When life gives you lemons, plant apples! Fruit trees and shrubs are easy to grow, providing you plant the right tree in the right place.
There are hundreds of fruits to choose from; here are our picks for beginners.
Four Easy Fruits to Grow
1. Citrus Trees. With their bright fruit and sweet aroma, citrus trees make picturesque additions to any landscape. Trees require at least 6 hours of sun a day and need to be fed with a citrus fertilizer. Look for varieties that ripen early like Satsuma tangerine or Navel orange. Meyer lemons and kumquats are good choices for beginners, as well.
Citrus grow little during their first year. But with ample water and fertilizer, they will grow and produce fruit by the spring and summer of their fourth year.
2. Berries. Pick fresh berries just steps from your kitchen. Blackberries, strawberries and blueberries all thrive in hot climates. Look for varieties that are disease-resistant and drought-tolerant. Plant in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day and feed with a high-acid, organic fertilizer such as Holly-tone.
Look for ripe strawberries in June, blueberries in July and blackberries in August. The general rule of thumb is that the berry be uniformly colored before picking.
3. Apple Trees. Apple trees thrive in almost any condition when given at least six hours of sun a day.
Look for dwarf varieties that bear fruit at a young age. Most varieties need at least two trees for cross-pollination to bear fruit. Golden Delicious, however, is self-pollinating. Golden Dorsett and Anna apples are a good match and easy for beginners to grow.
Similarly to other fruits, apples are ready to harvest when their color is uniform. Depending on your climate, they could be ready from July through September.
4. Olive Trees. Olive trees are easy to grow. They like at least 6 hours of direct sun and well-draining soil.
Most trees are self-pollinating but planting more than one variety increases fruit production. Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki work well together.
In addition to working well together, Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki fruit earlier than other olive varieties, at about three years.
Water newly planted trees and shrubs when the top two inches of soil is dry. Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch equal in diameter to the tree’s canopy. Do not pile up mulch into a volcano shape, instead pull mulch two to three inches away from trunks and stems.