Few things taste more delicious than fruit picked straight from the tree, when perfectly ripe. This is fruit the way nature intended, t fruit that has been flown in from thousands of miles away, or stored in climate-controlled warehouses before being sealed in plastic for supermarket shelves. From ripe berries bursting with juice, to apples, plums or cherries, the new, fully revised edition of Grow Fruit shows that it's easy to grow your own, matter how little room you have. The rth-south divide In southern Australia, we have what's called a temperate climate, and are able to grow a wide variety of fruit fairly successfully. That said, there are real differences from one part of the country to ather. An imaginary line drawn from Brisbane to Perth more or less indicates the divide between rth and south. Cool-climate tree fruits such as apples, pears, plums, and cherries; berries such as raspberries, thornless blackberries, and currants; and warm temperate or Mediterranean climate fruits can be grown in suitable microclimates south of this line. North of this line, temperatures and humidity increase due to the tropical weather pattern. Conditions best suit tropical fruits and citrus, but it's worth sourcing low-chill varieties of peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples, and grapes, which may be grown successfully rth of this line. Fruit cultivars A quick look at the catalogue of a specialist plant nursery - or, indeed, at a few of the pages that follow in this book - will give you an immediate idea of just how many different varieties or cultivars there are of each major type of fruit. There are literally thousands of different apples, and scores if t hundreds of pears, plums, cherries, grapes, strawberries, oranges, and so on. Irrigation Adequate soil moisture is essential for fruit and nut trees, particularly when trees are young and fruit is developing. Unfortunately, there are few regions in Australia where fruit trees will crop well without irrigation. Trees may survive without irrigation, but to produce good-sized, juicy fruits, they require watering during dry periods. Due to water restrictions, trees grown in gardens may need to be hand-watered. Frequency of watering should depend on weather conditions, seasonal growth, and fruit development but, generally, with a drip system, two one-hour irrigations an hour apart one day a week is adequate in summer and provides better moisture spread than single watering. Watering before sunrise or after sunset reduces evaporation. Grow Fruit shows just how easy it is to grow your own fruit. You don't need a huge garden or a dedicated orchard. It's possible to get a perfectly good harvest from plants grown in containers on balconies or patios and from even the smallest of town gardens. Pick the right varieties for the conditions you've got, invest in a bit of planning and preparation, follow the instructions contained in these pages, and you can be harvesting and eating your own strawberries, plums, pears, apricots, blackberries, redcurrants, melons, and figs.
Jennifer Wilkinson is an Australian freelance writer and gardener living on a self-sufficient farm in Dargo, Victoria, where she has developed her practical horticultural expertise growing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. She has written six books on gardening and horticulture, and has been the editor of Australian Nutgrower, the nut industry journal, as well as a regular contributor of articles and photographs to the Age gardening sections. Jennifer has been a consultant on numerous DK Books. Alan Buckingham has over twenty five years' experience in illustrated publishing. He is a freelance writer, editor, gardener and photographer, and commissioning editor of books on digital art, photography and design, and has been taking photographs for almost 40 years. In the 1990s, he was a pioneer in the early days of digital imaging, multimedia, and internet publishing. Alan lives in Hampton Wick, Surrey, UK.