Like the word natural, the word organic gets tossed around a lot. But what does it mean to practise organic gardening? Organic gardening is essentially gardening without using synthetic products like fertilizers and pesticides. It involves the use of only natural products to grow plants in your garden.
The benefits of organic gardening
Organic gardening comes with many benefits. Organic gardens cultivate an ecosystem that involves feeding the soil, encouraging wildlife, and getting creative with nature’s pest and disease controls. It’s cheap, it’s practical – and it’s good for plants, people and communities. Plus, growing organic fruit and vegetables is the best way to be sure that you’re supplying the purest, highest-quality foods to your family.
How to start an organic garden
Good soil is key to organic growing. Fertile soil provides the home for millions of bacteria, which are essential for healthy plant growth. Soil also holds air and water which gives it a good structure (not compacted or waterlogged) and good texture (not too heavy or light). This allows plants to put down roots, to absorb water and nutrients, and encourage strong growth.
Organic gardeners also withhold from using pesticides and use natural bug control methods. Many organic growers, and even some who are not, plant their crops in certain combinations in order to repel pests.
Throughout the year, organic gardeners collect their household waste and yard clippings to use in a compost bin. Compost bins are a cheap and easy way to create your own natural compost. This bin is turned regularly in order to facilitate decomposition. Early in the growing season, the organic gardener will work the compost into the garden plot, thus enriching the soil with the natural ingredients needed for a rich growing bed.
Nothing feels more rewarding than growing your own produce. If you don’t have a fruit tree in your garden, planting one is a good investment, as there is nothing like eating the fresh fruit straight from the tree in autumn. Keep reading to discover how to plant fruit trees with our gardening tips.
Avoid planting if there’s a frost – place roots into moist soil until conditions improve.
Container-grown trees can be planted at any time of year except when frosty or if the soil is too dry or too wet. Bare-root fruit trees can be planted late autumn to early winter as this is when the tree is in its dormant stage.
Always try to plant fruit trees in a sunny and sheltered position. This will maximise the time your fruit has to ripen.
Planting in pots
Choose a pot that is 45-50cm (18-20in) in diameter. When planting, place some stones, broken concrete, clay pots, or polystyrene in the bottom of the containers to retain moisture. Use a good-quality compost, and insert the tree. Cover hole and water well.
Planting in the ground
Dig a hole up to three times the diameter of the root system, and break the soil up the surrounding soil with a fork before planting. Place the tree in the hole and carefully refill, placing soil around all the roots to eliminate air pockets. Firm the soil gently by stepping on it.
Quick Tips for Beginners
You don’t need a large garden the size of an orchard to grow your own fruit trees. Many fruits like strawberries and raspberries can be grown directly into the ground, into borders, and into containers. Perfect for those with smaller gardens or courtyard spaces.
Many fruit trees produce beautiful blooms as well as tasty fruits. Apple trees, pear trees, and beloved cherry trees all create gorgeous flowers that are an absolute treat.
Unless your tree is self pollinating (peaches, nectarines, some cherries), then you should be planting a pair of trees to ensure the growth of any produce. Many fruit trees, such as apple and pears, need their flowers to be pollinated by bees and such in order to grow produce. Plant a different cultivar of the same fruit nearby your first tree. Ensure they flower at the same time, or they won’t bear fruit.
Our favourite varieties
Here is a selection of our favourite fruit tree varieties that will add beauty and produce delicious fruits year after year.