How to Make Patio Fruit Trees Work for Your Garden

The benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables are something that we are all well aware of. Eating our “five a day” has become a great benchmark for us all to adhere to as we try to stay fit and healthy.

Boost Your Fruit Intake

Eating vegetables is the easy part, as we can simply eat our greens with a tasty steak or chicken breast – but remembering to eat enough fruit is something many of us neglect.
Patio Fruit Trees
Often this will not be intentional, but will simply be because we are too busy to nip to the greengrocers or the supermarket to pick up a bag of apples or oranges. One way we can help to boost our intake of fresh fruit is to invest in a patio fruit tree. These can be placed in even the smallest of gardens or patios and produce fruit that is much fresher and better value for money than supermarket fruit.

Midget Fruit Trees

These are often referred to as dwarf or midget fruit trees and can be obtained from a number of garden centres and online suppliers. They are usually grafted on to a dwarfing rootstock – This stops them from getting too large but does not compromise the size of the fruit whatsoever.

Positioning and Care

In order to give your patio fruit tree the best potential for growth possible, it is prudent to adopt a south facing aspect. This has been known to produce the most abundant crops and should have your plant bearing fantastic fruit in no time at all. Plums, nectarines and peaches all flower at the start of spring so it is also a good idea to protect them from any lingering frost in the early months by covering them with a protective fleece or even storing them under cover. That said, pollinating insects should also be able to roam freely so allow access to your patio fruit trees from the garden.

Maintenance

If growing your patio fruit trees in garden pots, it is a good idea to use a good quality fertiliser during the spring and summer months.  This will ensure that any nutrients used up are replaced and that your tree will maintain its foliage and fruit. Also keep an eye on the compost during hot weather and make sure this does not completely dry out, as this could be detrimental to the amount of fruit that your midget fruit tree will produce.

Written by Alan Hamilton on behalf of Mirror Reader offers – the Daily & Sunday Mirror’s reader offers shop. Alan is a keen gardener who finds it hard to stay indoors, even in the harshest of winter weather.

Advertisements

Your New Year’s Resolutions!

london eye

Last week we asked you for your new year’s resolutions on Facebook and love the responses we got:

Cat:

Finally finish writing something!

Barry:

Carry out orders of Head Gardener less painful that way.

Jacqui:

To laugh more!

Jackie:

Stop my dog digging my lovely garden.

Captain:

Tonnes of them.

Judi:

More reading, more learning and more development for 2013.

Jennifer:

Yes I did make one…’I will not be sucked into bargain corners of DIY sheds’…. One tiny little trip this morning to B&Q for paint = No paint and 3 ragged Dicksonias later..

Liz:

NEVER.

Sheila:

Do more in garden if can . . don’t spend enough time on it.

Shirley:

Yea I did new diet lol cause I haven’t got a garden lol

Tracy:

Well I did a silly one. Mine was to stop telling everyone (who didn’t care) when my favourite footballer scores a goal. Worked well up to yesterday (New Years’ Day) when he decided to score 2 in the same match lol

Gabrielle:

This year I’m setting myself a little goal and planting a little veg garden and planting a few fruit trees.

Barry:

Add more plant to garage roof, snowdrops in flower, even have self-seeded verbena.

Jim:

Stay living in an attic flat…no digging…

Laura:

I have major plans to transform our garden into a fab sensory one for my son – just got to wait for the builders to stop churning it up first! I also have a very happy boy with his new bubble wall from Primrose – he is full of the horrible cold, but as soon as the runny nose goes I’ll get a photo for you.

Maggie:

To get the garden shed re-felted asap.

 

 

We wish you all good luck!

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.

How did you keep calm over Christmas?

kosala buddha entries

We recently held a competition to win one of three Kosala Buddha water features.

We have had some fantastic replies and thought we’d share the best suggestions here:

  • All of the above
  • Calm myself down with a spot of sea gazing … Nothing beats sea air and crashing waves to clear your head :)
  • Embrace it all, it’s only once a year & the children love it (so do we, watching them)x
  • Enjoy it! It’s only 24hrs and if something is forgotten it will be half price within a couple of days!
  • Gardening and wood cutting
  • Get stressed and drink more tea than seems humanly possible.
  • I simply do not stress about christmas, as I remember it is a time for love and not stress! when I do get stressed, I meditate!
  • I’m naturally calm anyway so its not a problem ….
  • Just go with the flow
  • Keep Calm, Eat Chocolate
  • Keep calm?…I don’t!
  • Let it go over my head, just thinking about all the arrangements makes my head hurt!
  • switch the christmas lights on
  • There is only myself and my dog plus fish inside and out so i do everything to make sure we have good food and we can relax watch telly and just please ourselves and if anyone turns up then thats a bonus Happy Christmas to all x
  • Watch Dr Who for hours!!!

How did you keep calm over Christmas?

We also love one of our competition winners pictures – here’s the water feature in Tanya’s mum’s house:

Buddha

Thanks to everyone that entered!

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.

Mr Digwell’s Gardening Tips for January

The exciting part of New Year is the expectation – how is the year going to turn out and, especially in the garden, will it be the same as last year?

Hope not! Certainly the weather was the overriding factor affecting the garden last year, and if you are in to veggies, like me, then it was a complete wash out – literally! I actually chased my potatoes in a six inch torrent of water that was travelling faster than I could run. And to think that we moved here thinking that because we were on a hill we would have no flooding troubles.

But it never is the same and, over the years, we have found the garden has a life of its own. Yes, we can plan and change stuff, but the garden has its own character that always shines through, and we do our best to foster that character.

The Christmas tree in January..

Last year we had a real Christmas tree and one of the first jobs of January was to recycle the remains. We normally have an artificial tree, but that year, the real one came out of a disaster – a car had come off the road and crashed into a copse of young firs, so we took advantage of the situation, and as no one was hurt, it seemed the right thing to do.

Christmas trees, like most pines, are full of resin, and do not rot so easily. Therefore we simply chopped up the branches and use them as mulch. The main stem was sawn for the fire and the ashes poured into the compost heap.

Snowdrops!

IMG_0697

Snowdrops in the cracks of the paving

Snowdrops are a favourite for January, such a delicate plant to look at, but this little beauty is as tough as old boots. I am naturalizing them about the garden, but they seem to do that all on their own too, setting seed everywhere, even in the cracks of the paving.

Snowdrops are dug up in August and then simply pushed into the ground in their new location- and quite forgotten until they pop up with a shout in late December – early January. They do well in the barest of soils, the only real care they need is to be left alone, and not walked on. Once they have flowered, let them grow leaves for several months, so they can manufacture more of the corms that we distribute around the garden in high summer.

Another job for January is the lawn. Work off all those extra dinners of the festive season by aerating the lawn, if not too wet, and also trim up the edges, a job which always improves the lawn’s appearance. When I had one to play with, January was the ideal time for working on the gutters of bowling greens, getting them just right – we tend to forget the lawn is at its weakest, and likely it’s most vulnerable at the edges.

Think Spring!

You may remember one of my earlier blogs was about putting dahlias to bed for the winter, in a frost free place, having dug up the tubers, divided and dusted with sulphur powder, and set them in a cool but frost free place. Now is time to give them a check for rot of any kind. Open them up and have a good inspection for any signs of rotting, bad odours, blackness, weeping or anything else untoward. Remove any offenders and repack for a couple of months to continue their sleep. We need to inspect them because they would infect the whole set if left, which would be a disaster.

If you haven’t already done so, dig over your plots, making sure you are careful not to damage roots of trees and shrubs, and if you can, give them a good mulch of well-rotted compost. Take special care of young fruit trees at this time of the year, as well as the compost mulch, make sure they are secure in the ground, so they will not be blown about by the wind and weather of January, and if they are in their second year, you can prune them. All you need to think about is making them into a goblet shape – so the drying summer wind can reduce the humidity around the plant, reducing fungal infections.

Cut away small branches that turn inward or cross and touch another, and that’s all you need to do to give the plant a successful start to the year.

2012-12-27 11.39.55

Sow onions in large numbers in a box of compost

You can sow onions seeds now. Don’t mess about fiddling with a few seeds in small modules. Get a wooden box or seed tray and fill it full of seeds. Water and keep warm. You will end up with a Mohican hair-cut of onions growing, which you can tease apart and then transplant in April. And while we’re on the subject of sowing, start hoeing your parsnip bed – these seeds are in the ground for a long time – hoe and give a dressing of general purpose organic fertilizer and then cover with plastic sheeting to warm the soil in preparation.

Mr Digwell gardening cartoon logo

Paul Peacock studied botany at Leeds University, has been the editor of Home Farmer magazine, and now hosts the City Cottage online magazine. An experienced gardener himself, his expertise lies in the world of the edible garden. If it clucks, quacks or buzzes, Paul is keenly interested.

He is perhaps best known as Mr Digwell, the cartoon gardener featured in The Daily Mirror since the 1950s. As Mr Digwell he has just published his book, A Year in The Garden. You can also see more about him on our Mr Digwell information page.