Planting stone fruits for fan training

Following the renovations to our kitchen garden we have new lengths of east facing and north facing fence. Boundary walls or fences are ideal for planting trained fruit, providing a harvest whilst taking up little space. If walls are available they offer further advantages, warming up during the day and slowly releasing stored heat during the night. As we already have cordons apples and pears, we chose a selection of stone fruit for fan training around the fence.

Along our east facing fence we have chosen two plums – Kirke’s Blue and Coe’s Golden Drop, a Transparent Gage, and a Mirabelle de Nancy. These would arguably be better on a west facing wall – the afternoon sun, during the warmer part of the day, being somewhat more valuable than the morning sun – but one must make use of what resources are available.

The north wall was traditionally the location for sour cherries. Sweet cherries benefit from warmer and more sunny conditions but sour cherries do well in cooler and shadier positions. There are two classes of sour cherry – the Morello and the amarelle – differentiated by the pigmentation of flesh and juice, the amarelle sort having pale flesh and juice and the Morello having red flesh and juice. Morellos are common in Britain, whereas the amarelles are more common in other places. We picked a Morello cherry and Montmorency, an old French cultivar of the amarelle sort. We also planted a May Duke cherry. This may or may not do well in this location. There is a little afternoon sun during the summer but otherwise the location might be too shady for a duke cherry – a cross between a sweet and a sour cherry – to thrive; time will tell.

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