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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Choosing fruit for the school plot

One of the problems of growing fruit with children is that it can take a while for new plants to become established and produce a crop of fruit.
The season is also long and this can cause young children to lose interest. The key here is to focus on the changing seasons. The children can look out for new leaf buds, buds coming into leaf and the shapes of the leaves, flower buds, opening flowers and the structure of a flower, pollination by the insects, the types of insects visiting the fruit trees/bushes, immature fruits forming, fruit maturing, harvesting, leaves changing colour and eventually falling from the tree. Some fruit bushes such as blackcurrants and gooseberries do not have obvious flowers which in itself is interesting.

Strawberries are probably the easiest of the fruits to grow. They mature in a much shorter time and can be grown in containers as well as in open ground. Alpine strawberries are a cultivated form of wild strawberries and are grown from seed.

Most fruits can be grown in containers if this is preferred but will need far more attention than those grown in open ground. Watering is especially crucial and could be problematic during school holidays. If you wish to grow fruit in containers check that the variety and rootstock is suitable for this type of cultivation.

Varieties should be carefully considered, however you wish to grow your fruit. Choose varieties or rootstock that are the right size for your plot, that don’t grow into trees too high for the children to appreciate them and also that don’t produce most of their fruit during the August holiday.

All fruit performs best if situated in a sheltered, sunny position in fertile soil. Soil preparation is important as the plants will remain in position for a long time.

Click here for more help with choosing fruit for your patch.

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