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Many of us think we need vast amounts of space to grow apple trees but thanks to grafting and plant breeding there are now so many different types of dwarf fruit trees that are bred to thrive in pots and containers.
So, here's how to create a little orchard right in your own backyard, deck or even balcony!
Choosing your Tree
Not all trees can be grown in a pot or container. Dwarf trees have been grafted on to a different root system allowing them to grow with less soil in less space but still produce beautiful fruit.
There's a range of miniature apple or dwarf trees to choose from - Pinkabelle, Trixie, Granny Smith, Gala or Ballerina if you have a very small space. Choose a bare-rooted fruit tree and plant while still dormant in winter or early spring.
Before planting choose a spot that will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, once potted your tree will likely be too heavy to move.
Planting and Care
Choose a pot or container that is wide and deep with good drainage. Use a top-quality potting mix such as Baileys Premium Potting Mix designed to assist plant establishment and ensure vigorous and healthy growth in pots and containers.
Part fill your new pot with your potting mix, tip the tree and gently pull it from the pot, loosen roots and place in the pot or container. Back fill with your potting mix and water in well. While your tree is still establishing it will need watering every couple of days. Stake the tree for extra support.
You will need to fertilise potted fruit trees more frequently due to the heavy watering. Feed with a complete, organic-based fertiliser such as Baileys Soil Matters Garden, little and often.
In general dwarf fruit trees take 2 or 3 years to establish before bearing fruit. For the first 2 or 3 seasons let the tree flower but pinch of any developing fruit, this will allow the tree to grow sufficient roots and establish fully. Prune annually.
Cooking with Apples
There's an apple recipe for every occasion; apples are great as both a starring ingredient and to bring flavour to dishes both savoury and sweet. You can make crumbles, pies or slice up in salads.
Apple tea is a new favourite, high in magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and sodium. It claims to manage diabetes, improves bone & heart health and boost immunity.
It's also super easy to make. Cut the apple into small pieces and remove the seeds. Put the pieces in the water and let it boil. Lower the flame and add cinnamon powder, stir and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes. Strain over teacups and enjoy!