Harvesting fresh fruit can be done all year round if you choose the right varieties to grow and take care of, even when they are not producing. We have written up a few tips and instructions below to help you have year-round produce regardless of where you live and what your local climate is.
Understand your Climate
It is crucial that every gardener should understand the growing climate and what to expect throughout the year. Different varieties of fruit prefer specific temperatures and trying to grow them outside of this temperature window may lead to problems. Learn how many days per year your area has frost or freezing temperatures as trying to grow fruits that like warm temperatures in a cold region will lead to crop failure. If you live in a very hot area, you may want to delay planting fruits until the warm period is over to save you continually watering or the fruit drying up and spoiling.
Plant Different Varieties Throughout the Year
To keep a year-round supply of fresh fruit in your garden, you will need to choose which varieties are suited to warmer and colder periods. Many fruits are grown in the spring and summer, such as strawberries, apricots, plums, cherries, and melons. By keeping a diverse range of fruits in your garden, you will be sure to have plenty available in the summer months. Although it may seem strange, several plant varieties are averse to the cold and can be grown in winter months. Fruits like lemon, winter squash, pomelo, avocado, passion fruit, and guava. Some of these winter fruits need a cold climate to start fruiting and may struggle if you live in a tropical area where cold periods are few and short.
Helping Plants Through the Cold Period
With greenhouses and a little care, you can prolong your summer growing season to keep your variety of fruit available high. Banana trees will need wrapping to protect them from frost but will be good for next year if you are careful and wrap them before the frost hits. Try to keep smaller fruit plants in pots so you can quickly move them into your greenhouse if frosts are predicted. The roots of many fruit trees need to be kept above freezing, or this may kill the tree. Put a layer of thick mulch down in the autumn months and never water them once the temperature starts to drop. If your plants are still producing fruit in the greenhouse, you will want to cover them in a light blanket if frost is predicted, this gives them an extra layer of protection from the cold.
Helping Plants in Hot Periods
As global warming continues, we will see many drier and wetter periods, and we need to be able to keep our plants alive during these extreme weather conditions. One of the critical components to helping fragile plants survive hotter times, and reducing the chance of heat stress in your plants, is keeping a good layer of mulch on the ground. Mulch will help to trap moisture and keep the roots fed even when the temperature soars. Many young fruit plants will benefit from some afternoon shade, so with this in mind try to situate more immature plants in areas that will get some respite from the sun during the summer. Keep your garden well-watered and try to only water early in the morning or after the sun has started to set to give the water a chance to penetrate the soil. Well fertilised and healthy plants will cope better with extreme heat than poorly fertilised plants. Try to limit pruning during the hottest months as plants may suffer as they don’t like to be disturbed when dealing with extreme temperatures.
Maintaining Your Soil
The most significant factor that will determine the health and harvest you get from your fruit plants is the soil they are planted in. For the best soil, you will want to use lots of organic matter such as grass clippings, vegetable peelings, garden waste and any other organic material you might have. Limit the number of pesticides you use on your crops to keep the soil organic. Try to plan ahead and rotate crops accordingly. Different plants prefer different nutrients, so keeping them in the same place each year may deplete your soil of vital nutrients that they need. Keep your soil loose so that water can penetrate deep into the ground rather than sitting on the surface as the water will evaporate away, giving no benefit to your plants.
You do not need a huge garden to be able to produce an abundance of fruit throughout the year. It just takes a little thought and care. Understand what will grow best in your region and start building your year-round fruit orchard. Ask family members what fruits they prefer and plan your garden to be able to provide what they like all year round.