It requires less space than most people think to grow fruit in your own back yard. Or even front yard, for that matter. Most fruit-bearing plants and trees are also decorative and look good as part of a landscape. If you’re trying to homestead or become self-sufficient in suburbia, but your local zoning laws don’t allow gardening in the front yard, then try planting fruit trees and bushes there instead. It might be a solution!
Planning to Grow Fruit in the Backyard
Wherever you plan to grow your fruit, you’ll need a plan. Just throwing them around willie-nillie won’t work. Fruit trees, for instance, are likely nowhere near the adult size when you plant them, so allowing for enough space to accommodate the tree when it’s fully grown (and keeping the roots away from foundations and sidewalks) is important.
Strawberries, for another example, will branch out to begin new plants with runners. You can allow for this and plant only a few plants to end up with a long hedge, large patch, or row of them in a couple of years. This saves money initially and lets you easily fill a space with great fruit and beautiful plants.
Set up a layout and plan for what you want to grow and what can fit in the area you’re using.
What Backyard Fruit to Grow
What you can grow will depend, of course, on your climate and space. Account for frost, soil type, sunlight, etc. and choose plants based on that.
Most areas of the U.S. can grow apples, plums, cherries, and other trees. Nearly all areas can grow most bush berries (strawberries, raspberries, etc.) and many can also grow grapes and similar fruits as well.
Be sure to understand the pollination requirements and other needs of your plants too. You may need more than one of a variety in order to have fruit yields. Also find out what the care and maintenance requirements will be so you can be ready for them or decide if the fruit is going to be too much trouble for you.
Finally, consider dwarf varieties of trees and bushes to fit more in a smaller space or even (sometimes) grow indoors instead!
When/How to Plant Fruit and Get Started
Begin planning before the spring season begins. Most bush plants and a few trees need a spring planting to get started. Most trees are better planted in the fall or early spring while still dormant.
Make sure the soil is ready and sufficiently nutritious for the plants. Do not fertilize shortly before or after planting as this can cause burn. Instead, do it well after the plants are established unless you’re fertilizing with compost or other slow-release, low-impact fertilizers.
Most trees will require pruning at least every other or third year and most fruit trees benefit from bud nipping on production years, which can enhance harvests. Many bush plants require annual cut-back in the fall. Know your plants and what they need.
Want to learn more about growing backyard fruits and berries?
Check out these helpful websites:
Gardening Information: Fruit from University of Minnesota Extension
Raspberries for the Backyard Fruit Planting from Ohio State University Extension
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