So, you think plants are a thing for old, boring people! Yep, so do we!
But what about fruit!?! I mean, its kind of an essential requirement for good health! And it tastes frickin awesome! Peaches, Grapes, Kiwi, Lemons, Olives. I couldn't live without them.. and nor could our products!
So what if I told you that you can grow all of the above at home with ease! YES I AM REFERRING TO UK INHABITANTS HERE!!! And I mean all of the UK... with perhaps the only exception being the absolute extreme north of the 'wee little countrayyy' that we know as Scotland!
Naturally Wicked grow the most exotic and beautiful fruit right here, in the North West of England! Pesticide free, GM free and fed on nothing but pure rain water, kitchen scraps and golden sun (admittedly the sun can be rare, but not this year!)
'So how the hell do I overcome this incredible task of getting a load of unsprayed, untouched exotic fruit trees in my tiny little concrete garden?' I hear you say! 'And what about all the work involved with maintaining and looking after this fruit?' or some of you may be thinking 'Exotic fruit in the UK... Get stuffed!'
Well I put it to you that you should stop listening to the drama queens and the 'experts' amongst us. Fruit trees were here long before us and will be here long after us! They don't need care, they don't need attention, they don't need anything really other than light, water and soil. It doesn't get any simpler, right?
For instance, take my Grape Vines... Pretty much any variety of grapes will grow in this country, but the particular photographs you see are of Black Venus Grapes and Green Phoenix Grapes... Both are as hardy as they need to be to survive our long hard winters! And both are hassle free! I dug two holes, I placed a tiny 6 inch Grape Vine in each (Purchased from Lidl) and waited two years! After two years, I grabbed all the grapes I could (Before my kids could get to them) and ate all 10 of them! Then there's this year... The third year! Well, this year I had to change tactics. They have grown so high, that I could no longer balance their whispy little vines on other plants and bushes... Instead, I gave in and put a few nails in a few pieces of wood to make a trellis of sorts. The vines sit at roughly 2 - 2.5 metres high now and the abundance of grapes being readied for this year is unbelievable. There's easily 500 - 600. I may even attempt making wine this year, but thats a whole different subject! So the work involved with these... I dug 2 holes, I built a trellis on the third year (theyd be happy climbing a bit of string tied between two pieces of wood if a trellis is out of your remit) and I have never even watered them!!! Really!!! This country is wet enough to permanently water grapes, whether it rains or not! And what do I have... A vine that will just keep on giving more and more, year on year!
Then there's my Olives. Now these really are easy. It's as simple as this... Buy an Olive tree... Any olive tree! They're 10 a penny on Amazon and Asda sell them in the Summer! Dig a hole. Put it in! That's it. Dont water it, dont feed it, dont even touch it (except when you're removing olives). Within a year you will have at least a jar's worth of Olives! The only time this tree will not produce is when challenged through a terribly long, hard winter. The rest of the time... You'll have an abundance of olives that grows larger and larger year on year!
So slightly more complex, peaches. And not always more complex. You'll see above a picture of my peach tree. She's a beauty! 2 years old and perhaps another 2 at the garden centre she came from. What did I do? I dug a hole, buried its roots and never watered it! And yes, I have a good 70 or so peaches to feast on later this year! Easily got my money back. See the pattern? Now, Peach trees do have a slight susceptibility to a disease called Peach Leaf Curl in this country, given how wet it is! And you'll never guess what this disease does... Yes... You got it... It curls the leaves! Wow! Yes, gardeners really do get a hard on over this stuff! It's relatively harmless, barely (if at all) affects the fruit and is gone with the appearance of the trees second leaves in early summer. So, why the gardeners hard ons... Well, it has been known to kill trees off apparently. Not mine mind! If you're scared of curly leaves, either shelter your tree from rain in the spring (which sounds like hassle) or spray a bit of copper solution on it twice yearly. Firstly, when the leaves fall off in late autumn and again, just before they grow back in March. The Peach you're looking for if you're a UK resident... Rochester. That girl will give you more peaches than you could ever believe.
Now the real challenge, and this is for the more advanced interested fruit growers amongst us! Lemons, in the UK. This is completely doable. This particular fruit can take a little fooling around, but it's relatively easy in the grand scheme of things. If you have a greenhouse, put your lemon in a terracotta pot and leave it there. Water it when soil is completely dry in summer, and don't even think about watering it in winter unless it becomes BONE dry! Even then, go easy! Cold weather doesn't really hassle these little chaps. You'll perhaps lose your leaves, but it'll stop at that providing you shelter it from actual frost. You don't have a greenhouse; grow it on a sunny windowsill. For an awesome windowsill mixture grab a Calamondin Orange to accompany your lemon. They require the same care as a Lemon and provide a tonne more Citrussy, tangy, lemon-like oranges. Great for drinks! The lemon you should be looking for by the way; Eureka Lemon! Forget what the forums say about Meyer Lemon. The Meyer is awful in this country. Eureka gets you a good batch in a sunny greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill. And whats more, citrus plants smell outstanding! Perfect for a South facing kitchen windowsill.
Then there's the Cherries, Currants (Red, White, Black), Raspberries, Blueberries, Gooseberries, Strawberries, Pears, Apples, Plums and many more .... I manage them all in the tiny garden that I have. So what's your excuse. If it's a lack of soil, use terracotta pots. If it's a lack of space, buy semi-dwarf trees and have a pair of shears to hand (And don't listen to Alan Titchmarsh and his pals telling you how to cut a plant, just cut the bloody thing if its too big). If it's a lack of money, do you realise what you're paying for this stuff at the supermarket? If it's a lack of time, you're looking at it all wrong! It takes none for the vast majority of fruits!
I encourage every reader to get online now and find one of the trees mentioned above. It really is super easy. Think of the bees. Think of your health. Think of the effect that each new tree has on the unhealthy and none eco-friendly mass production of fruit! Did you know your average apple has travelled 1,500 miles before you eat it? Think of the birds, the hedgehogs, the wildlife. Think of the oxygen that your tree gives back to Earth! Plant for the 'fruiture'... For your childrens future... For the planets future! Be the change you would like to see in the world! Be Naturally Wicked!
In your quest for the best prices check out Amazon, check out the local supermarkets and for the most unusual of UK fruiting plants, check out www.lubera.co.uk with whom we have no affiliation whatsoever! These are purely a newish company that I have used and would highly recommend. Whatever you plant, send us some photographs and we'll do our best to share! See you soon guys and girls! There will be another instalment or two to come...