Growing Fruit in containers

If you have a terrace or patio, why not try growing fruit trees in large containers such as pots or tubs? Apples, pears, plums, peaches, apricots and figs can all be grown in this way. A good idea, especially with apples, pears and plums, is to buy ‘family trees’, which have three or four varieties of the same kind of fruit grafted onto each tree. This is particularly useful if you are short of space because it means that you do not need to buy several trees to ensure cross-pollination of the flowers. If possible, make sure the trees are on dwarfing rootstocks. Family trees can be grown as pyramids, bushes or fans.

Good varieties of apple for container growing are Cox’s Orange Pippin, Sunset and Discovery (dessert), and Grenadier and Lane’s Prince Albert (cooking). Suitable pears include Williams’ Bon Chretien, Conference and Doyenne Jit Cornice, while plums that can be grown this way include Victoria and Jefferson’s Gage.

Gooseberries and red currants could be grown as half-standards in containers—rather like a standard rose but on a 1.2 m (4’) stem.

Strawberries can be grown in wooden barrels with 7 cm (3”) holes drilled in the sides in which to insert the plants. It is essential to provide a central core of drainage material. You can fit many plants into an average-sized barrel. Alternatively, you can use special strawberry pots or ‘towers’.

Blackberries and loganberries do well in large pots or tubs and can be trained against the house wall or a fence. Again choose the decorative cut-leaved black-berry.

Vegetables among the flowers Vegetables of various kinds can be grown successfully among border plants and shrubs. A number of the dwarf varieties could be used for edging a bed or border, as could herbs. Chives make a very good edging, as does parsley, especially the markedly curled varieties such as Moss Curled.

French beans are also suited to a front-row position and could be grown either as a continuous edging or in groups among other low-growing plants. Beetroot is another good choice, again making groups among low-growing border plants—the purple foliage is very pretty and looks particularly striking with silver-leaved ornamental plants. The green, fernlike foliage of carrots also makes a pleasant contrast with more colourful plants.

Groups of lettuces are also recommended for front-row work, particularly the variety Salad Bowl, with its deeply-cut curled leaves. Endive, a lettuce-like salad vegetable, could be tried; choose the moss-curled kind which is by far the most decorative.

Radishes may be sown in any small space between dwarf plants, as can spring onions and early turnips. Bush tomatoes are also highly recommended, especially Tiny Tim which is only 37.5 cm (15”) high. It is an early cropper, producing tiny but delicious fruit.

Larger vegetables are best grouped with the taller border plants or shrubs. Some could be permanent crops, such as globe artichokes, whose very handsome foliage looks well with tall border plants such as delphiniums.

Outdoor tomatoes can be grouped here and there among ornamental plants during the summer. Peas can be grown up a trellis or a wigwam of hazel sticks. Choose the early varieties of pea rather than maincrop ones—for example, Early Onward and Kelvedon Wonder. Feltham

First does not need sticks as it is a dwarf variety. The edible-podded mangetout, or sugar pea, is particularly productive and therefore ideally suited to a small garden.

Runner beans are of course especially suitable for growing up a trellis, or wigwam of sticks, the brilliant scarlet flowers being extremely attractive in a border.

30. August 2013 by admin
Categories: Fruit Gardening, Uncategorized, Vegetable Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Growing Fruit in containers

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