There are many homeowners with a lot of unutilised space in their compounds.
It never crosses their minds that they can grow their own fruits. For smaller garden space, one can grow grafted fruit trees.
What you need to consider
Michael Gitta, a gardener, describes growing plants for food as edible landscaping.
But before one plants fruit trees, the size of the compound should be considered, as well as the surrounding areas and above all, on one’s personal preference, to ensure they achieve maximum beauty.
“The beauty of the tree could be derived from the shape and colour of the leaves or flowers,” he explains.
According to Gitta, the mistake most people make is copying other people’s compound designs, instead of going with what suits their personality, compound shape and size.
He adds: “Maintaining these plants is crucial. They should be trimmed so that they do not overgrow. Spraying is also necessary, especially if they are flowering, to prevent the leaves and fruits from being affected by pests and diseases.
Soil improvement is required. One has to make sure it is fertilised, with good drainage and PH checked. The garden also has to be mulched.”
Space and beauty
Isam Kambugu, a compound designer, says fruit trees can be planted along the fence, leaving enough space for those that have branches to spread out without being squeezed.
According to Kambugu, the trees should complement the homeowner’s other needs such as party hosting, safety for children (shouldn’t be poisonous) and uniqueness.
According to Gitta, fruit trees such as mango, orange, guava, pawpaw, soursop (kitafferi), star fruit (muzabibu) and avocado not only make the compound look beautiful, but also avail you with fruits seasonally.
But, it is important to note that fruit trees can become messy during the harvest season.
He adds that it is better to plant grafted mangoes as they do not take a lot of space.
Before planting, dig holes of 2x2ft; add manure and spray to prevent pests and diseases from attacking the plants.
They have to be sprayed regularly at flowering and this tree takes two to three years to mature,” he says.
Trees with less maintenance
Gitta says one should consider trees that require less maintenance as well as disease-resistant varieties.
Gitta says trees with taproots are good since they go down into the ground instead of spreading out.
“Trees with taproots do not perimeter walls, unlike the wildly fibrous roots that damage structures,” he explains.