Growing in Containers

If you are short on space, or want to grow varieties that are not quite cold hardy enough for your region then planting in containers is an option.   Wooden wine or whiskey barrels make excellent containers, or you can buy large plant containers from local gardening stores.  Be sure to use a light, well-drained potting mix that is high in organic matter and low in sand or soil that would add unwanted weight to your container.  Keeping containers moist during our hot summers can be a challenge, and setting up a drip or microsprinkler irrigation system is advised if you have more than just a few containers. Water plants often, up to once a day, and be sure to fertilize twice a month during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer (there are many good organic seaweed and fish-based products available).  Sometimes people are in a hurry to plant an orchard before they, or the site, is ready, and think that planting the trees early in containers will give them a head start.  Unless your are starting with small trees (i.e. ones that you have grafted and/or started from cuttings) we do not recommend this - there is a lot of labor and costs involved in potting up 10 or more fruit trees and it often does not result in increased growth.  If container plants are not well cared for the trees will be stunted.