If you want to enjoy fresh fruit, planting an orchard is a great idea. You can grow a range of different fruits together or create a single fruit orchard. The choice is yours.
Orchards are not only a great source of food they are beautiful spaces that create an oasis for people as well as wildlife. A spring picnic in an orchard that is in full bloom is a great way to enjoy the first sun of the season.
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Here we explain how to plan your orchard.
The space you have available
How many trees you can put into your orchard is governed by the space you have available. The amount of space you have also has an impact on the type of trees you can plant.
The space each tree needs
If you know which trees you would like to include find out how much space they need to grow and fruit properly. Doing this enables you to calculate how many of each you can fit in.
Some trees require a partner tree to be able to pollinate and produce fruit. Bear in mind that you will get a better harvest if you plant these trees close together. Other trees can self-pollinate this means that they can be planted more or less where you want to put them.
Soil type and drainage
The type of soil you have impacts on the type of fruit trees you can plant. It makes sense to find out the PH of your soil and buy accordingly. Fruit trees are not particularly cheap, so you need to take the time to buy the best type and varieties for your soil type and climate. Nurseries like Chrisbowers.co.uk offer plenty of advice as well as selling a good range of quality fruit trees.
Most fruit trees like fertile well-drained soil. If your soil does not fit into this category, you will need to condition it and improve the drainage before planting your orchard. Remember to re-measure the PH after you have done this. Depending on what you add to the soil, you can end up changing the PH of your soil.
Other things to bear in mind
If you have utility pipes running through the land you plan to use for your orchard you need to bear this in mind. The roots of big trees like walnuts can easily reach these pipes.
Bear in mind property boundaries. You will need to leave enough space to be able to prune any branches that start to grow over into your neighbours plot.
You also need to think about whether you are going to use what you grow. There is no point in planting fruit you are definitely not going to eat. If you are going to plant more than one tree of a certain fruit, it makes sense to plant one early and one late variety. That way you can harvest for longer.
Drawing up a plan
Draw out your orchard before you actually buy your plants. Do it to scale and you will be able to see any gaps and fill them in to make the best use of your land.