How clever is mother nature? She couldn’t have planned things better. Just when we need it most, the trees have delivered their autumn bounty of apples, pears and nuts - nutrient dense food that can be stashed away for eating over the colder months. We’ve had our feast of fresh figs and feijoas. And now the citrus trees are colouring up, as if they know it’s time for our extra boost of Vitamin C.
Meanwhile it’s planting time for a wide range of fruit trees, especially the deciduous ones which are best planted while they’re dormant. If you fancy boosting your backyard harvest, now is the time to get planting. Deciduous fruit trees arrive in garden centres in Autumn and Winter. Don’t miss out on the wide selection of fruit tree varieties on offer at this time of year.
Each piece of fresh fruit provides all-important fibre plus lots of health-giving compounds. Different fruits contain different concentrations of these compounds, so eating a wide range of fruit makes a lot of sense if you want to live a long healthy life.
Apples are high in flavonoids. Studies confirm there is a positive correlation between flavonoids-rich diet and lower risk of colon, prostate and breast cancer. Flavonoids also help to prevent asthma and cardiovascular disease. Recommended garden varieties: Ballerina columnar apples: Bolero and Waltz; or Spire apples Scarlet Spire and Crimson Spire. Dwarf apples: Croquella, Sweetie, Topaz (on dwarfing rootstock). Disease resistant apples, ideal for organic gardens: Roy's Pearl.
Pears are very high in fibre, including pectin, which is great for intestinal health and lowering the cholesterol levels. Pectin slows digestion and makes you feel full so it’s great for weight loss. Pectin is also high in citrus and apples. But it’s important to note that it is found mostly in the skins. Pears are also high in folate so they’re a good choice for expectant mums. Recommended garden varieties: Conference, Crispie and dwarf pear, Garden Belle.
Peaches are high in fibre, Vitamins A, C, E, Potassium, Iron and Zinc. They’re good for your skin, contribute to a healthy heart while helping to prevent cancer and diabetes. Recommended garden varieties: Sweet Perfection, Black Boy, White Princess and dwarf standards Bonanza and Honey Babe.
Nectarines have even more vitamins and minerals than peaches. They are high in ascorbic acid which fights infection and repairs cartilage and bones, making them ideal for athletes. The bright red skinned varieties are high in beta carotene which is important for healthy skin, teeth and bones. Recommended garden varieties: Kay Pearl and Silver King.
Apricots are a good source of Vitamin A and are rich in fibre and antioxidants so are good for the heart. They also contain high levels of calcium and potassium, the combination of both being good for strengthening bones. Recommeded garden varieties: Solar Perfection, Fitzroy, Aprigold (dwarf).
Plums give us Vitamin C, flavonoids, and beta carotene. Recommended garden varieties: Hunterston, Luisa, Black Doris.
Cherries are high in antioxidants, helping to lower the risk of arthritis and diabetes and have anti-inflammatory compounds. They are a good source of anthocyanin which can help enhance memory. Recommended garden varieties: Compact Stella and Tangshe
Citrus is an indispensable source of winter vitamin C. In warm climates they can be planted any time of year. In colder climates plant in spring once the risk of frost has passed. Recommended varieties for small gardens or containers: Lemon Meyer, Mandarin Encore, Orange Navelina.
Figs are low in calories but high in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Recommended garden varieties: Brunswick, French Sugar, Mrs Williams.
Feijoas contain a compound that fights fungal infection without harming the important beneficial bacteria in the gut. They’re also rich in vitamin C. Recommended garden varieties: Sherbet, Wiki Tu, Unique.
Also consider planting smaller fruits such as blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries, currants and grapes.
Always talk to the retail team in store for specific advice on fruit varieties and how to grow them.
Pear dwarf 'Garden Belle'
Peach 'White Princess'
Nectarine 'Silver King'
Cherry 'Compact Stella'