This blog is about my garden located in Melbourne, Australia, where summer heat and long periods without rain can make gardening a challenge. This blog is the gateway to a series of my blogs showing you how I deal with these conditions................5th February 2017.
Growing fruit in a small suburban garden can be very challenging, but I have found the following 3 devices enabled me to maintain a small orchard in very limited space:-
Dwarfism: By planting normal sized fruiton dwarf stock, you can reduce the plants overall mature size without reducing the size of the ample fruit obtained.
Rigorous summer pruning to encourage fruit development at the expense of growth.
Training a tree when young to take an espaliers or similar form to fool the tree into thinking it's mature when its actually still quite small and ready to fruit along its horizontal branches.
My fruiting plants are all drip line irrigated in slightly raised beds (200mm). 1 or 2 hours each week keeps the subsoil moist and my perennial plants establish deep roots so they can survive long periods without rain.
I supplement my irrigation using water from my rainwater tanks, but only when establishing new plants and on a few flowering annuals grown to add a little colour and diversity.
Soil fertility is maintained by adding a generous top dressing of home made compost in spring, and by drenching the root zone of my fruit trees every 3 months with aerated compost tea (Orchard Tea formula). I protect the compost from drying out with a thick layer of organic sugar cane straw mulch.
My"Growing Organic Fruit" blog contains about 10 pages showing how I prepare soil, propagate, plant, train, harvest and prune each fruiting plant, and how I control its pests.
For more information on growing fruiting plants in a small garden, take a look at the examples above in the linksto my blog on Growing Organic Fruit.