>> Kayla Siefried

September, October, and even into November mark the months where people all over our region are harvesting fruit from trees, especially the leftover apple and pear trees from orchards long past. 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!

I recently partook in a workshop at the Compost Education Centre that was based on planning and planting spaces with trees, shrubs, and other sized plants that support one another’s growth as a community. The focus was on mimicking natural forest ecosystems in the way that forests have layers, and are self-sustaining, while aspiring to have every plant in your plant community serve a purpose or provide abundance. An example would be a small front yard 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, lavender, to attract pollinators and provide beauty; maybe even a grape vine along a fence nearby to utilize vertical space.

If you are thinking of planting a fruit tree, or any kind of tree for that matter, autumn is a great time to do that. Fruit Trees and More (located in North Saanich) sell high quality fruit trees, and are very knowledgeable. And 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. When you plant a tree, be sure to plant it properly, and give it the care it needs through the first two years of its life, and in no time, the harvest will abound.