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Gourmet garden: fruit trees that are easy to grow in the UK *

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Fruit trees are a wonderful addition to the garden, not only do they look pretty, but they supply you with an incredible fruit harvest year on year. As well a fresh fruit to eat, it can also be used in a variety of ways to make it last through the winter too. With the UK being a colder climate for a lot of the year you might wonder what will realistically grow in your garden, but actually, there are a quite a few different fruit trees that will establish beautifully and produce fruit without much intervention from you.

3 Fruit Trees You Can Grow In Your Own Garden:

1. Apricots

The great thing about apricots is they’re self-fertile, meaning there’s no complicated pollination process for them to produce fruit. Modern varieties are able to do very well in the UK, producing a generous crop that’s ready to harvest in late July and August. Apricots trees do best in deep, moisture- retentive and well-drained soils. Ideally, it will be slightly alkaline. When you’ve eaten all of the delicious sweet apricots you can handle, you can dry the rest for tasty snacks. Dried apricots also work well in dishes like tagines or chopped up on cereal or in muesli. Drying is easy- simply pit the ripe fruit, slice in half and put them on a sheet in a warm oven. Properly stored they can last six to twelve months.

2. Plums

Plums are another great choice, producing bumper crops of sweet and juicy fruits that are ready to pick late summer. In fact, they often do so well that the branches can snap under the weight of all the fruit!  If you look at plum trees online, choose a self-fertile variety such as Blue Tit, Giant Prune, Victoria or Manns No1. These are perfect for amateur gardeners and will produce fruit without any messing around from you. If you have a glut of homegrown plums to use, how about making a tasty plum sauce?

3. Pears

Once they are established, pears need very little care throughout the year and make a tasty autumn harvest. A pruning once a year will ensure the best crop and a sprinkle of fertiliser in spring. Something even the least green-fingered people could manage! Pears are best picked just before they’re fully ripe and allowed to ripen for a week or so afterwards depending on the variety. Choose a suitable partner (a different type of pear) to pollinate, or again choose a self fertile variety which you will find at various garden centres and nurseries. Use pears to make a chutney that works perfectly with blue cheese, or slice them up and add them to a salad for a fruity twist.