Last year I was lucky enough to secure a property with a good size garden with a wonderful selection of well-established fruit trees. Having lived here for almost a year I have had a chance to enjoy each of the different fruit as they have come into season.
The last owners maintained a veritable orchard and market garden in the back garden. My garden has oranges, lemons, olives, nectarines, peaches, figs, apricots and two varieties of apples and pears. Most needed a good prune when we arrived as they had become overgrown.
I decided not to spray the fruit trees or provide any extra fertilisers for the trees and they have produced bags of fruit. Much of the produce I have had to share with the local bats, birds and assorted bugs. The birds and bats were however a great guide to the readiness of the fruit on the tree, very handy to novice fruit growers like myself.
I have had to become a master of preserving fruit, making jam and curing olives, to keep up with the supply. My favourites so far have been the peach jam and the pear butter. The peaches have been our success story, with many servings of apple pear or peach crumble, jars of preserved peach sections and the wonderful peach jam. My attempts at curing the olives did not go so well. I started with a huge pile of olives, several buckets in fact, but only ended up with enough properly cured to fill one jar. After some trial and error, I found dry curing with rock salt worked the best.
Another benefit has been the ability to share the produce from our garden with our neighbours, family and friends. Handing over a bag of fresh organic fruit is a great way to meet and make friends. It seems every visitor I have had in the last 2-3 months has gone home with a small bag of fruit or a pot of jam or marmalade. Excess fruit has also been handed over to volunteers for the school fete to make into jams and preserves for sale.
Throughout summer the fruit trees also provide spring blossoms, a great deal of shade in summer, and as they are deciduous, allow the light in during winter. Having a fruit tree is a little like magic, if you have an empty fruit bowl in the kitchen, you can just walk out to the garden and return with an armful of delicious apples or peaches. What could be better.
If you think garden and your fruit bowl could benefit from some fruit trees and would like some help getting started contact us via the link below.