Just because you don’t have a place in the country with lots of room doesn’t mean you can’t grow some delicious home grown fruit. Fruits that can be grown in small spaces include:
- Miniature fruit trees
- Espalier fruit trees
Strawberries can be grown in strawberry pots, hanging baskets, or planters with little space required. They are super easy to grow and some varieties, like Hecker and Seascape produce fruit all season long starting within a few weeks of planting.
Brazelberry- Raspberry Shortcake
Brazelberries are a new dwarf raspberry that only gets about 2-3 feet tall. The most popular variety is “Raspberry Shortcake”. It does wonderfully in a large pot on the sunny patio. Just bring it in to the garage for the winter. Fruit is produced on 2nd year canes just like raspberries. They can also be planted in the garden, where they will spread like other raspberries.
Blueberries are not suited to growing in east Idaho due to our alkaline soils, but if you choose hardy varieteis like Northcountry, Northblue, Northsky, or Patriot they can be grown in raised beds filled with organic potting mix and amended with sulfur at the rate of 1 lb. per 10 cubic feet of soil. The ideal soil pH is 4.5 to 5.5.
Honeyberries are new to most people although they have been grown for decades in the cold of Russia and Canada. They are known as zhimolost in Russia, haskap in Japan, and honeyberry in the USA! They are hardy to -45 degrees F and have a unique taste that is hard to compare to other fruit. Some say it’s similar to blueberry, or kiwi, or blackberry… or not. They have a higher level of antioxidants than blueberries. They don’t sucker. And they are one of the first fruits you will harvest each year, about the same time as the early strawberries. They grow 3 to 8 feet tall depending on the variety.
Miniature peaches and nectarines grow only 4 to 6 feet tall and can be grown in a large pot (at least 2 ft. in diameter). Move into the garage for the winter if you grow them in a pot. They are hardy to about -20 degrees F and should be planted in a protected location. They will often bear fruit the first year.
Carmine Jewel Cherries
Carmine Jewel Bush Cherry is a new tart cherry introduced by the University of Saskatchewan. It is a cross between the tart cherry tree and the Mongolian bush cherry. Romeo is another good variety. They grow about 6 to 8 feet tall and are hardy to -45 degrees F. If allowed to mature to a dark red they are sweet enough to be eaten fresh off the tree. Otherwise they are great for pies and sauces.
Espalier fruit trees are trained to grow in small spaces such as along a fence or the side of a building. Although they do require some effort to train and maintain, you can use this method to grow almost any variety of fruit tree even if your space is limited. Apples and pears work especially well. And it’s easier to do than you might think. You can also purchase trees that are already trained as an espalier. Sometimes they will have multiple varieties grafted onto one tree.
So if you don’t have a lot of room you can still grow a wide variety of fruit to enjoy. And it will be guaranteed to be fresh and delicious. Go ahead and give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.