›› Kayla Siefried
The fall months mark the time where people all over our region are harvesting fruit from trees. If you’ve been longing for a fruit tree of your own, now is the time to plant one (or prepare your soil for a spring planting). Because the soil is still warm, and the rain is returning, this time of year is perfect for young, vulnerable trees that need support in their first years of growth; and you won’t have to be as diligent with watering, as the winter rains will keep them moist!
When you are planning your space to accommodate your new fruit tree, one idea is to focus on mimicking natural forest ecosystems in the way that forests have layers and are self-sustaining. That could look like a yard, garden, or boulevard featuring a dwarf apple tree with two varieties grafted on it to support pollination and offer food for humans; a small goumi bush that fixes nitrogen to feed other plants and provides delicious food for humans and birds; bunches of comfrey to offer an abundance of fast growing plant matter that can be used as mulch; yarrow, calendula, and lavender to attract pollinators and provide beauty.
If you are thinking of planting a fruit tree, autumn (and early spring too) is a great time to do that. The City of Victoria has a neat initiative called the Trees in Cities Challenge. Check out the City’s website for info on to plant and maintain trees. They even have a grant for purchasing trees you can plant on private and public lands. If you’re looking for a good source of fruit trees, try Fruit Trees and More—they sell high quality fruit trees. If autumn feels too soon for your grand garden plans, you can order a tree now for spring planting (also a fine time to plant), while you get your soil ready over the winter by sheet mulching. Check out the Compost Education Centre’s website, compost.bc.ca, for free workshops on how to sheet mulch to build soil! In no time, your tree’s harvest will abound.