Small space apples
If you don’t have a big backyard, being able to pick your very own apples doesn’t need to be just a dream.
There are lots of varieties of apples that can grow in a sunny spot in tight spaces as well as pots, meaning that home grown apples can be a wonderful reality.
The ‘Ballerina®’ range of apples are ‘columnar’, which means they have an upright habit, making them ideal for small and narrow spaces. Ballerina ‘Polka’ grows to around 3 m tall but only 60 cm wide, however will be smaller if grown in a pot.
It has medium sized round fruit, which have green skin that develops red areas where exposed to the sun. The apples are crisp and juicy and are delicious when eaten straight from the tree, but can also be used for cooking and drying.
In spring the tree is smothered in very pretty white and pink flowers, which bees adore, and produces fruit on spurs close to the main trunk. ‘Polka’ will need a pollinator to ensure the best possible fruit set and other compact apples such as Ballerina ‘Waltz’ and ‘Bolero’ are ideal. Look out for the Fleming’s Nurseries Ballerina range of apples in your local nursery this winter.
How To Grow:
- When planting apples in the ground, mix a handful of Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser into the bottom of the planting hole. This not only helps to improve the soil’s water and nutrient holding capacity and structure, but also provides the apple with gentle, slow release organic nutrients as it establishes.
- For container grown apples, choose a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix and a large pot with good drainage.
- Yates Tuscan® Pots are ideal as they are specially designed with vertical root training ridges down the inside of the pot (to direct the roots down rather than around) and plenty of drainage holes. They are also lightweight, making them easy to transport and move around if you have to take your orchard with you to a new house.
Apple pie time!
If you love making scrumptious apple pies, crumble and strudel (of course served with a large dollop of cream or custard – yum!) then tart green ‘Granny Smith’ is the best variety of apple to use. They’re still tasty after being cooked and when eaten fresh they’re crisp and full of flavour.
Granny Smith apples are late maturing, which means they are fresh and in season in mid to late autumn and also store well.
Granny Smith apple trees do best in areas with cool winters and grow to around 4 m tall. Dwarf varieties, reaching around 2 m tall, can be grown very successfully in large pots, making them ideal for a sunny courtyard. A Yates Tuscan 400 mm pot is a sturdy, attractive and lightweight pot choice. For best results, fill pots with a good quality potting mix such as Yates Premium Potting Mix.
Granny Smith will need to be grown near a suitable pollinator, like Gala or Fuji, to help achieve the best possible harvest. There are dwarf varieties available of these pollinators as well, so you can have your very own mini apple orchard.
Apples are often planted during winter as bare rooted trees however can also be available as potted trees at other times of the year and so are great for planting during autumn.
Feed apple trees from spring to autumn with Yates Thrive Natural Citrus & Fruit Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food, which promotes healthy leaf growth and lots of delicious apples. Yates Thrive Natural Citrus & Fruit Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food also contains more than 50% natural ingredients, including Yates Dynamic Lifter, which helps improve soil quality and encourage hardworking earthworms and beneficial soil microorganisms.
Yates 15kg Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food & Soil Improver Pellets