Growing Fruit in Containers
by RM Alexander
There are few things as delightful as reaching out of your window to pick a luscious ripe peach off a tree growing on your patio or balcony. We love container gardening. We have two peach trees growing in large pots, sited out of the wind, on the patio. I also plant alpine strawberries round the edge of the same pots which crop plentifully right through the summer giving us a dozen or so fruits each day. I can heartily recommend growing fruit in containers as a happy, healthy, fulfilling pastime. I love photography so here are photos of our fruit.
It's surprising how much fruit will happily grow in large containers providing they are kept well watered. I plant in a mixture of multi purpose compost and garden soil plus some long life fertiliser.
Even a small balcony will have room for a couple of fruit trees. Last year we harvested three kilos of lovely cherries and the birds had their share as well. They were followed by blueberries (which need ericaceous compost, so are better in tubs anyway). Growing two different varieties meant a longer season. We had three different apple varieties which cropped over six weeks.
Nowadays fruit-tree breeders have introduced really dwarf trees which are amazingly fruitful at an early age. The main problem about growing fruit in containers is making sure they have enough water and if you are concerned about weight on the balcony you can put some broken polystyrene in the bottom of the pots which also helps drainage.
As well as the sweet little alpine strawberries I have some hanging baskets with standard strawberry plants. Keeping them off the ground keeps them out of the way of slugs and keeps them clean also.
This year I am training a standard shape gooseberry in a pot. It should be easier to pick the fruit without getting scratched. I am thinking about putting in a grape vine and training it up an obelisk or a trellis against the house wall. Think of picking your own grapes!
In the future I am considering a fig tree in a pot and maybe an olive tree as well. I do already have a sweet little lemon tree which gave me eighteen lemons last year that made delicious lemon curd - a favourite treat in our family.
Growing fruit in containers on your own balcony or patio means that you know it hasn't been sprayed with chemicals and it is so very fresh when picked and eaten in an instant. Why not have a go at growing your own fruit salad and have the additional joy of seeing all the blossom in the spring.