Fruit-growing is a
satisfying occupation and by careful planning
it is possible to enjoy home-grown fruit all the
year round and have sufficient in the deep freezer
for out-of-season use.
Both dessert and culinary apples should be grown
for they are the most useful of all fruits. Where
space is restricted those which are spur-bearing
may be grown as dwarf pyramids or as cordons.
Ten or twelve apple trees will provide fruit from
August to March if it is stored carefully.
Pears are best grown as espaliers (horizontal-trained),
on a sunny wall or along one side of a path, and
in this way will take up little space. For a late
dessert, plant William’s (America’s
Bartlett pear) and Conference; these two pears
will pollinate each other and are delicious straight
from the tree or marinated.
Of the stone fruits, peaches need the most sunshine
to ripen the wood, without which they will not
bear well. They may be grown against a sunny wall
as fan-shaped trees or as bushes in the open where
the climate is warm and dry. Duke of York, Hale’s
Early and Peregrine are reliable.
Damsons are grown on the side of the prevailing
winds, for they are hardy. The best is Bradley’s
King. Plums and gages can both be grown either
against a wall, as fan-shaped trees, or in the
open, in the bush or standard form. Czar is the
best early plum and Denniston’s Superb the
best gage, followed by Victoria and Jefferson.
If standard trees are used, plant gooseberries
beneath them, spacing them 90-120cm (3-4ft) apart
in the bush form and 60cm (2ft) as cordons. For
dessert, plant Whitesmith, Leveller and Gunner;
for culinary use, Careless and Howard’s
Lancer. Gooseberries grow well in a cool climate;
blackberries prefer warmth. They also require
an open situation whilst gooseberries do well
in semi-shade. For early fruit, plant 120cm (4ft)
apart, Laxton’s Giant and Wellington XXX,
followed by Westwick Choice and Amos Black. Redcurrants
require similar conditions to gooseberries and
the best are Laxton’s No. 1 (early) and
Red Lake (mid-season) raised in the USA.
Plant strawberries in double rows between the
bush fruits, spacing the plants and rows 30cm
(12in) apart. The best early crops are Cambridge
Premier and Royal Sovereign, which do not make
too much leaf. For late summer, plant Montrose
The cane fruits crop later than the soft fruits,
and the hardiest are blackberries, which may be
used as a hedge, trained along wires, or alongside
a path. They may be grown in semi-shade. Bedford
Giant is the earliest, followed by Himalaya Giant
and Oregon Thornless. All freeze well.
Loganberries are not so hardy. They do not like
cold winds and the canes are more brittle. They
also require full sun. Like raspberries, they
fruit on the new season’s canes; blackberries
fruit on both the old and new wood, hence they
bear more heavily. Plant loganberries and blackberries
240cm (8ft) apart, raspberries at 45cm (18in).
Glen Clova is the best early raspberry, followed
by Malling Promise and Admiral. The autumn-fruiting
varieties will prolong the season, and September
and Zeva are both suitable for this purpose.
There should be a place for a vine, either against
a trellis or trained along wires. Vines are able
to withstand -7°C (20°F) of frost, and
varieties of the Chasselas type may be left outdoors
until the first winter frosts. Outdoor grapes
require a sunny position and they grow well in
a greenhouse with a winter temperature of 6°C