While growing flowers & veggies in planters can be easy, growing fruit trees & berries take a little more thought. You will need to become familiar with such things as root stocks, pollination, and climate control. We discuss all of those items in this blog post.
Growing your own fruit in a garden planter is really fun and rewarding. Nothing tastes better than homegrown fruit picked at peak ripeness. Imagine the pleasure of adding a handful of berries to your morning cereal or making an apple pie with fruit from your potted tree.
Many types of fruits and berries adapt nicely to growing in containers. Plant breeders continue to develop compact varieties especially suited to garden pottery, and they have many advantages as well. Probably the most important point is the mobility that container planted trees provide. If frost threatens, you can move your fruit trees under cover for some protection.
Before you get started on this fun adventure - you need to learn a few fruit gardening terms and concepts that will keep coming up. Remember how pollen moves from the male part of the flower to the female part, fertilizing it and causing fruit to grow? Well some fruit trees like Peach have compatible male and female flower parts. This means if you plant a peach by itself it will produce fruit.
Other fruits including apple & blueberries produce more quantity if they are cross pollinated. This means they receive pollen from another variety. You can still grow one blueberry or apple plant and get some fruit but you will get a lot more if a different variety grows nearby.
The root stock is the below grow portion of the plant. The scion is above ground. If grown on their own roots get huge. Much to big for a container. But, if grown on dwarfing root stocks they are ideal for planters.
When it comes to selecting planters make sure they are large enough with a drain hole in the bottom. In fact the more holes the better. You don't want to be re-potting your trees every year. Terracotta is always best because it breathes and is the best for air circulation around the roots. However, terracotta is meant to break down over time so it never hurts to go with a glazed or high fired planter.
Potted roses, raspberries, strawberries, lemon and even chocolate mint are so easy to grow. Once they are ready to pick you will know. Plan ahead and have some easy recipes ready to go. There is nothing more enjoyable and the freshness of home-grown can't be beat. Give it a go.....
Use red rose petals to make homemade rose water and give desserts a subtle floral flavor and a pink color. Make sure to purchase a fully grown bush. Toss a banana peel into the bottom of the planting container; it will act as a fertilizer. Rose petals and leaves don't like to be wet, so water the plant occasionally.
Try the thornless variety. Buy and plant a fully grown bush, clear four feet of space around it and you will enjoy years of raspberry harvests. The first summer's yield will be just enough to use as a garnish, but the following year, the bush will produce enough berries for a pie. You will know the raspberries are ready to pick when they come off the stem easily, if you have to tug at a berry, it's not ripe yet.
Small strawberry plants quickly start producing fruit early in summer. Try a non-runner type, like alpines, which won't take over your garden floor. Use straw or pine needles as mulch to keep berries off the soil. Strawberry jars and pocket pots are great for containing creeping vines. Use them on a patio or porch area.
Meyer lemons taste like a cross between an orange and a lemon, so they are less acidic and good for sorbets or lemon curd. Dwarf lemon trees can be grown in a 12" wide container. Bring the tree inside during winter, and its fragrant flowers will continue to bloom. Be patient. The trees yield only about three lemons the first season but twice as many the following year.
Plant chocolate mint - it is unbeatable in mint ice cream. Mint isn't picky, it will grow in sun or shade, as long as the soil is moist. It is also an aggressive herbs, so keep it in check with regular pruning. Having it in a pot will help to keep the creeping root system in a contained area.
To make your own rose water, pour boiling water over a packed cup of petals. Chill the water overnight and strain out the petals in the morning.