Beginner’s Guide to Growing Fruit with Children
GROWING FRUIT WITH KIDS is such a rewarding thing to do. Being able to plant a scruffy tangled mess of sticks or roots, into sticky wet mud in the Winter, then walking past in the Summer smelling the sweet deliciousness that is raspberries or strawberries. It’s unbeatable.
Apples, cherries, plums and pears are easy to grow and worth the wait, as most varieties take a few years to really get settled in before they fruit well for you. But they are easy, especially now, with the invention of patio fruit trees which are bred to be smaller and easier to manage for an average family garden. They can even be grown in a pot.
You can get small patio trees with more than one variety growing on 1 tree. Check out this pear one here..
There are so many things you could grow.
Apples, pears, raspberries, strawberries, brambles, gooseberries, japanese wine berries, currants, plums and peaches. even kiwi fruit!
The easiest fruit to grow with your kids in my opinion are those that:-
- Germinate quickly, to make sure the kids don’t lose interest.
- Produce a crop quickly.
- Don’t need a lot of attention, other than watering and feeding.
- Will give a good sized crop over a long period of time
The main thing to remember is to grow food that you know you and your children already like.
Growing fruit is an investment of time and effort to get a good crop so don’t waste it on something you won’t eat.
Fruit that you can eat straight from the plant, such as strawberries are always a hit with kids (and me!)
Walking along a row of bright red raspberries in the hot summer sun and picking a few to eat as you work is a real treat. It makes all the hard work worth it.
Most fruit is normally planted from existing plants and not sown from seed. Cuttings are taken from larger plants and potted up until they make their own roots.
This way you don’t have to wait 10 years for your seeds to grow into fruiting plants. Planting or moving fruit is done in winter when all the fruit bushes are asleep.
The most cost-effective way of growing fruit is to find a garden centre or nursery selling bare rooted versions of the plants you want. Buy them and take them straight home.The best thing to do with bare root varieties is to sit them in a bucket of water to rehydrate as soon as possible. Leave there for a few hours before planting them.
Always dig i big hole when planting fruit so the area around the roots is soft and the roots can push through it easily and establish quickly.
Once you have planted fruit bushes and trees. They will keep fruiting each year as long as you keep them well watered. It’s a good idea to put a good layer of garden compost or well-rotted manure around the plants in Spring. This helps waken the plant up and give it a good feed to get it off to a good start . (We all need a bit of persuasion to get out of bed and get to work)It also keeps the roots damp as most fruit hate drying out.
Why not start with Growing Strawberries with kids
Strawberries are in my opinion the easiest fruit to grow and are a must for any children’s garden. They can be planted almost anywhere and are a true sign of Summer not to mention delicious!
Strawberries are trailing plants so work well trailing along the ground or down from pots. Our favourite way is to grow them is in old wellington boots along our fence. The slugs don’t tend to find them up there-result! This year we are planting up an old backpack to hang up too. We also plant up a Strawberry tower.
Plant Up A Tower.
We started by lining the lower tower with stone gravel or broken pieces of old pots. This helps the water drain out so the roots don’t get water-logged.
New Set Of 3 Stackable Coloured Plastic Garden Patio Balcony Trio Plant Pot Strawberry Herb Flower Holder Bedding Planter Tub (Pink)
Then I like to lay a layer of newspaper inside to act as a water reserve.
Fill the pot with soil and repeat for the other 2 layers and stack them up.
Take individual strawberry plants and plant them in each of the sections. Make sure the crown or the growing point of the plant, is just above the level of soil and firm the plants in.
THAT IS IT!!
Keep this is a sunny position and keep it watered regularly, but don’t over water. As the plants grow, they will drape down the sides and cascade down.
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TIP 1.When you’re watering strawberries, try not to get the leaves wet as this encourages diseases to the fruit.
TIP 2. If you find the birds are nipping your strawberries before you get them. Just drape a small piece of netting over them to protect your prize. Try this netting here:-SET OF 6 GARDEN NETTING ANTI BIRD VEG FRUIT PLANT POND NET PROTECTION WATER 12 X 10M
20 x Strawberry Cambridge Favourite Fruit Plants – Grow You’re Own Strawberries – BARE ROOT Fruit Bush Strawberry
You can buy plants mail order or from a garden centre in the Spring. Buy at least 6 to make sure you get a good-sized crop. Remember though that after the plants fruit, they send out baby strawberry plants on long stems each year, so you can bulk up your supply very quickly.
Children LOVE to grow Free
As I said before you can get strawberry plants for FREE as they spread by producing runners – which are new small plants. This is a great project for kids. When your plants start to produce a runner:-
- Keep it attached to the main plant dig a small hole in the soil under it.
- Place a pot with multi-purpose compost in the hole. If the parent plant is in a pot then just rest the new pot on the surface of the soil.
- Push the new plant into the pot and secure with a paperclip.
- Water the pot and as soon as the plant begins to grow, usually 3 to 4 weeks, cut the runner.
- You now have a new baby plant. This will produce a crop of strawberries next year!!
What else can you grow?
Here are some of our favourites:-
Apples and pears can be grown from bare roots or bought as potted plants. Plant in the same ways as above but sometimes you do need 2 similar varieties to pollinate each other and produce fruit so please read the labels for advice on compatible varieties. Unless you buy a “family tree” that has more than one variety on it. The ultimate in space saving.Duo Fruit Apple Tree – 2 varieties on one bare root tree 1.4M
blueberries are a new addition for us. We love them in pancakes and muffins so we have decided to grow them. You need acidic soil for these little gems though so we will be growing them in a pot. You also need a pair of bushes to really produce well as they pollinate each other better. These are the one we just bought.
Japanese Wine Berries are a wild pest in some places. They are raspberry like in shape and similar in taste.
Raspberries. I inherited some canes from a neighbour. I planted a clump and now every year, I have a massive harvest of autumn raspberries. These are the easiest type I find as there is no confusion regarding pruning you just cut all the canes to ground level after they fruit.
My daughter loves these and the flavour is so rich and fresh compared with shop bought. We have so many fruits from around 10 plants that I make jam and our own cordial with them.
A very spikey wild plant. I remember eating buckets full of these berries when i was a child as they grow wild here, almost everywhere. When planting these with the kids though you can buy thornless varieties which are so much easier to pick and care for.
There are so many more types and varieties. Why not have a look in your garden centre and see what you can grow today??
If you need any advice just drop me a comment below or email me.