Fruit is a great option for small gardens, patios and balconies. It provides you with homegrown pickings, looks attractive when it's in flower and when the crop is ripening.
Fruit trees and bushes can be used to create a framework in your garden – their trunks and branches doing the same job as ornamental trees and shrubs, but with the added benefit of being productive each year. Even small gardens can accommodate an apple, pear or plum tree – all of which are clothed with beautiful blossom in the spring.
Walls and fences provide sheltered conditions for trained fruit trees and bushes, which can be pruned to restrict their size, create attractive shapes and most importantly, maximise the crop. Patio or dwarf fruit trees make good trees for pots or a border or kitchen garden and will remain compact.
More fruit growing advice:
Here are six fruits that will give you a great crop in small spaces.
Blueberries thrive in sun or part shade and are easiest to grow in ericaceous compost, in large pots. The fruit ripens over a long period, from July to September.
Productive varieties: 'Duke', 'Tophat' and 'Sunshine Blue'.
Strawberries can be grown in a sunny spot in borders, raised beds, strawberry planters and hanging baskets. Everbearing varieties are a good choice in a small space – will crop from early June to September.
Everbearing varieties: 'Aromel' and 'Flamenco.
Redcurrants are a good option for a shady spot, although the flavour will be better in sun. Prune back new shoots in July to encourage fruit spurs. Most varieties ripen in July.
Reliable varieties: 'Junifer', 'Jonkheer van Tets' and 'Rovada'.
Autumn raspberries tolerate part shade and any soil, except soggy soil or chalk. They crop on the current season's growth between August and October.
Autumn varieties: 'Joan J', 'Zeva' and 'Autumn Bliss'.
Rhubarb ripens best in full sun and prefers rich, moist border soil. Allow to establish for a couple of years before pulling. Most varieties crop from April to June.
Proven varieties: 'Timperley Early' and 'The Sutton'.
Gooseberries like sun for at least half the day. Improve thin, sandy soils with well-rotted compost. Leave to ripen for sweet flavour. Crops from June to July.
Delicious varieties: 'Leveller', 'Invicta' and 'Captivator'.
Will an apple tree grow in a pot?
If you water and feed it regularly, and refresh the compost every three to four years, it's possible to grow an apple tree in a large pot. Choose a variety like 'Discovery', 'Falstaff', 'Fiesta' or 'Sunset' that has been grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock such as M9 or M26 to restrict its size.
Choose a deep pot that's at least 45cm in diameter. Plant in a soil-based compost – either good garden soil mixed 3:1 with multipurpose compost, or John Innes No. 3.