Fruits as part of landscape

If you pick the right varieties, you can have raspberries the same year you plant them. Like their sister the strawberry, they give a lot quickly without demanding too much of your time and effort.
Fruits are healthy. And nothing beats fresh fruits from your own garden, especially when you grow them without chemicals.

We can harvest them when they are perfectly ripe and full of flavor and vitamins.

Unfortunately many people hardly have the space or time to grow a fully fledged orchard. The good news, however, is that today, thanks to science, new varieties of fruit trees are available in the market that solves this problem.

It is now possible to get traditionally large fruit trees maturing and giving you plenty of fruit at only a metre high.

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These new varieties are also disease and drought resistant. This means that grown right, they will need little maintenance to thrive, leaving you more time to just sit back and enjoy. Here are a few tips for growing fresh fruits.

Mix and match

The idea of mixing fruit and ornamental plants is as practical as it is beautiful. Imagine a garden filled with fruit trees; vines, perennials like raspberries and annuals such as peppers and eggplants mixed in with ornamental flowers and shrubs.

Blended this way, the fruits become part and parcel of your garden space. You can treat them as part and parcel of your landscaping and not as special plants requiring their own space and additional maintenance.

Planting and maintenance

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Growing fruits does not have to be labour intensive.

To keep maintenance to a minimum, concentrate on more permanent fruit trees and perennials.

Annuals are usually a little fussier. Select fruits that you like to eat. A certain fruit may look cool, but if you detest it, it will waste your time and eventually go to waste.

Go for grafted seedlings rather than trying to grow from seeds.

Grafted seedlings produce tastier fruits a lot faster. Select a level, well drained and sunny spot and make a hole that’s twice as deep and wide as your seedling’s root ball.

Keep in mind the eventual size of the tree or shrub and space them well.

A lot fruit trees don’t produce maximum fruit because they are in shade or shade each other out due to overcrowding. Take care of your soil and it will take care of your fruits.

Make sure that the native soil is good or build raised beds and import decent soil. Add compost and fertilizer and water well.

You will also need to stake your seedling if necessary and prune to remove branches that are growing downwards or clamping together.

- The writer is a landscape architect  

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