Plant: October – December
Harvest: September onwards
Conditions: A sunny but sheltered position is best
It’s generally best to plant fruit trees in the ground between October and December. You can plant in containers at any time, as long as it’s not frosty. Choose a sunny but sheltered spot if possible.
Dig a hole a bit deeper than the pot and make sure the soil reaches the existing soil mark on the trunk – no higher and no lower. You don’t need to add any fertiliser at the time of planting but give it a good watering.
The tree will need a supporting stake for it’s first few years, about 3 inches from the trunk. Use tree ties to fix it to the stake instead of wire to prevent anything from cutting into the trunk as it grows bigger.
The crucial thing about growing fruit trees in your garden is to choose ones that are self-fertile so that you don’t need to grow more than one tree. You also need to choose the correct rootstock. If you pick the wrong one, you could end up with a tree that is far too big for your garden. According to the BBC’s Gardening Guide on Apple Trees, M9 or M27 are good choices for the average sized garden.
You can grow apple trees in containers but you’ll need a large tub to do it properly. Other than that, there’s not a huge amount of difference to growing a small tree in your garden. In fact, as the tub will restrict the natural growth of the tree, a container-grown apple tree will need no pruning once it has matured.
First off, sort through the apples carefully. Bruised or otherwise damaged apples shouldn’t be stored with the rest because they’ll speed up the spoilage of the rest. Secondly, apples mustn’t touch so once they’re sorted, wrap each one individually in paper. Then pack the apples carefully in a box or a special apple cabinet and put the box in a cool, dark place – not too cold or the apples will freeze.
Make sure you don’t store apples next to potatoes. Potatoes release a gas that can spoil your apples.
GOOD: Chives, Clover, Comfrey, Daffodils, Garlic, Leeks, Nasturtium, Southernwood