Winter is the ideal time to plant new fruit trees.
On Tuesday this week the Edible Garden volunteers went to help plant apple trees at Casa San Lorenzo a new garden just outside Edinburgh that supplies fresh produce to the Italian restaurant Centotre and The Scottish Cafe.
At the start of the day head gardener Erica Randall (a contributor to RBGE’s ‘Growing Your Own Vegetables’ book) gave the volunteers a training session on planting and pruning. We then set to work (through the rain!) to plant 14 apple and 2 cherry trees.
Planting a bare-root fruit tree:
- Improve the soil by digging in well-rotted organic matter such as horse manure or compost and apply a slow release fertiliser such as bonemeal before planting.
- Dig a hole big enough to allow the roots of the tree to spread out naturally.
- Check the depth of the hole. If you look carefully at the stem of the tree you will be able to see the depth it was planted at in the nursery. This is usually the correct depth to plant the tree.
- Fruit trees will usually require some form of support such as a stake. So that you don’t damage the tree, take it out once you’ve got the hole to the right depth and then drive in the stake.
- Place the tree back in the hole and fill the soil back in. Firm the soil down as you fill the hole.
- Attach the tree to the stake using a rubber tree tie.
- Mulch round the stem with well-rotted compost or manure. This helps to retain moisture and suppress weeds.