FANTASTIC FRUIT TREES
by Edwina Robinson 11 August 2016
Fancy picking healthy snacks from your own trees?
Whether you own your own place, are renting or still living with family you can grow fruit trees in large pots and take them with you. Alternatively grow them in the ground.
They’ll need around six hours of sunlight a day, good quality potting mix or soil and regular water and organic fertiliser.
Here’s five relatively hardy small fruit trees to get you started.
Fig (Ficus carica)
Fig tree with immature fruit. Photo: Wikipedia
Figs are a tough but handsome deciduous tree from the Middle East. They usually bear fruit during the summer months and may yield one or two flushes. Eat the gooey insides with your favourite cheese.
A number of varieties are available such as ‘Black Genoa’ and ‘Brown Turkey’. Figs can be grown relatively easily from cuttings – so see if a friend or neighbor is happy to supply you with cuttings.
Why not try out different sorts of fruits at the Farmers’ Market before you choose which ones varieties you prefer.
Quince (Cydonia oblonga)
Pale pink flowers appear in spring on the quince followed by the fruits. Photo: Public Image Domain
Quince belong to the apple family. Maggie Beer seems to have influenced the comeback of this humble fruit with sales of her ruby coloured quince paste. Quince paste is not hard to make – it’s a concoction of quince, water, sugar and lemon zest and requires a long slow cooking.
Quince paste with cheese and biscuits makes a great snack. Photo: KMJ Photography Australia
Quinces are deciduous and have pretty pink flowers followed by an almost pear-like fruit. Fruits ripen to a yellow in autumn, and will keep inside in a bowl for long periods.
There are a number of varieties available locally, including ‘Smyrna’.
Mulberry (Morus nigra)
Silkworm feeding on mulberry leaves. Photo: Wikipedia
This is a tree from my Sydney childhood. Kids from our street would sit perched in the tree snacking on the berries and pretending that our stained skin was bloody.
Morus ‘Hicks Fancy’ is a small deciduous trees and bears its fruit on new season’s growth around November and December.
Freeze excess berries and add to smoothies.
Orange (Citrus sinensis ‘Navel’)
Orange tree. Photo: Pixabay
Navel oranges can perform well in Canberra particularly if placed in front of masonry wall that’s heated by the sun. Trees are evergreen with glossy green leaves and have fragrant white flowers and awesome fruits during winter.
These oranges are great quartered with the zesty scent penetrating the room, or try combining them in a cake that uses almond flour and boiled oranges. Yum.
Lemon (Citrus x meyeri)
A thriving lemon in a back garden. Photo .imelda Flickr
Meyer Lemons are cold tolerant and well suited to Canberra’s climate. Like the navel variety of oranges they do well if placed in front of a masonry wall. Their white flowers are fragrant and leaves are evergreen.
Lemons go with everything – tea, g & t, stir fries and in sore throat remedies.
Growing fruit trees can be incredibly rewarding. Enjoy.
To learn more about growing organically visit Canberra Organic Growers