A friend recently asked me the question, is it really worth growing fruit trees considering the rising cost of water and all the associated bother with pruning, fertiliser, pest control and then keeping off birds and the like from eating your harvest?
My answer in hindsight was probably a little flippant; Why wouldn’t you?
Let me explain. If you are in the habit of buying all your food needs in one place and don’t necessarily have the time to consider how far it has come, how it is grown or even how it is treated between the grower and you, you may not be interested. If you are interested in what you feed yourself, your family and friends you probably are already (or are about to) grow at least some of your food.
My “Why wouldn’t you?” is more an incredulous “why wouldn’t you want to experience the sheer joy of picking fruit and vegetables and eating them when they are so fresh they are still growing instead of in the process of decay?”
The taste should be enough to convince anybody. Moving around the garden and eating whatever is in season and ripe is just simply the best. The passing of another year is marked by what’s to eat in the garden. For me right now it’s the apples (Lady William in my case), mandarins and oranges with a child or two in tow looking for pre peeled delights. With pruning not long finished, my mind wanders to a summer day and that first taste of apricots and all my other favourite stone fruits.
The thought of eating stuff that has travelled the world and seen the inside of however many warehouses and trucks just does nothing for me.
Now is the time to plant bare rooted (without pot or potting soil) deciduous fruit trees, so get digging in preparation.
You may wonder why it is an Australian plant enthusiast like me is passionate about fruit. Well, it is quite simple really; with a low maintenance garden dominated by Australian plants I have plenty of time to put into productive fruit trees to provide the most delicious food that my children also enjoy eating. My catchcry to “what can I eat” is “go outside and pick something!”
This article first published in the Riverland Weekly © July 12, 2012.