Lupins, Calendula and Hollyhock for flowers next Spring and Summer and perhaps prep the ground for sowing some wildflower seeds
  • You can plant Autumn Seed potatoes now for a harvesting in the Winter - you could have new spuds for Christmas dinner
  • Set your lawn up for the winter with some autumn lawn feed and consider scarifying and aerating the lawn 
  • Plant up your spring flowering bulbs - snowdrops, daffs, tulips, bluebells, alliums a lots more varieties - great for pots and beds
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