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How to... Plant a mini orchard.

Byline: David Domoney

MINI collections of fruit trees are becoming more and more popular.

Community orchards are also coming into their own after being encouraged by councils.

But anybody with a spot of land can have a go by planting anything from two to 20 trees.

I've just planted 20 - five varieties of apples and two of pears, plus I snuck in a cherry tree and an almond tree. I planted them 3m apart in four rows of five trees.

I'm so excited about watching them grow that I can't wait to get home at night.

Worth the price At PS30 a tree, it's not cheap but you'll get beautiful foliage, spectacular blossom and autumn colour - with fruit on top. Bees, insects and birds love them - they'll make good venues for nesting and the birds will scoff the windfall. I'm looking to get decent-sized apples to eat, plus I've planted a Bramley - I'm partial to apple pie.

Planting Dig the hole three times bigger than the pot, line it with a bit of compost, stand your plant in so the level of the soil in the pot is the same as the soil surrounding. Add a handful of Growmore, then firm well in with your heel and stake the tree. Keep well-watered and nature does the rest. marigolds greenhouse help reduce They have protection bugs.

Sizes I've bought bush apple trees, which grow to about 8ft. If you want taller trees, get half-standard or standard apple trees. Even if you in your - they'll whitefly. natural against get no more than four trees, take the kids along to the garden centre - they can help you choose them, plant them and in the autumn, with a bit of luck, they can help harvest them too.

Space and choice If you've a very small space, you can use 'family' apple trees, which are produced by taking a trunk and grafting - a horticultural term for sticking on - branches from different trees.

One might be a Bramley, another a Cox's Orange Pippin and a third a Russet. They'll give you three types of apple on one tree. These will cost you between PS50 to PS60.
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:May 5, 2013
Words:360
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