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Grow Your Own Fruit

Grow Your Own Fruit

The decision to grow your own fruit is an easy one because it’s delicious and economical, but there are other considerations to take into account.

  • Ensure you have enough space to grow your fruit trees. For most fruit you have to plant two trees to cross-pollinate. This means that to grow pears you need two different kinds of pear trees. An apple tree will not pollinate a pear.
  • Bees will carry the pollen from one tree to the other, pollinating as they go.
  • All fruit needs at least 6 hours of direct sun per day and well-drained soil amended with peat moss, manure, or compost.
  • Fruit trees need an ongoing spray program to control insects and disease if you want to produce a healthy crop of edible fruit.

Apple, Pear, Sweet Cherry, Plum

  • To produce fruit, these trees need a second variety to cross-pollinate. If Bartlett is your favourite pear, you have to plant another kind of pear to set fruit on both.
  • To grow Japanese Plums you have to plant two different kinds of Japanese Plums. You can’t cross a Japanese Plum with a European Plum. While most European Plums are self-pollinating they benefit from having another European Plum in the vicinity. In this case, you can’t use a Japanese Plum.

apple on branch

  • The specific variety of sweet cherry called Stella is classified as self-pollinating but you will have a better yield with another variety of cherry planted nearby.
  • Apples can be pollinated by a Crab Apple, eliminating the need for a second apple tree.
  • In all cases, if your neighbour has one of these types of fruit trees that aren’t self pollinating, you will not need to establish a second tree in your garden. Bees travel easily from one yard to another.
  • Another option for small properties is to purchase what is called a 4-in-1 fruit tree where, on a single trunk, four different varieties have been grafted. For instance, you can grow four different kinds of apple on one tree.

Apricot, Nectarine, Peach, Sour Cherry

  • For these fruit trees you only need to plant one, as they are “self-pollinating.” They are very practical for small spaces if you have room for just one fruit tree.


  • Two different kinds of blueberries need to be planted for the best fruit production.
  • Blueberries require an acidic soil (work a lot of peat moss into the area before planting).
  • Blueberries are sun lovers.
  • Set plants 1 m – 1.5 m (3′ – 5′) apart.
  • They have terrific tasting fruit but also have a brilliant autumn foliage colour!


  • Everbearing and June-bearing strawberries prefer a sunny location.strawberry basket
  • They prefer a soil that drains well so you may have to add compost or a 3-in-1 Planting Mix.
  • A layer of mulch like straw or cedar mulch around plants controls weeds, provides winter protection, and protects blossoms from late spring frost.
  • Make additional plantings each year since fruit production declines in the second and third year.


  • Plant raspberries in sun.
  • Ensure soil is amended with manure or compost and a 3-in-1 Planting Mix
  • Position the canes 45 cm (18″) apart in rows 1 m (3′) apart.
  • “Everbearing” raspberries such as Heritage produce fruit every year in late summer/early fall on new canes.
  • All other raspberries produce fruit on canes that have grown for 2 years. Since these thicker canes never produce fruit again, they need to be cut out at ground level once the harvest is complete, leaving the thinner one-year old canes that will bear fruit next year.

raspberries and blueberries

Currants & Gooseberries

  • These fruits are self-pollinating so one plant will suffice.
  • They prefer well-drained, fertile soil.
  • Amend the soil with manure or compost and a 3-in-1 Planting Mix.
  • Position currants singly or 60 cm – 100 cm (2′ – 3′) apart, in rows 125 cm (4′) apart
  • Gooseberries can be established as a single bush or 100 cm – 125 cm (3′ – 4′) apart.
  • Currants and gooseberries flower and produce fruit on last year’s wood so don’t prune them in the spring.
  • After 3 or 4 years when the older wood becomes less productive, thin out branches to encourage new growth when fruiting has finished for the season.