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Why growing your own fruit make economic sense

Everbearing strawberry from Lubera
Whopping everbearing strawberry from Lubera

People will generally grow vegetables before fruit but that’s not necessarily a good idea, especially if you’re short on space.

I made a conscious decision a couple of years back to concentrate on fruit rather than veg. Why? Pure economics.

Grow the things that are the most expensive – strawberries, raspberries, apricots, plums, etc. You get a lot more value per square metre than, say potatoes, which are dirt cheap to buy and take up a lot of room.

Apricot Kioto
Apricot Kioto in need of thinning

Most fruit trees are extremely decorative and compact (as long as they’re on dwarfing rootstocks) – I have blossom from February to May from Japanese blood plum Lizzie, then apricot Kioto, followed by cherry Regina, rounding off the season with the apple and crab apple trees.

Japanese blood plum Lizzie
Japanese blood plum Lizzie’s branches weighed down with blossom

Most trees can be grown in containers, as long as they don’t go short of water or food.

I grow strawberries in a collection of zinc troughs and a designated fruit bed after clearing out the old raised beds as I’d placed them too close together and they became a deathtrap. Gooseberries, a very spiny variety (unnamed) stand guard over the strawberries – they seem to keep the birds off.

Autumn-fruiting raspberries
Autumn-fruiting raspberries hold their own against a background of flowers

Another doubling up approach to fruit growing is in a double height 1x1m raised bed, which houses cherry Regina and autumn-fruiting raspberries.

Dotberries
Yellow and red dotberries

All of the fruit trees apart from the cherry live in the borders, performing an ornamental and productive role.

Rhubarb’s a stunning plant in its own right, so there are a couple of clumps in the borders too – and it will stand a bit of shade.

There’s another 2mx1m fruit bed, which houses the apricot, two dotberries (one red and one yellow), a blueberry, several everbearing strawberries and the thornless double-flowering blackberry Loch Maree.

Bird poo
Purple bird poo – it’ll ruin your decking

Covering a fence between the front and back garden is the blackberry/loganberry cross (formerly called a sunberry).

It’s very easy to grow but needs to picked daily, as the birds will beat you to it and then deposit purple poo everywhere. The fruit also goes over very quickly, especially if it’s damp.

Finally, lurking in the front garden are three blackcurrants, which fruit there quite happily with the minimum of attention – and the birds don’t seem to notice them.

Oh, and the second reason? The taste is superb.