The winter months are the best time to plant and grow fruits in your garden to ensure that you have a bountiful summer for many years to come. This is the time when winter fruits will grow best. Whether you’re looking to plant apples or raspberries, you can be sure to get the most out of your garden.
In this blog post, we discuss everything you need to know about winter season fruits, the various fruits that grow in winter, the best fruits to eat in winter, and how to plant and harvest them.
How To Prepare your Seasonal Fruit Garden for Winter
If you’re looking to grow fruits during winter, there are a few things you will need to do that will prepare your garden to grow the best fruits for winter season.
- Remove Any Spent Annuals: Be sure to plant new annuals that are suitable for the cold season to add a pop of winter color to your garden.
- Clean and Weed Your Garden: The winter season is the perfect time to remove unwanted plants — doing this now will minimize the amount of work you’ll need to do for your garden over the next three seasons.
- Use Leaves as Compost or Mulch: Leaves are great for making compost or mulch — shredded bark can also work, so be sure to make good use of them.
What To Plant in Your Winter Fruit Garden
If you’re looking to plant the best winter fruits, there is a wide range of options for you to choose from, even if your garden has a small space exposed to the sun. This winter fruits list includes the best fruits to eat in winter that you can grow during colder conditions, such as:
Easy To Maintain Plants/Low Maintenance:
- White and red currants
- All hybrid berries
How To Start Seeds for Your Winter Fruit Garden
Winter sowing is a process that allows you to plant seeds even during cold winter months. You will need to keep the container indoors until you see the seeds come out in the spring, which serves to protect the seeds from harsh weather and animals. The container is also used as the ideal environment for seeds to germinate — follow the instructions below to get started.
- Clean the container: Using a milk jug or another kind of container, clean it with warm and soapy water and discard the top.
- Cut out air holes: Use a screwdriver, knife, or nail to create holes to allow for drainage at the bottom of the container. This is an important part of the process, and if ignored, the plants will drown.
- Add soil: Fill your container using a soilless seed starting medium around 2” to 4” high. Don’t use soil directly from your garden since it could contain weed seeds and pathogens.
- Add water: Lightly moisten your growing medium and let the excess drain.
- Sow your seeds: Check for the directions on the package and sow your seed on the soil’s surface, then gently cover it with a layer of soil.
- Seal your container: Using light-colored duct tape, seal the container but leave a section of the top open.
- Label the container: Use a marker to label the kind of seed you’re growing and include the date of sowing then place it at the bottom of your container.
- Set it outdoors: Place your seed somewhere with winter sun — don’t leave it on a covered porch because your seeds need moisture from snow and rain. They also need to experience weather conditions as they would in the wild, but consider placing it inside a milk crate if it’s too windy outside.
How To Plant Your Winter Fruit Garden
During this time of the year, many fruit bushes will be sold as bare-root plants, which means that they will arrive with exposed roots and ready for planting. While your plants are still trying to take root, avoid planting when the ground is frozen or when the weather is terrible. Below are the steps you need to take to start planting your winter fruit.
- Remove all of the perennial weeds
- Soak all of the plant’s roots in water
- Dig a square-shaped hole for the root system
- Place the plant on the same level as the soil
- Firmly backfill with the soil but don’t compact the earth
- Place a stake to support the young trees
- Use a tree guard to protect their trunks
- If the ground is dry, water and mulch it with compost while keeping the trunk area clear
How and When To Harvest Your Winter Fruit Garden
There are many different ways to tell when your winter fruit garden is ready for harvest, all of which can be done using just your senses. You can use your sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, and occasionally sound to tell whether or not your fruit is ready for picking. When you’re sure they’re ready for picking, be sure to do the following:
- Never rip out your fruits from the tree — always use pruners or scissors to ensure that you’ll enjoy a second harvest
- Don’t climb trees or overreach for fruit to avoid falls and injuries
- Don’t leave rotting fruit on the ground, instead, use it for compost or dispose of them so they don’t attract fungus or insects
- Use equipment such as:
- Baskets or bags
- Long sleeves and gloves
- Scissors or shears
- Step ladder
- Fruit picker
- Drop cloth
Winter-Specific Things To Remember When Planning and Working in your Fruit Garden
- Plants are dormant or “sleeping” during winter — this means that they aren’t growing actively.
- Dormant plants need a lot less water to survive and because winter brings rain, be careful not to water them too much.
- Because bugs and diseases aren’t active during winter, you can place new plants in the ground during winter.
Planting winter fruit doesn’t have to be hard — with the right preparation and equipment, you can get started in your own garden. While the weather may be harsh compared to other seasons, you only need to know about a few things to make the necessary adjustments to ensure the growth and development of your seeds. Once your seeds germinate, you should be able to enjoy smooth sailing until they bear the fruits of your hard work.