The smell and taste of fresh, juicy fruit kissed by the sun is like none other. Why not surprise the Mom in your life with a patio fruit garden? Did you know you could grow a variety of fruit in containers, as long as you have a sunny spot? Here are a few ideas for a Mother’s Day gift that keeps on giving!
• Blueberries prefer acidic, humus rich soil that’s not too dry, and a thick layer of manure and compost during the spring. Plant in a 12-inch container and water well with rainwater, which is more acidic, making sure the compost stays moist.
• Strawberries are simple to grow in pots, despite needing lots of room to grow. You can also bring them inside for year-round harvesting. Just be sure to park them where they’ll get six to eight hours of sunlight. Try strawberry planters, urns with small pockets on the sides, or vertical planters. Using multi-purpose compost and a slow-release fertilizer, plant so the crown of your berries is right above the soil. Water often and snip off baby plants. Because strawberries are perennials, your plant will produce fruit year after year!
• Raspberries also do well on patios, but choose a container that’s at least 24 inches in diameter. Keep compost moist, and feed raspberries weekly with fertilizer during the summer growing season to keep that yummy fruit coming! After harvesting, cut the stems down. Raspberries, like blackberries and grapes, can be trained to grow across a trellis on a wall, fence or over a pergola for a lovely canopy of foliage.
How about a dwarf tree?
Many fruit trees and bushes do well in large planters so consider planting a small apple tree, red currant bush or a rambling blackberry bush. South-facing trees will produce the biggest crop. They dry out very quickly, so water often. You’ll need to prune apple and pear trees every summer to help new fruit buds grow.
You don’t need to live in a tropical rainforest to grow pineapples! This is a fun plant for children to watch: Cut off the crown of a fresh pineapple, and soak it for a day or two in water. Then, plant it in a gallon-sized pot and place it in a warm, sunny spot. Soon, you’ll be eating juicy slices!
If you love sweet melon, you’ll be happy to know you can grow it in a large pot! Vines will cascade over the side, or you can prop them up with twigs. Select smaller varieties so they’ll have plenty of room to grow.
Dwarf banana plants are perennials that grow well inside or on a deck. Just be sure to choose a very deep container with adequate drainage holes, otherwise your fruit will drown!
If your deck has a railing, watermelon vines can grow on them, giving them lots of room to produce more fruit! Watermelons like rich, sandy soil, and need sunshine and plenty of water.
Other fruits you can grow on your patio include lemons, cranberries, kiwis, plums, cherries and grapes. Share your success stories and photos with us!