Small Orchards in Garden Bed Must Know

If your garden doesn't have a large footprint, don't despair – a small plot or garden bed is enough to grow a variety of small fruit trees. Orchards may require a little patience because many fruits do not provide near-instant satisfaction like most vegetables. However, if you start with good quality bare roots and maintain the right growing conditions, you can grow a large number of small fruit plants season after season.

About small fruits

All fruits contain seeds, but they are grown from different types of plants. Some, such as lemons, figs, and apples, grow on trees. Kiwi, grapes, and melons are vines, and other plants, such as blueberries and raspberries, grow in the bush.

Some plants bear fruit faster than others. On the ground, suspended from baskets, on raised garden beds, vertically upward in tower pots, strawberries will be ready for harvest in about four weeks. Blackberries and raspberries take one to two years after planting to bear fruit. Others, such as blueberries and fruit trees, require longer commitments because they can take three to five years to produce. Dwarf and semi-dwarf fruit trees are well suited to raised garden beds, will bear fruit faster than standard-sized relatives, and are easier to maintain and protect against pests.
raised garden bed
Small space garden

An orchard in a small space might include dwarf fruit trees planted in garden beds, apples coaxed into espaliers on empty walls or melons climbing on pergoleries.

If you're gardening in areas with cold winters, be sure to choose varieties that can withstand these cold temperatures. Apples, peaches, plums, blueberries, strawberries and grapes are good choices for cold hearts. Any dwarf tropical fruit tree should overwinter indoors.

How to start a fruit orchard

You can start your orchard with seeds, plants, bare roots, or a combination of the three.
raised garden beds
Start growing from seeds

Some fruit plants, such as melons, work best when sown directly in outdoor garden beds. Just make sure to sow the seeds after a frost hazard occurs in your area.

Plant bare roots

A variety of small-fruited plants, including berry shrubs, fruit trees, grapes, and strawberries, are available in bare root form. Instead of potting in the soil, they wrap their roots in moist wood chips. Dormant bare root plants are planted in early spring so that they have an adequate growing season before winter. Since bare root plants are usually obtained earlier than potted plants, you can preemptively plant them in your garden bed.

Start with an established factory
Mature plants provide convenience and allow you to buy more time before planting because they are ready and ready to be planted.

How to cultivate a small orchard

Soil and sunlight

Whether growing underground or in garden beds, small fruit trees do not like "wet feet" where their roots are located in waterlogged soil. They need well-drained, compost-rich fertile soil. To plant in the ground, dig a hole that is at least three times the size of the root ball and place the plant in it so that the root ball is flush with the surrounding soil line. After placing the plant, backfill the soil, push it firmly into the hole, and water it deeply to seal any air pockets around the root ball. Don't rely on memory – place plant markers to identify the type and location of each fruit plant!

Most fruit trees need eight hours of sunlight, but a few, including raspberries, blackberries, and some strawberry varieties, can tolerate partial shade.

Pollination program

When space is limited, choose self-pollinating (also known as self-fruiting or self-fertile) varieties that do not require companion trees or shrubs to bear fruit. Figs, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries do not need pollinator companions. If you choose plants that are not self-pollinating, plant at least two of each plant to ensure pollination. When you grow at least two varieties, blueberries produce greater yields. Other fruits that require pollinators include apples, plums, peaches, and pears.

Multitasking with overlays

Mulch is one of the best aids for gardeners to help nurture and protect plants. In addition to enhancing soil health, mulch helps retain moisture and fights weeds competing for essential water and nutrients. To insulate the roots and keep them warm after planting, cover the soil around the small fruit tree to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.
raised garden bed
Feed small fruit plants

Before any leaves start to germinate, feed your small fruit plants with pellet fertilizer such as Bobby Organic Tomato + Vegetable Pellet Plant Food 3-6-4 or Bobby Organic General Purpose Granule Plant Food 4-4-4. Apply according to label instructions.

Extend the harvest season

To extend the harvest season, early and late fruit plant varieties are planted. Autumn and early winter are good times to keep the small fruit trees growing. Even if autumn temperatures start to drop, soil temperatures in garden bed will remain warm for some time for good root development.

With the right plant selection and growing conditions, even the smallest orchards can provide plenty of fresh fruit all year round.