Picking the right apples for your garden
GROWING your own apples used to need a big backyard with room for a large, spreading tree. Now there are varieties of apples that can grow in a sunny spot in tight spaces as well as pots, meaning that home grown apples can be a wonderful reality for many households.
The 'Ballerina' range of apples are 'columnar', which means they have an upright habit, making them ideal for small and narrow spaces.
Ballerina 'Polka' has medium sized round fruit, which have green skin that develops red areas where exposed to the sun.
The apples are crisp and juicy and are delicious when eaten straight from the tree, but can also be used for cooking and drying.
A mature tree grows to around 3.5m tall and 60cm wide, though will be smaller if grown in a container. In spring the tree is smothered in very pretty white and pink flowers, which bees adore, and produces fruit on spurs close to the main trunk.
Polka will need a pollinator to ensure the best possible fruit set and other compact apples such as Ballerina 'Waltz' and 'Bolero' are ideal.
When planting apples in containers, choose a good quality potting mix and a large pot with good drainage. Also go for a lightweight pot, making them easy to transport and move around if you have to take your orchard with you to a new house.
Look out for the Ballerina range of apples in your local nursery this winter.
Angie Thomas is expert horticulturist from Yates