Care of Fruit Trees

Growing Fruit in Spain

March and April are among the most important months of the year for planting and caring for fruit trees. To help you get off to a good start we have written a new book dedicated to fruit growing. The title is ‘Growing healthy fruit in Spain – From strawberries to oranges and giant pumpkins’.

Success Factors for Fruit Growing

Ten of the most important points made in our book are as follows.

  1. Grow the types of fruit that you enjoy eating fresh, in salads, cooked dishes, deserts or juiced, soft and alcoholic drinks.
  2. After the frosts experienced in recent winters ensure that you select fruit appropriate to the microclimate of your garden and buy trees that have been hardened off in your area.
  3. If in a frost belt delay planting new trees  until after the last frosts to prevent damage to tender young growth.
  4. Prepare the soil well before planting. Dig over a one square metre area working in plenty of compost and well rotted manure from local stables or herds or bagged from the local agricultural cooperative.
  5. Stake new trees to prevent them tilting in strong winds and loosening the roots.
  6. Let new fruit trees develop  strong deep and spreading roots before pruning to stimulate new growth.
  7. Ensure the land slopes away from the trunks of the trees to prevent them from becoming water logged and the roots from starting to rot.
  8. Spray trees on a regular basis with ecological/organic sprays to ensure that your fruit is not tainted by chemical residues and to ensure that the air in the garden is always safe for children and pets.
  9. Recognise that fruit trees can be pruned into a number of decorative and space saving shapes including bushes , standards, cordons and fans.
  10. Prune trees annually. A twenty to thirty percent cut back is normal for well maintained trees. However mature neglected trees may need seventy or eighty percent cut backs to cut out dead and diseased growth, stimulate new healthy growth and  sizeable fruit.

Spring pruning, feeding and watering – if you have had dry weather since the January/early February rains – are all necessary over the next few weeks. So don’t let your trees down. Action now will ensure seasonal crops throughout the year.

Spanish Fruits for all Seasons

The harvesting of ripe fresh fruit is possible 365 days a year in many situations in Spain. Some of the most popular fruits are listed below.

Type of Fruit Typical Harvest Time
Lemons 12 months of the year with the Four Seasons or Luna varieties.
Oranges November to May with a succession of early, mid and late season varieties.
Raspberries May to November
Strawberries December to July
Apricots June
Figs July to October
Apples August to October
Almonds August to September
Grapes August to October
Persimmons October to January
Pomegranate October to February
Walnuts September to November
Olives November to February
Bananas September to March
Avocados October to June

And amazingly most of them can be grown in containers on an apartment terrace, in a town house patio garden as well as in the garden or orchard.

Try a strawberry tub or window box for starters.

Do Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Luckily there are ways of natural ways of improving the structure of your soil, fertilizing the soil and spraying against insects and fungal diseases that are more environmentally friendly than the strong chemical products used in much of Spain since the decline in the number of horses, mules, donkeys, sheep and goats which have been decimated in Spain during the past twenty years.

Processing Gluts of Fruit

It is very easy to have gluts of various fruits even if you only have a few trees, .bushes or plants. Surplus fruit can be processed into jams, chutneys, wines and liquors or simply frozen or dried. We increasingly make overnight use of our tray drier to prepare dried fruit and indeed vegetables as succulent high energy level snacks.