Growing fruit on trees is easy these days with fairly cheap young saplings for sale even at supermarkets, isn't it? Answer - no!
While purchasing such young trees and planting in a suitable spot in your garden is not rocket science managing to get any good fruit growing on the tree and fit for eating is not so easy.
Some years fruit trees, such as apple, are dogged by pests. In the end they may strip your tree bare and or result in stunted fruit. Then there are young and older birds that may pick of the best of the fruit while it is still too small for you to select. The bonus is though those birds will also sometimes feed on the insects on your tree's leaves.
In June 2015 in the UK a mixed weather bag gave our fruit trees a bumpy ride.
Our garden is fairly small but we have managed to plant one cherry, one plum, a pear and an apple tree. They have been in situ a couple of years now.
In 2015 the cherry and apple trees had a good show of blossom in spring. Sometimes that leads to nothing but we were lucky and a fair amount of apples and cherries growing fatter each day and slowly ripening followed.
The problem however in 2016 was pests or bugs especially on the plum tree.
We noticed one evening that the leaves of this tree were sticky. That was the first sign of infestation.
We tried the old and tested method of spraying with soapy water liquid but that did not clear the problem. Ultimately we had to use a pest killer against better judgement.
That improved matters but meant no plums this year.
The cherry tree remained in good health and we received a bumper crop this year but the apple tree was problematic.
This time we spotted leaves turning in on themselves and sure enough checking the underside of leaves we found a variety of bugs settling in.
Taking a couple of photos in the garden to accompany this report a nice group of small animals looked bigger than they really were as two medium sized snails had attached themselves.
Mother Earth news offers some good information about growing fruit trees
What is your advice for getting a good fruit crop from a small garden? Let me know in the comments below as we all look forward to spring 2017 and beyond.