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The Fruits of Our Labor

By Amanda Whatley Owen
web posted April 13, 2018
GARDENING -  Spring Fever is approaching fast, if it has not already hit you.  Besides the blooming trees, and flowering shrubs it is time to start planting your fruit trees.  To me, nothing says summer better than fresh, home grown fruit.  Here are a few tips for folks who are wanting to plant their own fruit this year. First off, decide what you want to plant.  Keep in mind that whatever you plant will need full sun and well-drained soil.  And enough of that for at least two. 
Apple Trees:
Some well recommended varieties for zone 8 are the Adina Apple tree, Granny Smith Apple tree, and the Golden Delicious Apple tree.  These Apple tree varieties will bloom early summer except for the Granny Smith and Golden Delicious.  They will not bloom until fall.  All are heavy producers and disease resistant, for the most part, They are strong pollinators, and they can tolerate the cold, primarily when they reach at least two years old.  The first few years may require some babying during the winter months, like blankets to keep the frost away. During the first five years, apple trees will bear the least amount of fruit.  At 10 to 30 years, they bear the most.  After about 30 years, they tend to wind down. 

Lemon Trees:
The best Lemon tree variety would be the Improved Meyer, which, will taste mild and juicy. When buying a lemon tree buy a potted one that is one and half times larger than the pot and bushed outward, not leggy like. A few natural acidic fertilizers to put on fruit trees would be Epsom salt, coffee grounds, and egg shells.  Fruit trees love acidic soil.  During the winter time they will need to be protected from the frost, or anytime temperatures reach below about 45 degrees.

Strawberries :
Some of the best, juiciest strawberries are, Ever Red, Shortcake, Tristar, and Big Red.  Strawberries enjoy partial shade, and like being grown in a container.  A cost-effective way I recommend, is to take a 5 gallon bucket and drill holes in the bottom and on the sides.  Fill with dirt, and plant the strawberries in those holes.  Then, hang the bucket on a post and make sure it gets plenty of water. A light dose of liquid fertilizer, like Miracle grow, will be perfect.  It also wouldn't hurt to sprinkle a small amount of Epsom salt in to help push fruit and help keep pest down. 

Peach Trees:
A few great varieties of Peach trees would be Belle of Georgia, Honey Babe, Reliance, and Red Haven.  These varieties are cold tolerant, juicy, and sweet. Nothing like a sweet peach!  Before planting the tree, soak the root ball in a tub of water for a few hours, then plant as soon as possible.  This helps with transiting from container to ground.  Applying sulfer to the trees a year after being planted, helps with Brown Rot on your peaches.

Blueberries :
The best Blueberry varieties are Rabbit eye varieties such as: Powerblue, Climax, and Woodard.  These varieties are more tolerant of heat, but less cold-hardy than the Highbush Variety.  Blueberries love acidic soil so Epsom salt would also be a plus for them.  Do not feed until after the first year of planting. 
A few things that most fruit bearing trees and bushes have in common is that they love sun, except for the strawberries.  They love acidic soil (6.5 pH level or higher).  There needs to be, at least, two tress in order to bear a significant amount of fruit because they have to cross-pollinate.  Most tend to thrive after their first year of planting.  Please, also keep in mind just like any other plant, fruit trees like to be weed free at their base and they love to be clean also, with no dead limbs and fruits hanging off of them.   

Please feel free to ask any questions and send us pictures of your garden.  Do you have a garden you want to show off?  I would love to come see your garden and consider it for an article!

Next week in Mandy's Friendly Garden we'll discuss spring fertilizing.

For all past articles please visit our Archives

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