Dwarf Fruit

Well, winter has finally arrived in the Sydney area!

As I write this, tiny little snowflakes are blowing past the window. Nothing particularly substantial and it is not likely to be either (at 100km/60mi per hour the wind is too strong for the tiny flakes to settle long enough to take a photo).

But to the subject at hand, I have created a new little bed at the back porch for a kitchen garden. This part of the garden was just grass, but filled with more clover than grass. So I dug the clover in (great for Nitrogen) and added a heap of well rotted cow manure, chicken manure from my next door neighbours chooks and leaf mulch. Just like the rest of the garden, I am not going to use chemicals.

Before I continue, I will confess to something which many of you might find odd – once I’ve dug the hole for planting I always place banana peels at the bottom of the hole to rot away and provide nutrients for the tree. It’s an adaptation of using of fish (which I don’t have in plentiful supply), but I’ve found it works really well.

Given that my back yard is south facing, this bed does suffer from winter over-shadowing by the house, so most of the permanent plants will have to be deciduous if I am to succeed. However the bed has full sun from mid spring to mid autumn.

So, as these trees will be close to the house, I thought I would give the dwarf varieties of fruit trees a try.

In the south east corner of the bed (which gets morning sun until 11am at this time of year), I have put in a dwarf Meyer lemon.

Lemon

It will always remain as a shrub no higher than 2m/7′ tall – so I have taken advantage of the overhanging polycarbonate roof on the back porch to give it protection from frosts and cold winds. It seems to be working as it has given me its first ripe lemon 🙂

You can also see Mint in the background. It will be more than happy in the shade so it is quite close to the back step. To stop it from taking over, I have placed a root barrier between it and the rest of the bed.

Similarly, I have put in a few raspberry canes within a buried root barrier area (to the right of the photo). Although, I won’t be upset if these spread as this is one of my favourite fruits, and small punnets cost $8.00 here in Australia!

Near the raspberry is a deciduous blueberry bush which I brought up from my old Sydney garden – it is much happier here, and gave me about 40 berries continuously this summer – you can see the recent warm spell has caused it to flower and fruit.

BBerry

Next up is a dwarf Pink Lady apple.

GrannySmith

This little one only grows to 1.6m by 1m (5′ x 3′) and I also planted a dwarf Granny Smith (same size) as a pollinator.

Last up, because I love blueberries, I am experimenting with some of the evergreen varieties – so these are in the sunniest spot at the edge of the bed.

Bberry1

Also at the edge of the bed there are herbs such as thyme and oregano: once the sun returns, I’ll increase some of the crops as well as add companion plants for pest control, but until then the leeks and chives and other herbs will have to stay in pots 🙂

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