Make Planting Fruit your New Year’s Resolution

I relish the opportunities that each season offers us.  January provides the chance to pause and rest, take stock of our plants and introduce new plants to delight us over the years ahead!

This is the perfect time to plant trees, hedging plants, roses, and soft fruit: plants that are lifted during the dormant season and sold bare root; the plants’ roots are coated in wax or wrapped, to prevent desiccation.  Bare rooted plants are more economical to purchase, this is also a more environmentally friendly way of growing and purchasing plants.  Plants that are sold bare root are grown in the field, not in containers, these growers don’t need to use plastic and less water is required to irrigate the field grown plants.

Mycorrhizal fungi are found naturally in our soils, these beneficial fungi form symbiotic relationships, or partnerships with plants.  Mycorrhizal fungi help plants to develop more extensive root systems than a plant could otherwise achieve on its own, enabling the plant to establish itself quickly and access more nutrients and water from a wider area, which greatly benefits the plant; in exchange, the fungi receive sugars and carbon from the plant.  You can harness these benefits by purchasing concentrated amounts of mycorrhizal fungi to apply to the roots of your plants at planting time.

Unwrap your bare root plants and soak their roots in a bucket full of water over night.  Before planting, apply the mycorrhizal fungi to your plant’s roots and plant in prepared ground that has been thoroughly weeded.  Delay planting if the ground is frozen: keep your plants wrapped and store in a cool, frost-free porch, shed, or garage, prior to planting.

Plant breeders have worked intensively for many years to develop all manner of fruit varieties that can be grown in containers.  Look out for ‘Yummy’ and ‘Ruby Beauty’ raspberries, these plants are smaller in size, making them ideal for container growing.

Raspberry ‘Ruby Beauty’.

If you have room to plant in the ground, make the most of your opportunity, forget those two varieties, and opt instead for: Raspberry ‘Malling Minerva’, an early season raspberry, whose fruit are held on smooth, spineless canes.  Raspberry ‘Tulameen’ is a Canadian bred, heavy cropping, late summer fruiting raspberry that produces large, red fruit.  Raspberry ‘All Gold’ is a yellow fruited, autumn raspberry and Raspberry ‘Polka’ produces beautiful, shiny red fruit in autumn.  Just a few canes of each of these raspberries will produce a surprisingly large, delicious harvest, produced over a long season.  Raspberries are very productive, they’re fabulous plants to grow!

A closer look at these raspberry plants’ support system.

A ‘family tree’ is a single fruit tree that features two or more varieties grafted onto the same stem, so some branches may produce red apples, others green.  Family apple (Malus domestica) trees, pear (Pyrus) trees, cherry (Prunus avium) trees, and plum (Prunus) trees allow you to grow a wider range of fruit in a small space.  Varieties that blossom at the same time are grafted onto the same stem to enable successful pollination.

This article was first published in the January 2019 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.

For more gardening advice for January, please click here.

To see a calendar of snowdrop garden openings, please click here.

To see my Tomato Trials, please click here.

For more gardening advice for February, please click here.

For ideas of beautiful, sustainable, floriferous houseplants, please click here.

For ideas of great foliage houseplants, please click here.

To see how to plant up a terrarium or bottle garden, please click here.

For a planting list of plants to use in terrariums or bottle gardens, please click here.

To see a list of snowdrop nurseries and suppliers, please click here.

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