There is an enormous number of types and varieties of fruit that can be grown under Mediterranean climate conditions ranging from soft fruits to grapes and temperate and sub-tropical climate fruit trees. Even tropical fruits are possible in the warmer south facing frost free spots. In our best selling book ‘Growing healthy fruit in Spain’ we describe over seventy types and have grown half ourselves in a 350 metre above sea level valley some dozen kilometres from the Mediterranean sea shore. For those who live in apartments many trees , especially if dwarf varieties or more vigorous varieties grafted to dwarfing root stocks can be grown successfully in containers. There is a special chapter about this in the book ‘Apartment Gardening – Mediterranean style’.
The main constraint is the micro-climate of your garden or orchard. Mediterranean climate conditions are generally described as hot summers and cold winters with most rain in the spring and autumn. But this can vary tremendously in reality. We have experienced temperatures from one offs plus 47 degrees centigrade down to a wind factor minus 15. The latter was when we had the coldest week in our area for fifty years in March 2005. It was the end of of our most tender fruit trees including a productive mango tree and couple of carefully nurtured pineapple plants. Normally our temperatures range from 35 down to minus one or two but on the coast this would be 38 down to 2 degrees. Our land faces south and has long hours of sunshine all year round but just 800 metres away properties on the north facing slopes of the valley have few hours sunshine and very heavy frosts every winter. Re rain we have had just 400 mm of rain in a year up to 650 mm in a day in November 1996.
Seven success factors for fruit trees
1. That you take note of the drought and frost resistances of each type of fruit before you decide what to try growing. This information is provided in the book ‘Growing healthy fruit in Spain’.
2. That you prepare large planting holes and work well rotted manures and compost into the planting soil.
3.That young trees are firmly staked until the guy-rope roots are fully developed.
4. That you keep root balls damp but not wet until deep tap roots have been out down.
5. That annual winter pruning is carried out to stimulate fruiting buds and ensure that most sap goes to these branches.
6. That trees are sprayed at the appropriate times of year with ecological insecticides fungicides and foliar feeds.
7. That fruit is harvested branch by branch when ripe, not all as once generally when under-ripe as is done bymany commercial growers.
The book ‘Growing healthy fruit in Spain’
This popular book will help you decide what to buy, how to plant and what ongoing care is required. It is most easily available from the website of the publishers Santana Books or from Amazon books and many other internet bookshops. The normal price is 16.90 euros in Spain.