A perfect finish to a long work day is relaxing on the patio, which is also a good place for snacking.  There’s nothing like homegrown fresh food picked from your patio or better yet, make a fruit salad! 

Small spaces can even accommodate a few kinds of apples.   ‘North Pole’ Columnar Apple is a small tree trained for container growing…reaching only eight to ten feet with large, juicy fruit for eating fresh- similar to McIntosh apples.  All apples need another variety for pollination, but in neighborhoods there is usually enough trees within appropriate distance.  Depending on whether you purchase bareroot or potted (rooted out) varieties will depend on the size needed of your container.  Eventually, you will need a large sturdy container for your tree, at least twenty inches in width and about twenty inches in depth.

Another very rewarding fruit to grow is a ‘Golden Glory’ Peach reaching only five foot tall.  This tree is very manageable and easy to prune.  Peaches grow well in our area with leaf curl and disease resistant varieties available, just be sure to use an organic copper or sulfur organic spray in December helps prevent disease. 

It’s hard to make a true fruit salad without blueberries!  As with many fruits, certain varieties grow very well in containers.  ‘Top Hat’ is a very good compact blueberry shrub reaching about three by three feet with abundant production. This is a plant that prefers acidic soil, so mix in some acidic soil amendments and top dress with our Lane Forest Blueberry Mulch each Spring for the best results in food production and overall health of the plant.

One more fruit that’s not as common in-home gardens but grows well in the valley is figs.  I recently bought an innovative variety of fig named ‘Little Ruby.’  This one is ideal for my patio where I replaced a perennial that had died back in hard freeze.  ‘Little Ruby’ is a dwarf variety at three to six feet producing medium fruit that can be easily grown in a container.  At our Corner Store Nursery, we often have a range of varieties you can keep in your containers with shorter growth like Celeste 10’, Italian Honey 8’, and Texas Everbearing 8-10’.   

Figs are vigorous growers and are easy to maintain, so grab some pruners and they’ll be happy.  Follow a few simple guidelines like paying attention to watering, plenty of sun, keep them warm in the wintertime and you’ll have plenty fruit to snack in a few years.

It’s always a good idea to top dress your containers with about an inch of compost each year (except plants that prefer acidic soil, use Blueberry Mulch or bark.  Fruit grown in containers will need extra nutrients and extra watering.  It’s also a good idea to repot your container plants every three to five years to keep the roots from becoming root bound.  Which in return will help with nutrient and water uptake keeping your plants healthier. 

Written by Karen Smith, Lane Forest Products Plant Specialist