Have you ever wanted to grow fresh fruits in the comfort of your own home? Here are a few simple steps to achieve the desired fruit of your choice, homegrown by your very own hands.
Before we begin, there has to be a container for the fruit to grow. This container is chosen with the size, weight, and sturdiness in mind, together with the inclusion of drainage holes. For smaller plants, they usually grow for a few years in a standard fruit container spanning 8-inches while larger plants may have to be constantly shifted to bigger containers until they fit 36 to 48-inch wide pots. Bigger plants are usually more troublesome as they require more strength to move the huge fruit containers. Some common options for fruit containers include the durable but heavy stone and terra cotta type, the lightweight and attractive wooden type, or the long-lasting synthetic plastic and polystyrene type. A point to note about wood fruit containers is that they do rot over some time, so regular checks must be made to ensure the condition of the container.
Step One: Choose the right potting mix
An advantage of growing fruits in a container is that it gives the opportunity to provide the perfect kind of soil; one with a good combination of air pockets, an ability to retain moisture while draining, and the capability of holding the nutrients taken in. For containers, it is beyond just using garden soils as they do not drain correctly, may contain organisms that carry diseases, and are usually heavier. However, the kind of potting mix that is formulated just for container fruit gardening involves practically no real soil. Instead, the mix contains the ability to adjust moisture control, and control-release fertilizers that are already incorporated to reduce the frequency of watering and feeding.
For those that do not trust store-bought mixes, you can concoct your own by taking an equal ratio of peat moss, composted fir or pine bark while mixing with perlite and wetting the mix throughout the process. There is also an option to add in slow-release fertilizer. To combine, portion the ingredients into a cone-shape while allowing the mix to slide down the cone, repeating the process three to five times to get it completely and thoroughly mixed.
Step Two: Appropriately watering and feeding.
Fruits that thrive in subtropics definitely demand constant watering than fruits grown from the ground. There has to be sufficient water to submerge the entire root and you should be attentive to water leaking out of the pot while watering. If the water seems to be rushing too quickly out of the drainage holes of the pot, it means that the plant has not been watered or received water for too long and the mix is discharging the liquid instead of retaining it. To fix this, you have to slowly introduce little amounts of water to ensure that the mix retains the moisture.
Moving onto the feeding, there are many types of fertilizers such as slow or quick-release and liquid ones; you should take care not to over-fertilize or under-fertilize the plants. For container plants, using an entirely liquid fertilizer that carries micronutrients seems to be the optimal choice. This is due to the need to replace the nutrients that will have dissolved while watering the plants. Although granular fertilizers can be applied, these types require time to dissolve before the nutrients can be taken in by the roots. Meanwhile, slow-release fertilizer will consistently provide nutrients and will be the most advantageous if a steady supply is needed. The only downside is that liquid fertilizers may need to be added when the plant reaches peak growth. To ensure that the plants do not belatedly grow in frosty seasons, you should begin feeding at the start of spring and cease feeding in either late summer or early fall.
Step three: Root pruning correctly
While fruit plants continue to grow indoors, they will inevitably run out of space for their roots. Even those plants well adjusted to their containers face this problem and without sufficient space, the roots become more challenging to water properly, thus leading to delayed and stunted growth with fruit production lag.
Root pruning is an easy process that begins by trimming around one-third of the upper part of the plant to make up for the part of the roots that will be pruned. The plant is subsequently removed from the container and one-fourth to one-third should be cut from the outside of the root ball with a knife. The plant is then placed back into the pot with fresh soil and meticulously watered. When done properly, the root pruning process can be the simplest solution to help an indoor plant that is root-bound.
Step Four: Transporting from indoors to out
For those who wish to have their fruit plants kept outside during the warmer months and indoors during the colder months, the plants will be required to adjust accordingly to the changing environments. You should make sure to put the plants outdoors after a long period of winter, taking care to position them in a shady area and gradually exposing them to little increments of sunlight over a few weeks to ensure that the leaves are not sunburnt. Similarly, to transport plants indoors from outside, do it at a moderately slow speed while introducing smaller and smaller amounts of sunlight. It is a good idea to hose down or wash off any dust or dirt left on the leaves and when needed, extinguish pests that have gathered on the plants.
Step Five: Giving the right amount of TLC
When the plants and fruit trees are located indoors, water will not be as necessary but it is important to make sure that your plant does not get dehydrated entirely. These plants will also not require light, especially if you wish to preserve them at a resting state until spring kicks in. However, if the aim is to ripen the plants, then the more light shed on them, the better. Additional lighting can be achieved with artificial lighting while adjusting the feeding to how much the plants have to be grown. In general, it is best to feed lightly.
Fruit plants that have been basking under the sun the entire summer may be gravely affected by the heat that resides and circulates through the majority of homes during the colder months. As a result, their leaves may shed and to prevent that, it is vital to amp up the surrounding humidity. This can be easily done by placing the containers on a flat container of rocks that is half-submerged in the water while gathering the indoor plants and locating them somewhere far away from heat vents.
The common misconception people usually have for subtropical fruits is that the fruits have to reside in the subtropics in order for them to grow and thrive. Fruits such as grapefruit, orange, passion fruit and lemon typically can flourish even when grown indoors, and in containers as well. By growing fruits inside containers and indoors, there is both the benefit of situating the plants according to the weather, as well as solving poor soil problems. There are many ways to grow indoor fruits, be it in a greenhouse, on a windowsill with the sun shining bright and strong, or in a cool and shady basement; most of these plants require sufficient TLC and pampering. Although, with slightly more maintenance than the traditional houseplant. By following these five steps, you can be sure to acquire fresh fruits grown in the security and support of your own home.