Growing a fruit garden is, in many ways, an investment. An investment in:
- Money — dollars spent on perennial plants and possibly some garden tools or equipment,
- Time — the time to get the garden prepared and planted,
- Effort — the regular upkeep of maintaining the plants and harvesting the “goodies.”
To maximize the return on that investment, it helps to do a bit of garden planning and ask yourself some questions before planting a fruit garden. Among the first to ask are:
- What fruit do you and your family like to eat?
- How much time do you have to tend the garden?
- Do you expect to harvest and preserve a major amount of your food from this garden or just enjoy an occasional sweet treat for fresh eating?
This will help you focus on some plants to consider as you get started. From there, you can look into whether the fruit you enjoy eating will grow where you live. You’ll have to consider:
Climate — how cold your winter is or how hot and dry is the summer; what is the typical length of frost free season in your area; or even does your winter offers enough chilling? These will all effect what you grow.
Soil — some soils are sandy and well drained, others are heavy and water holding; some are nutrient rich, others need adjustment to properly release their nutrients. What you have may influence what will grow best in your garden. You may also be able to improve your soil conditions to better suit what you want to grow. Dig into the details on dirt here.
Sunlight — almost all fruit bearing plants need an average of 6 or more hours of sunlight daily to produce to their fullest. Choosing an appropriate spot for your future fruit garden can have a big influence on whether it thrives or struggles to produce in years to come.
Space — what you have available may dictate whether you can plan on acres of full size trees or whether a few containers planted with dwarf trees or bushes would be more realistic.
Time — how much do you have devote to your garden? Some early garden planning will help you make the best your time. Other articles in this series will help you choose plants wisely and allow you to efficiently use your time for growing a successful harvest to enjoy!
Perfect Place for a Fruit Garden
Selecting the Healthy Fruit Tree or Berry Bush
Pollination — A Sexy Time in the Fruit Garden
Fruit Gardening with Minimal Pest Control — resistant varieties — coming soon
How Much Fruit will a Berry Bush or Fruit Tree Yield — coming soon
©2013. Adapted from the Backyard Berry Book: A hands-on guide to growing berries, brambles, and vine fruit in the home garden and the Backyard Orchardist: A complete guide to growing fruit trees in the home garden by Stella Otto.