Having fresh fruit always on hand might seem like a luxury, but it’s possible to have it when you’re growing fruits at home. While the thought of having your own homegrown fruit is nice, some might be overwhelmed by this step. Fortunately, there are some easy fruits you can start off with.
It’s not even necessary to grow whole fruit trees at home. You can have fruit plants in small and medium-sized containers or larger bushes in your kitchen garden if there’s a lack of space. Here are some tips to remember before growing any kind of fruit; once you’ve got these down, your chances of success will go up:
Choose the Right Container
The smaller fruit plants will grow well in a container measuring 8 inches wide. Larger varieties might require some repotting into bigger containers once they’ve grown a bit.
You can choose between ceramic, terra cotta, and stone fruit containers. Each of these are good choices, but on the heavy side. Wood containers are also a decent choice, but they do run the risk of rotting away. Synthetic materials like polystyrene and plastic are inexpensive and durable, but might not be attractive enough for everyone.
Choose the Proper Potting Mix
With fruit containers, you have the advantage of getting a perfect choice. What you need is proper moisture retention, good drainage, and optimal aeration along with the feature of holding in nutrients. Don’ go for simple garden soil, so it won’t drain too easily and will also be heavy.
You can usually find potting mix that’s perfect for growing fruit in the market. Look for one with controlled-release fertilizer and moisture control; having all these in one package will reduce the number of times you have to water and feed your fruit plants.
Fertilize and Water
If you’re growing fruit in containers, remember that they’d need more watering than if the plants were directly in the ground. Water enough to soak the root ball and see how the water runs out of the container’s drainage hole. If it rushes out immediately, the potting mixture has probably dried out and isn’t absorbing moisture. In this case, you need to add the water slowly, just a little at a time.
Watering so frequently will also wash away some of the plant’s nutrients, so you’ll have to use plant feed every month or so. A liquid fertilizer that has micronutrients will be the best option. Look up the instructions for each specific kind of fruit before using the fertilizer on any plant. As long as your fruit plants get the proper security, water, soil, light, and air calculator, they should be hardy enough to last and give a plentiful harvest.
Pruning the Roots
Indoor plants will usually run out of space even if they’re adapted to their containers. You’ll know that this is the case when the root ball starts to garden, fruit production gets delayed, and the plant has stunted growth. In such cases, you’ll have to start pruning.
Begin by pruning the plant’s top by around a third. Then, take the plant out of the container and prune the root ball a few inches from the outside. You can then put the plant back in the same container using fresh soil. Water the whole thing well.
Acclimatize the Plants
If you have subtropical fruit plants and want to keep them inside when it’s winter, acclimatizing is necessary. The same goes for bringing the plants back out when the warmer weather comes around.
If the plants are going outside after winter is over, place them in the shade first. After a few days, put them in partial sun and then increase the sun exposure over a period of several weeks. These steps will prevent the foliage from getting sunburned.
If you’re moving the plants indoors, conduct the same process in reverse over several weeks. Make sure you hose down the plants before finally taking them inside. You might also want to use a spray for controlling pests, as they’ll otherwise multiply indoors.
Adjust Your Watering and Care Schedule
Once you’ve got your fruits plants and trees indoors, keep in mind that they won’t need watering so often. They also don’t need a lot of light, as you want to keep them cool until spring rolls around. If you want to ripen the fruits, though, consider some grow lights to simulate the ideal environment.
The plant feed should also be on the light side, as you don’t want the plant to grow too large indoors. The biggest enemy, however, is the dry heat indoors. You’d have to increase the indoor humidity a bit or else the plants will start losing their leaves. The most common ways of doing so is to put the fruit plant containers on some small flat rocks. The rocks should be partially in water but not fully submerged. Also, place the fruit plants well away from your home’s heat vents.
The Top Fruits to Grow at Home
Now that we’ve covered the basic tips for growing fruits at home, here are some of the best fruits to start with. Whether you want to grow fruit to improve your digestive health or to have more control on the chemicals that go into your food, the following choices are usually the easiest:
Berries are a healthy and easy way to start your fruit growing journey. They’re usually three-season shrubs that give white flowers in the spring and fruit in the summer. In the fall, the foliage tends to turn an attractive red.
You’d need to prepare the soil in advance before planting your blueberries, as they need an acidic ground. The effort is worth it, however, as the shrubs can be fruitful for several years. If you want a really good harvest, go for two varieties in order to ensure proper pollination.
Strawberries are another popular and easy fruit to grow at home. They require minimal effort, while the joy of picking fresh strawberries is worth the preparation.
There are three main types of strawberries for home gardeners. We have the June bearing plant, which has a large crop just in June. This is best if you want to freeze your strawberries for long term use or make preserves out of them.
Another variety is the everbearing one, which gives us two or three small harvests each season. The day neutral is the third variety, and gives us strawberries in small numbers all through the harvest season.
Strawberry plants have a tendency to spread through runners, but you want to limit these in order to enhance the quality of the fruit. Punch the blossoms of during the first season so that it doesn’t fruit at that time. This might require some willpower and seem like a waste of the potential strawberries, but this practice actually helps the plant by allowing it to put all its energy into developing healthy roots. The result will hopefully be a larger and better harvest next season. However, you’d still have the rejuvenate or replace the plant after a maximum of 5 years.
Grapevines aren’t too difficult to grow, but the real test is protecting the harvest from birds, squirrels, and other wildlife. You’d also have to get some sort of trellis or make a stick formation for the grapes to climb on and grow.
Pruning grape vines is a matter of debate, but many are of the opinion that it’s not necessary. The variety of grape you plant will depend on your specific area, so check with your local gardeners and gardening shops. For most varieties, grapes usually want a sunny area and a soil that’s rich, has good drainage, and proper air calculation. The latter aspect is important as well, since it can prevent diseases.
With so much talk about small fruit and berries, it might be surprising to learn that we can grow melons at home in containers. This might actually be easier than taking care of a fruit shrub or tree, and melons can grow in containers as well as gardens.
What melons need the most is a lot of heat and sun as well as simple space. You can use a sturdy trellis for the melon vine as well, but that works best if you’re growing a small-sized variety.
The best time for planting melons is after the risk of frost goes away. They require regular watering while growing. When the fruit becomes apparent, we can slow down on the watering a bit. Remember, the soil has to be rich, moist, well-draining, and loamy.
There are several other types of fruits that one can easily grow at home. If you’re short on space, don’t go for the melons but opt for cherries, raspberries, or blackberries instead.
Once you’ve learned how to grow fruits at home, it’s time to decide which one is the best option to start with. Choose one or more of the beginner fruits we’ve discussed above, and remember to adjust the heat and humidity accordingly. Who knows, you and your family might be enjoying your first fruit harvest very soon.