Growing fruit in your backyard is a great way to get a large crop for very little money. However, keep in mind that many varieties of fruit grow on trees, and each tree takes 2 to 3 years to produce edible fruit. Follow some basic planting tips to make the most out of your backyard fruit growing experience.
Choose varieties of fruit that grow well in your climate zone. Grapes, apples and cherries all need a certain number of chilling hours in order to get nice and sweet while citrus fruit can’t handle cold weather without freezing the crop. Find out what USDA zone you live in and pick fruit varieties that grow well in that zone.
Test your soil for the pH and drainage. Most varieties of fruit grow best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. To improve soil drainage add organic material to soil, such as compost and aged manure. If your soil is too alkaline add sulfur to increase acidity.
Plant fruit in areas with full sun. Most varieties of fruit need full sun in which to thrive.
Some fruit trees, such as apples and peaches, need two different varieties of trees planted relatively close together in order to ensure pollination. Without proper pollination you will not get any fruit out of your fruit trees. Be sure to have the proper pollinators for each type of fruit planted nearby, if needed.
Each variety of fruit has different spacing needs. Fruit trees need more room than berry bushes. Space each fruit tree about 20 to 30 feet apart and each fruit bush about 2 to 3 feet apart.
Plant fruit trees in early spring in colder climates and early spring or fall in warmer climates. As long as your USDA zone does not have a harsh winter, most fruit can be planted in the fall.
Dig holes deep enough for the root ball and 3 times as wide. Make sure to remove all rocks and other obstacles from the soil. Loosen the roots and place the root ball in the hole. Cover the hole with soil halfway and then fill the hole with water. This helps settle the soil around the roots so there will not be any extra oxygen that may cause disease. Finish filling the hole with soil, after the water has soaked in, and cover the area with mulch.