Goosberries on plant

How to grow fruit

Fruit trees or bushes are capable of providing you with years of delicious and nutritious harvests. If you’re thinking of growing fruit, here’s advice on how to prepare your soil, plant, cope with pests and diseases, and then harvest and store.
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Fruit this month

Remove blossom from newly planted fruit trees to conserve energy. In year 1 the trees need to focus on establishing a good root system. Water them, and any fruit bushes or canes in dry weather. Wall-trained trees or fruit in containers are particularly prone to drying out.

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Your organic garden in April

April is when the growing season really starts to get going, Birdsong, spring blossom and sunshine lift the heart. There are seeds to sow and seedlings to plant out. Enjoy! Beware though of late frosts which can devastate tender new growth.

Ladybird on a Nasturtium leaf

The Principles of Organic Gardening

Organic gardening works within natural systems and cycles. Find out how to practice the five principles.

Frequently asked questions

  • Medlar fruits are unusual both in appearance and in their ripening habits. They are very hard and inedible until they start to decay. They will rarely reach this stage by themselves on the tree and need to be harvested as late as possible in November . They should be left in a box in a cool dry place, resting on damp straw and kept away from mice, until they turn a dark reddish brown and become soft and juicy. This ripening process is known as "bletting" the medlars. They can then be used to make jams, jellies and medlar cheese.

  • As you quite rightly say blueberries do need acidic conditions - a soil pH between 4 and 5.5 to be specific. We recommend you test your soil to see what the pH is. There are various kits available from local garden centres or contact the Organic Gardening Catalogue on 0845 130 1304 or go online at Next step:

    If the soil is acidic you can simply plant directly into the soil, mulching with composted bark or pine needles. Use rainwater when watering in plants if possible as this is acidic.

    If the soil is not acid (i.e. neutral or alkaline) then we suggest your father uses containers where the appropriate acid soil conditions can be controlled and maintained with little work. Again, use composted conifer bark and pine needles as a mulch. The reason for this recommendation is that it will take major soil modifications to attain an acidic soil in your garden - it will take regular testing and further modifications to keep the soil acidic (plus more expense). At Garden Organic we advise members to work with the soil they have, planting species that are suited to those conditions - not to struggle with it or fight against it.

  • Fruit bushes can be moved when they are dormant. This is best carried out November to December or in March. It is best to move the plants to their new site after lifting, rather than storing plants in pots first.

    Prepare the new planting site well, incorporating some well-rotted garden compost into the planting hole. Plant no deeper than the original soil mark on the stem, with the exception of blackcurrants which should be planted 5cm (2in) deeper. Ensure that plants are watered well throughout the coming year, especially in periods of drought.

    If you have to store bushes in pots, lift the plants with as much root as possible. Winter time would be a good time to carry out any pruning on the plants. Reducing some of the top growth will help the plant to compensate for some of the roots it has lost. Plant into large pots, don't cut the roots to make them fit into smaller pots.

  • Apricots need shelter from frost when in flower, so trained against a warm wall is an ideal situation. Some recommended cultivars for your situation are:

    • Aprigold - Genetic dwarf, ideal for pot culture which produces full-sized fruit
    • Flavorcot - frost tolerant and fruiting later, smaller orange fruit
    • Golden Glow - found on the Malvern Hills as a seedling, very reliable cropper, healthy tree. Yellow round fruit
    • Petit Muscat - Old French variety, with masses of small delicious yellow fruits: does best in sheltered site
    • Tomcot - very hardy, frost resistant, mid summer. Large fruit with red blush, excellent cropper. Grown for commercial fruit production in Kent

    Garden Organic members can view our factsheet Fruit tree/bush suppliers for a list of fruit tree suppliers.

  • They should blossom again and fruiting will then not be affected. Gardeners can easily see if there are fruit buds remaining on the trees. These will produce blossom this spring and fruit in the late summer and autumn. There may be less blossom than usual but as each bud contains several flower and fruit buds, even after thinning, overall yield should not be affected.

Grow your own cards

These simple grow your own cards help you get the best from your organic garden.

Fact sheets - Fruit

Our member fact sheets contain in-depth information and guidance on a range of topics. Log in or join us to access them.

  • Pests and diseases

    Raspberry pest and disease management

    This Garden Organic member fact sheet gives detailed information about raspberry pest and disease management.

  • Fruit

    Fruit trees, understanding rootstocks

    This Garden Organic fact sheet gives detailed information on fruit trees, understanding rootstocks.

  • Fruit

    Apple powdery mildew

    This Garden Organic member fact sheet gives detailed information about apple powdery mildew

  • Fruit

    Fruit trees & bushes, planting guide

    This Garden Organic fact sheet gives detailed information on fruit trees & bushes, planting guide.