There is nothing better than picking your own fruit off your own tree and eating it while it’s still fresh! It really is the simple things and we are here to start a revolution of fruit growing around the country.
If you have a nice open plot to grow your trees on then work away but we are also encouraging you to think about other areas that you could grow fruit trees, how about a school project, a number of years ago when we were planting up an avenue at our children’s primary school (they were a little younger back then) with trees and thought why not plant fruit trees for the kids to enjoy so we planted a row along the avenue to the school gate, keeping them low enough so that they could pick the fruit. How about a green area? Or a sports club or community centre. Your local rugby, soccer or GAA club will usually have an area at the front that is open and unused, why not plant 2 or 3 fruit trees. They tend to be the most inexpensive trees starting at a young but already fruiting 3 year old tree from €45.00
If you have a green area why not talk to your residents association about planting a grouping of fruit trees, wouldn’t the kids and adults alike love the idea of picking fruit during the late Summer and Autumn. Even lovelier if one of the the local residents had time to make an apple or pear tart for the neighbours. Lets all join the movement to grow more fruit trees within our community.
Fruit trees don’t need full sun to thrive. Apples, pears, and plums are tolerant of less-than-ideal conditions, they don’t want to be waterlogged and as long as they have good air flow around them, they will fruit well, especially in a good Summer.
Food & Water
Though fruit trees often prosper with only minimal care, paying attention to their needs will reward you with a larger, more flavourful crop. Water newly planted trees whenever the top 2 inches of soil are dry. As the plants develop more extensive root systems, you can water less often–but keep in mind that, to produce a juicy crop, all fruit trees must be watered in dry periods.. Mulching helps conserve the moisture and keeps in the organic matter around the roots.
As a commercial grower we use a rigid fertilise regime to have our trees looking their best but getting the best growth and root structure in the pots but as a home grower and with the tree planted into the open soil your tree will require only minimal feeding. It’s best to base your fertilising schedule on the growth of the tree, If it’s growing satisfactorily, its nutrient needs are being met. If its performance is below par, though, apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser in early spring.
First and foremost, it’s highly recommended that you prune your fruit trees to a manageable height. Although the thought of a 20-foot apple tree may seem appealing, think of the practicalities–even if you manage to reach the ripe apples at the top of the tree, what will you do with that much fruit? Trim to a height that will allow you to easily harvest and prune. If you can’t reach above your head and easily pick fruit from the tree’s tallest branch, it’s likely too tall. Pruning will not only make your life easier but will make the tree healthier too.
Styles of Fruit trees
We always have a good range of fruit trees which include some larger trees and also some shaped fruit trees, why not consider an espaliered or even a fan trained tree if you have a South facing wall that they can grow against or if you prefer a vineyard style row along the garden. We have grown trees in this way in several hotel gardens and they look very stylish and the fruit crops are excellent. Our mature trees are good and strong and ideal for if you are considering an orchard style garden. With a good range of Pears, Plums and apples in some of our personal favourite varieties we have every kind of tree you could wish for.
Now you have strong and healthy fruit trees all is left to do is wait for the bumper crops of fruit and brush up on some fruit recipes. If you have any of your favourite recipes please send them in to us, so we can share them with all our followers. My personal favourite recipe is a classic tarte tatin so I’m going to start with that and do remind me a little closer to harvest time as I have a fabulous recipe for pears poached in red wine that is making my mouth water just thinking about it.
Classic Tarte Tatin
400g of puff pastry, good quality, all butter
5 Cox’s Orange Pippin apples
100g of unsalted butter
100g of caster sugar
plain flour, for dusting
125g of caster sugar
125g of double cream
Peel the apples, cut in half and then into quarters. Use a small knife to remove the seeds. Soften the butter slightly (so it is pliable, but not too soft) and press into the base of a non-stick 20-24cm ovenproof frying pan so it covers the flat surface of the pan
Sprinkle over the sugar to evenly cover the layer of butter, then arrange the apples neatly on top, cut-side up, overlapping in a fan style pattern
Dust a clean work surface with a little flour and evenly roll out the puff pastry until it is just over 0.5cm thick – this should be enough to cover the ovenproof pan with 5cm excess
Use the back of a spoon to gently press the excess pastry into the edge of the pan – this will help to keep the apples in place. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes for the pastry and butter to firm up
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
Once firm, place the pan over a medium-high heat to caramelise the sugar and butter, gently shaking the pan every few minutes to ensure that the butter and sugar have mixed together and do not burn
Once the sugar is caramelised and golden transfer to the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is dark golden and crispy.
Remove from the oven set aside to cool slightly while you make the caramel sauce
Place the sugar in a non-stick saucepan and place over a medium heat until the sugar is golden in colour. Add the cream, taking care as it will spit. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and make a smooth caramel sauce. Serve with ice-cream or alternatively creme anglais (thats custard to you and me!) Enjoy