GARDENING: Growing your own fruit

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SEPTEMBER is a good time for a revamp – in my case, a new fruit bed.

I decided on a major rethink of my raised beds. I’m trying to cut down the amount of seasonal planting (wear and tear on the joints) and fruit, expensive in the shops, seemed the way forward.

The bed’s only 2x1m, but it now houses a frost-hardy self-fertile apricot tree Kioto, six strawberry Parfum Eternal Love (Ewigi Liebi), and two Pointilla shrubs, Sweet ‘n’ Sour and Fortunella, all from Swiss specialist fruit growers Lubera.

There’s plenty of gaps, so I can still grow veg in between, but have the decorative quality of the fruit - the apricot has white blossoms in spring and the Pointilla, one with golden berries, one red, fruit in autumn.

I was staggered when the apricot arrived - in a 10l pot, it was getting on for 7ft tall and the most solid two-year-old tree I’ve ever had delivered. It grows to 2-4m, although can be contained with pruning. It cost £30.40 - not cheap, but a really solid specimen.

It’s best in the shelter of south or west-facing walls, which is where mine is - avoid easterly-facing positions, where morning sun on frosty mornings will destroy the blossom.

The strawberries are everbearing, fruiting from early June to late summer, combining the best characteristics of garden and wild varieties in this Vescana hybrid.

Fruit is medium to large, heart-shaped at first, later irregular and intense dark red. Taste-wise, it is sweet, with a hint of acidity and a distinct fragrance of wild strawberries.

Pointilla, also known as the dotberry, is becoming a bit of a superfood, it’s so packed with nutrients.

They are not self-fertile, so grow two together - I have Sweet ‘n’ Sour, (coral red berries with white dots). The fruits have a prickling, sweet/sour flavour from Mid-October to early November, a bit like popping candy!

Pollinator Fortunella has very large, amber yellow berries with white dots and a sweeter flavour. Both can reach up to 3-4m, but can be limited by pruning to 2.5m. Pointilla shrubs, in a 5l pot, cost £17.40 each.

For more details, log on to www.lubera.co.uk – delivery is just £4.99 and there’s free delivery on apple trees at the minute.