This month, they are changing their business model, selling directly to the consumers who are doing a whole lot more home-cooking these days.
Changing course was a bit like turning the Titanic around, but now Florida farmers are getting help from the state department of agriculture, which has created a website to connect them to local buyers.
Floridians can search the website for farms and co-ops near them and a list of what each farm offers.
While some farms grow primarily mono-crops – such as tomatoes for ketchup – some are bio-diverse, organic farms with a wide variety of specialty produce that used to be sold in high-end local restaurants, including:
Dandelions – not an annoying weed, but a medicinal plant in your garden
If you like walking in the forest from the end of March to the end of October, then you will definitely have meet a small yellow flower on meadows. Fields, clearings or seen in cracks in walls. A lot of people don’t know exactly what that is and just ignore it. Others also find “the annoying weed” in the city, where it doesn’t stop at streets and sidewalks. Most people don’t even realize that this is the dandelion. And this is much more than you think. It is a medicinal plant that is often underestimated. The so-called common dandelion is a persistent, herbaceous and easily adaptable plant. It is by no means toxic, on the contrary, delicious and healthy. We are sure to have sparked your interest: stay tuned to find out more about the dandelion. Here we also show its health benefits and report which ailments and diseases weed can help with.
The dandelion can be found walking in the forest or on a meadow.
In the cities, where the air is still not very polluted, the medicinal plant grows on sidewalks and alongside roads.
How do you recognize the common dandelion?
The dandelion originally comes from western Asia and is now widespread in Central Europe. The healthy herb can also be found on other parts of the world in the northern hemisphere. It is still called dandelion or buttercup. The plant can also have other names such as common cowflower or real or common dandelion. No matter what we call the plant and where we find it, it stands out with its sun-yellow flowers. Its long, jagged leaves are reminiscent of a lion’s teeth, which is where the plant’s usual name comes from. The tongues develop on a leafless hollow stem. The whole wild plant can reach a height of 10-30 cm. It has a thick and quite robust root that can be one to two meters long. Interestingly, all parts of the plant, from the flower to the stem to the root, are edible and healthy. What is special about the dandelion is the white milk juice, which is contained in its parts.
We first show the external characteristics of the dandelion so you don’t confuse it with another wild herb.
Extra tip: The typical white milk juice in the stem of the dandelion is incorrectly described as toxic.That is not true at all, on the contrary, it is very healthy for humans!For this reason, the dandelion is also called the European ginseng.
Caution, risk of confusion.The common dandelion can easily be mistaken for poisonous wild plants like the related sheep dandelion and the common piglet herb.Be forewarned and take into account that the stems of these two plants are not hollow.
The dandelion as a traditional medicinal plant and in what does it help?
Since all parts of the dandelion plant are edible and there is an enormous amount of useful ingredients hidden in them, you can prepare a lot from them. From a warm tea and green smoothie to fresh dandelion salad and a tasty soup. But we will report on the use of the well-known medicinal plant in the kitchen in our next article. Today we want to highlight the plus points of the dandelion for human health. First of all, you need to know that the leaves of the dandelion contain a lot of vitamin C and provitamin A. You can therefore use a dandelion tea e.g. Strengthen your immune system and fight spring tiredness. In addition, the bitter substances contained in the dandelion have an appetizing effect and help a lot with digestive problems. It can also alleviate acute complaints and take a detox regimen. We summarize the other health benefits of this medicinal plant for you in the following overview
The medicinal plant has a versatile effect and can help with many medical complaints.
Diuretic and blood cleansing agent: The dandelion supplies the body with important vitamins and minerals and at the same time has a diuretic effect.It contains potassium so that our body can never suffer from a lack of nutrients.The medicinal plant against urinary tract infections is used as a homeopathic diuretic.Furthermore, regular consumption of dandelions can also prevent the formation of kidney stones.The medicinal herb is also widely used as a diuretic and blood cleansing agent, for example in flushing therapy and against rhema and gout.
Dandelion tea detoxifies and vitalises the body
Dandelion helps with diabetes: A cup of dandelion tea or a few drops of the root extract can help a lot with diabetes, because it leads to a low blood sugar level and restores the balance of the blood sugar level.
The medicinal herb strengthens bile and liver: eating dandelions increases bile production and improves fat metabolism. It helps fats to be broken down better. This promotes healthy weight loss and feels vital and alert. The medicinal herb is still used for hepatitis, gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver. However, we would like to advise that such treatment should always be carried out under medical supervision!
Before starting therapy with dandelions, you need to get advice from your doctor or a naturopath
The dandelion is used to heal gastrointestinal complaints: the healing power of the dandelion is also proven for loss of appetite, flatulence, feeling of fullness etc. The metabolism is stimulated and the intestinal flora is kept intact.
Good for skin problems: A white plant sap is pressed from the stems of the medicinal plant, which helps with skin problems. For example, it is used well for corneas, corns and warts. It has an antibacterial effect and can also be used for eczema.
The best medicine comes from nature
Conclusion: Discover the healing power of nature and inform yourself in detail about the healing effects of dandelions. It might look like an annoying weed, but it contains many substances that are good for our health. Include the dandelion in your daily menu and benefit from its healing talents. Stay healthy and enjoy life!
Organic farming is gaining ground every day. People have come up with an innovative idea in rural agriculture development that can help for attaining both the objectives of organic food as well as provide irrigation for farmers: Using banana tree trunks for the purpose of growing veggies even when the dry season is on. In fact, banana stems have been known for a long period of time, even to farmers for having a good water retention capacity. No wonder, a few farmers have gone ahead to use the banana stems for planting short root crops inside the stems.
Banana Tree Trunks known for Water Retention: Innovations in Organic Farming
The importance of knowing where your food comes from is a concept not unfamiliar to many Willamette Valley residents. But how many can say they know where their clothing is grown?
Shannon Welsh measures flax in bloom at a farm near Sublimity in 2017.
“The slow food movement has had a lot of attention on it, but not fiber,” says Shannon Welsh, founder at Pacific Northwest Fibershed and co-founder at Fiberevolution. “I think a lot of it is because fiber is more complex. The textile system itself is more complex than the food system… There’s a lot more steps into getting fiber from a field through to a product than with food.”
Welsh’s work holds fast to a vision of clothing both produced and grown in the Willamette Valley, a sort of antithesis to fast fashion, and a complementary node to the model of slow food.
While she recognizes that synthetics “have a place” and “will always be here,” Welsh and many others feel the textile pendulum has held too long in the synthetic direction, and that there needs to be a movement away from the environmentally impactful chemical processes that create and breakdown these materials, to the natural processes that can create high quality goods without so much degradation.
With this in mind, the organization Fibershed got its start in Northern California in 2010, when founder Rebecca Burgess sought to create a whole wardrobe for herself with textiles grown and produced within a 150-mile radius of her home. To do so required an holistic approach, which Welsh has transferred to the Pacific Northwest affiliate of the group, as well as in her work with Fiberevolution. “I’ve met with fiber producers on the agricultural side, I’ve met with agronomists at universities, historical societies, brands—all across the board,” she says.
In this journey, Welsh has learned much about the historic prevalence of fiber crop growing and garment making in the Willamette Valley, the industries’ demise, and ways in which they can be brought back into the fold of Oregon agriculture and industry to increase the availability of local, sustainable textiles that contribute to rural and urban communities and to the economy.
Benefits of Growing Textile Crops
In 2017, community members got the opportunity to help harvest flax by hand at a farm near Corvallis.
Due to their compatibility with the Willamette Valley’s climate, two crops are at the heart of the slow fiber movement in this region: flax and hemp. Both plants include different varieties which favor either oil or fiber production. While varieties grown for oil are shorter and produce more seeds, fiber varieties—called bast fibers—focus their energy on growing tall rather than on seed production.
The height of bast fiber crops allows for weeds to easily be outcompeted, and little to no need for the pesticides used in conventional agriculture. Other benefits of growing bast fibers is that the whole plant is removed from the ground when harvested, leaving a clean slate for other crops to be rotated in, breaking plant disease cycles that may otherwise persist without rotation, and enriching the soil.
“All fiber crops, when they are grown in a rotational system, capture carbon and store it in the soil over time,” Welsh points out.
Better yet, flax does not require irrigation in our climate. If well managed, fiber crops pose the ability to decrease environmental impact and contribute to carbon storage—the latter being especially important in these days of climate change due to anthropogenic releases of greenhouse gases.
However, Welsh recognizes that in the current hemp mayhem since the plant has been moved off the controlled substances list federally, more monoculturing than crop rotating has been seen, of which she is not supportive. In this scenario, “you aren’t really maximizing the potential of your cropping system and over time it does affect the quality of the fiber if you’re growing them in the same place over and over with nothing else,” she warns.
From World-Renowned to Hanging on a Thread While hemp has received much media attention since it’s federal de-listing, both it and flax have a long history here and globally, often forgotten.
Payton Haynes stylishly pulls flax by hand while wearing linen at a farm near Corvallis in 2018.
Flax, which is used to create linen fabrics, is one of the oldest known plants specifically cultivated for use as a textile. Dating technology has been used to show that as early as 3000 BCE, linen was used to wrap mummies in Egyptian tombs. Hemp cultivation has also been dated to 2800 BCE in Central Asia.
Several species of flax are native to Oregon, as first recorded by explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in their 1805 expedition, as they observed Native Americans from the Wasco, Klickitat, Warm Springs, Cayuse, and Umatilla tribes fishing and making baskets on the Columbia River using flax twine.
As pioneers began settling in the region, it did not take long for Oregon flax and it’s resulting linen to become well-known for its high quality across the country, and the world: in 1876, linen from the Albany-based fiber flax plant Pioneer Oil Works won a prize at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, and in 1893, Oregon flax gained even broader attention after winning a prize at the Chicago World’s Fair.
Meanwhile, in the world of hemp, Oregon State College, the predecessor to today’s Oregon State University, hosted a national hemp research center from the 1880’s to the 1930’s. The Valley lost production of this fiber crop relatively quickly, when, in 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which effectively began the era of hemp prohibition in the U.S., even though hemp is a different species than that used to grow the recreational drug.
While hemp was removed from production in the Willamette Valley, flax hit its peak during the second world war effort, with 18,000 acres of it being grown and processed at 14 facilities in the Willamette Valley. But this too was fairly short-lived, says Welsh.
“After World War II, throughout the whole globe, textiles really started to take a hit, especially natural textiles with natural fibers, because synthetics came into play, and the war effort that was behind a lot of production wasn’t there anymore. There was a real bottoming out, especially here in the Willamette Valley. Since then, we’ve had zero textile production really, especially with linen. We’ve had a little bit with wool, but that’s been really hanging on a thread,” she laughs.
By the 1950’s, flax was no longer grown on a commercial scale, with the special machines used to harvest it going to scrap metal or lying rusted in fields. By the 1960’s, all the bast fiber processing plants in Oregon were closed down, the last of which was located in Canby and was thought to be the most modern of its kind when first established.
Similar trends were seen in other regions of the world, such as Ireland, even though they too were well known for their high quality products. However, not all places abandoned the two crops. Today, Welsh says about 80% of world linen is currently produced in Europe along the Normandy coastline in Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, as well as in Asia in the countries of China, Russia, and Serbia. These same regions also continued growing and processing hemp.
“Hemp hasn’t been illegal anywhere else,” Welsh says, recounting times she’s worked with partners in these countries who are confused why Americans are so excited about hemp, not knowing of the laws enacted that governed its demise, and now potential rebirth, here.
Breaking the Loop Today, the market and legal forces that pushed flax and hemp out of production in the Willamette Valley have created a positive feedback loop that is proving challenging to unwind in order to revitalize the crops and textile manufacturing locally.
After the crops were no longer grown, the specialty machines used to process them became non-existent, and for farmers who would like to grow the crops for their fiber today, there is not enough infrastructure in place to do so at a commercial scale. Welsh explains that although “we’ve been getting flax growing again, there’s no harvesting equipment in North America,” and further, “we don’t have anywhere to produce it for textiles in North America at this time. Those are some huge hurdles.”
Both Fibershed and Fiberevolution have the goal of getting bast fiber equipment to the continent from European partners, and to restore the once-operating processing facilities in Oregon. Promising for both flax and hemp fiber crops is that their similarities in growth patterns allow for similar handling. “Our vision is that you could build a production facility that can handle both crops,” Welsh says. “When those things take off, there will be job opportunities, there will be grant opportunities—we’ll be able to pull a lot of the community in more.”
Political factors involved in hemp add another set of hurdles to the process. Welsh and her organizations recently attended the National Industrial Hemp Council Business Summit. The simple version of the take-away is that “it’s a disaster right now,” she says.
More than 1,500 farmers have registered with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to grow hemp on 50,000 acres this year, nearly triple the amount seen last year. However, due to the infrastructure limitations for bast fibers, and perhaps the attraction of a new industry, the only hemp varieties being grown are oil varieties, used to derive CBD.
The art of Kokedama literally translates from “koke” meaning moss and “dama” meaning ball. This moss ball has experienced a resurgence as a modern art form useful for uniquely presented plants and flowers. Instructions and classes on the how-to for this skill abound on the Internet and plant forums. A Japanese moss ball makes a personalized gift or simply an interesting accent for a favorite plant specimen. You can practice the art of Kokedama yourself with just a few items and minimal skill.
What is a Kokedama? It is a form of Japanese garden art that is centuries old and tied into the practice of bonsai. It is an accent to that mode of plant display where a moss ball is the focal and supporting point for a sculpted tree or plant. The moss ball is fixed to a platform or suspended from string with the plant growing out from the sphere. Kokedama is the practice of taking the root ball of a plant and suspending it in a mud ball, which is then coated with soft green moss. It is a living planter as well as a distinctive display piece. They may be fixed to a piece of driftwood or bark, suspended from a string or nestled in a clear, attractive container. Hanging many of these as a Kokedama moss garden is called a string garden. Materials for Making Kokedama Moss Balls
The traditional art form relied upon a carefully composed soil with a heavy clay base that would adhere to itself. This soil is called akadama and also contains peat moss as a moisture retainer. You can purchase bonsai soil or make your own mixture of clay and 15 percent peat moss as a base for the Japanese moss ball. Once you have your soil mixture, you will also need: Scissors String Water A spray bottle Gloves A bucket Newspaper or a tarp (to protect your work surface) Select your plant using a guideline of ease of care, light situation, and ability to tolerate sodden soil. Many tropical jungle plants are suitable for the project, as well as ferns, lucky bamboo or even ivy. Avoid any succulents and cacti, as the soil ball will remain too moist for these types of plants. Advertisement For the moss, you can use dry floral moss that you soak or harvest some from your surroundings.
If you don’t want to mess with the clay ball, you can also create a Kokedama moss garden with a floral foam ball as the base. Creating Your Japanese Moss Ball Don your gloves, line your work space and get started. Moisten the moss if it’s the dried variety by soaking in a bucket of water for an hour. Squeeze it out and lay aside until the last step. Add water gradually to your akadama mixture until the medium can be gathered into a ball. Press it firmly all around to adhere the soil mixture. Remove your selected plant from its container, dust off the soil and gently break apart the root ball. Make a hole in the clay ball big enough to push in the roots of the plant. Spray the soil with water to keep it moist and workable during this process. Push the clay around the roots and compact it around the base of the stem. Press the moss around the form until all the surfaces are covered. Use twine or string to wrap the moss onto the ball with at least two passes around the surface. Cut away the excess string and fix the ball to a piece of wood, hang in an appropriately lighted area or place in a container.
The Mashambas Skyscraper could revolutionize small farming in rural Africa.
Pawel Lipinski/Mateusz Frankowski
A skyscraper may not seem like the answer to an entire continent’s agricultural challenges, but the best inventions aren’t always what they seem.
In Africa, where 70% of the population lives in rural areas and mostly practices subsistence farming, scraping by on barely $2 USD/day, the scientific advancements of the “green revolution” could introduce modern farming techniques that help them grow more food and help end extreme poverty. And that’s where the skyscraper comes in.
The brainchild of Polish architects Pawel Lipiński and Mateusz Frankowski, the Mashambas Skyscraper is a new concept for a skyscraper designed to “bring [the] green revolution to the poorest people,” a reference to the scientific advancements like high-yield seeds that doubled the world’s grain production between 1960 and 2000.
The revolution never arrived in Africa’s farm fields on its own — deterred by factors including the continent’s challenging climate, its postcolonial civil conflicts, and its lagging infrastructural capacity and lack of access to international markets.
But now, the Mashambas Skyscraper, winner of the eVolo skyscraper competition, could change that. It is designed to serve as a farm, education center, and community center all in one. Its ultimate aim is to train subsistence farmers in modern farming techniques so they will be able to improve their harvest and pull themselves out of poverty.
One of the most unique features of the Mashambas Skyscraper is that it’s movable. It can be built in one place, stay there for a matter of months or years (or, as the designers write, until the community becomes self-sufficient), and then be rebuilt in a new location. After the structure is moved, a base layer remains, which can serve as a marketplace for villagers.
At the top of the structure are layered fields, which can provide enough food to feed a whole village. These sit above an education center, which provides training to local farmers on best agricultural practices. There is a drone docking center in the middle, which can deliver agricultural products to remote locations. And finally, on the ground floor, there is a kindergarten, doctor’s office, and information center.
“Giving training, fertilizer, and seeds to the small farmers can give them an opportunity to produce as much produce per acre as huge modern farms,” the architects wrote.
Between 1996 and 2012, rural poverty in Africa decreased by 23%, but right now in several countries food systems are failing. Four countries are currently facing a massive famine that threatens the lives of 20 million people.
Innovations like the Mashambas Skyscraper, as well as the proliferation of apps that can serve farmers in rural Sub-Saharan Africa have the potential to promote long-term sustainable farming and improve crop yields, despite the logistical challenges of farming on the African continent. But for those currently suffering from drought immediate action needs to be taken.
Coronavirus has people worrying about food supply chain.
Amina Robinson works in customer service for an airline, and while she is grateful to still be employed, the past two months have been particularly stressful.
Most days she deals with people who need to fly, but are afraid to or who want to cancel a planned trip because of the coronavirus crisis. She does her best to answer their questions and make changes for them. She tries to keep a calm, friendly tone in the face of their fears. It is not easy. At least once she has listened as a potential passenger wept because the person was petrified about boarding a plane, Robinson said.
Which is why, on her days off, Robinson heads either to a friend’s backyard where she shares a garden or to a community garden in Mechanicsville where she volunteers.
“You feel their fear and stress, and you pick up on that,” Robinson said of the people she listens to each day. “So, it’s imperative for me to get out and get into that soil because I have to deposit it somewhere,” Robinson said. “(Gardening) allows me to reconnect with something that’s stable and solid.”
Her father and grandmother gardened, and last year Robinson followed in their footsteps and took her hobby more seriously. But now, Robinson isn’t just looking to relieve stress as she tends to kale and young bunches of lettuce.
“The fact that I have a garden, I feel more secure in the knowledge that if I need some food, I’ll have it,” Robinson said.
As the pandemic has escalated from hot spot to hot spot, so has an interest in gardening, say seed and plant companies, nurseries and a leading garden research association. Plant distributors and growers, large and small, are describing the uptick in demand for both plants and advice on gardening from the public as “staggering” or “overwhelming.” At least one major seed distributor said it has seen a nearly 75% increase in sales since the virus was declared a pandemic. Driving the spike are people under stay-at-home orders looking for something to do safely outside. But fears over the stability of the national food supply chain are also a major factor, observers say, as some grocery stores have struggled to keep bins and shelves replenished with certain foods while panicked shoppers continue to hoard.
Khaiye Robinson, 11, runs kale clippings to the compost pile to help his mom, Amina Robinson, at the Habesha community garden in the Mechanicsville neighborhood Thursday, April 9, 2020. (Jenni Girtman for Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“There is an undercurrent of food security in this,” said Dave Whitinger, executive director of the National Gardening Association, a research and advocacy group. “If the supply chain does break down, but it probably won’t, you’ll still be able to grow something to eat. And if you can grow food in your yard, you can still eat and remain safe.”
Whitinger said traffic to the association’s website has increased 98% in the last year, from 390,00 unique visitors from April 1-13, 2019, to 774,000 during the same period this year. The organization does an annual trend survey of gardeners and related companies but is thinking of adding a second one this year. Based on traffic and the questions the website’s visitors ask — such as when to plant tomatoes or how long it takes corn to ripen —Whitinger and his staff can tell most of the people seeking help are novice gardeners.
“We’ve been telling people you don’t have to rent a roto-tiller and tear up your yard to have a garden,” he said. “You can grow in containers. You can even dig up a couple of shrubs and plant in your landscape. Chard and peppers can look nice.”
Whether they’re called Victory Gardens, after the World War I and II backyard plots that swept the nation and kept thousands of families fed during scarce times, or resurgence gardens as some are now calling the burgeoning trend, patches of fruits and vegetables are symbols of both fear and hope.
“When this started, people went to stores. There were crazy long lines. You had to wait. When you finally got in, the shelves were empty or picked over and what was left, you could only take two of,” said Tenisio Seanima, owner of Nature’s Candy Farms in South Fulton. “That woke people up to the reality that food will not always be around. Now, in whatever way, people are trying to increase that level of security with their own ingenuity.”
In the past month, Seanima said, he has expanded his business, largely through Facebook, by offering consulting services to new gardeners, helping experienced gardeners improve their soil to boost yields, and even installing complete gardens for those who have no clue how to do it. Charles Greenlea, who has been a manager for the non-profit Habesha Gardens in southwest Atlanta, is doing similar work. He said he recently helped K. Rashid Nuri, a longtime national leader in the urban gardening movement and founder of Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture in Atlanta, work on Nuri’s personal home garden. Greenlea said a constant conversation among growers, particularly since the outbreak began, is how disconnected most people are from the source of the foods they eat.
“They don’t know that food comes from someplace other than the grocery store,” Greenlea said.
‘You can’t trick the plants’
Earlier this year, Habesha purchased about 1,500 seedlings from southwest Georgia farms then gave them away to home gardeners here in Atlanta, Greenlea said. Greenlea was heartened by the interest, but cautioned that a lot of new gardeners have plenty of zeal but perhaps not enough tenacity or skill to see a garden successfully through several seasons.
Amina Robinson gets help from her oldest son, Khaiye Robinson, 11, at the Habesha community garden in the Mechanicsville neighborhood. Jenni Girtman for The AJC
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“The average person doesn’t understand you can’t meet all your nutritional need right out the gate,” Greenlea said. “You have to put time into it. You can’t trick the plants. There are laws of nature you have to work within.”
Rules such as not trying to grow cool-weather plants like tender lettuce and parsley in the heat of summer or planting an apple tree in the back yard in spring and expecting a bumper crop by fall. Still, seed companies and nurseries are seeing overwhelming traffic. Some nurseries have been deemed essential businesses under state and local ordinances and are either delivering plants to customers homes or providing curbside pick up at their stores which are closed to foot traffic, such as Pike Nurseries in metro Atlanta. Even Home Depot’s garden centers in Midtown and Buckhead were swarming with customers over Easter weekend, although the stores were only allowing a certain number of shoppers in at a time.
Bonnie Plants, the 101-year-old supplier to Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and 5,000 independent garden retailers, has had to ramp up production from “coast to coast,” said Joan Casanova, spokesperson for Bonnie. “The increase in demand is staggering,” Casanova said.
The same is true for another major supplier, Burpee, one of the oldest in the nation.
“We’re working now almost seven days a week,” said George Ball, chairman of Burpee, the 144-year-old Pennsylvania seed and plant company. “We can’t keep up with the orders. We’re probably running a 50% to 75% increase in sales. I’ve been here 30 years, and we’ve never seen this kind of growth. It’s stunning.”
Burpee supplies big-box stores, but also sells heirloom varieties of okra, tomatoes and other vegetables and flowers directly to consumers through its classic mail-order catalog as well as its website. In a typical year, a rise in sales picks up in April, which is also National Gardening Month. By this past Good Friday, April 10, however, demand had become so high, the privately held company posted a notice on its website saying it wouldn’t accept any new orders until after April 15.
Why on earth would you want to grow a fruit tree in your house?
Why on earth wouldn’t you?
If you’ve got the space, growing a dwarf fruit tree in your home has some excellent perks. Aside from the usual benefits of a houseplant such as beautiful foliage and clean air, you get the added benefit of fruit.
Fruit trees are visually appealing and offer a nice change from the average spider plant or philodendron.
What you are looking for as far as fruit trees are concerned are dwarf varieties. These are trees that are grafted onto specific rootstock that will stay small and compact.
That being said, even dwarf varieties can grow much larger than is reasonable for an indoor plant, so the occasional pruning is necessary to keep their size manageable.
These days, it’s easy to find dwarf fruit trees.
While I always encourage you to support your local nursery, even your big home and garden chains like Lowes and Home Depot carry them.
If you can’t find the fruit tree variety you are searching for locally; you can find it online. One of the best reasons to grow fruit indoors is the ability to provide the perfect growing environment.
I have three peach trees in my front yard. In the past five years, I have had only one good season of peaches. I’ve had bears eat the peaches and break branches in the middle of the night. I’ve had bugs and mold wipe out my fruit. And forget about controlling the weather. A cold or rainy season means little to no fruit.
Growing indoors means you get to control everything from the light to humidity, right down to the nutrients your tree gets.
In general, most fruit trees won’t produce fruit until they are around 1-2 years old. While you can start most of these from seed, you won’t be harvesting fruit any time soon. If the fruit is what you’re after, purchase the most mature tree you can find.
Your tree will most likely start in a smaller pot. If it’s healthy, resist the urge to transplant it into a large container right away. Plants will spend their energy where it’s needed most.
If they are snug in a smaller pot, they will produce fruit. When they are transplanted to a larger container, they will put their energy into filling that new space with roots, and it will be a while before they produce fruit again.
Repotting a sizeable indoor tree can be quite a hassle. Instead, replace the first top two inches of soil with fresh potting soil every year.
Eventually, though, moving your tree into a larger pot will become a necessity. Be sure to give your tree room for its roots to grow. You’ll also need one to two inches of drainage material in the bottom. Move up one pot size at a time when transplanting.
Another thing to consider is how heavy your tree will be in its large container. Depending on the tree, moving it to get better light or to put it outdoors in the summer can be difficult.
Pick up a plant stand with casters on the bottom to make the job easier. This dish-style stand prevents water from getting on your floor as the container sits in the dish.
Of course, if you’re serious about getting fruit, then your trees will eventually need bright light to ripen your crop.
This can be accomplished in several ways – you can move the plant outdoors during warmer months when it’s fruiting. You can move the plant closer to a window that gets longer and brighter light. Or you can purchase a couple of grow lights to help mother nature along.
With the use of LEDs, grow lights are relatively inexpensive these days. They come in all shapes and sizes. Hanging grow lights and gooseneck lights are popular and easy to set up to give your fruit trees a boost.
And when you aren’t using them to produce fruit, they are excellent light sources for starting seedlings for your garden.
12 Fruit Trees You Can Grow Indoors
Citrus is probably the first and obvious choice for an indoor fruit tree. A few rules apply to all citrus.
Don’t let their soil dry out. Citrus trees like moist (not water-logged) soil, and prefer a loamy soil mixture.
Most citrus takes anywhere from six to nine months to ripen; the tangerines can take up to 18 months.
1. Lemon Tree
The Meyer lemon is probably the most well-known indoor fruit tree, and for a good reason. It’s compact size, and delicious fruit makes it a natural choice for your sunny living room.
Meyer lemons are self-pollinating and take a couple of years to bear fruit.
Even the dwarf trees can grow up to 8’ tall, so pruning your tree is necessary to keep it small.
The Meyer lemon needs around 6 hours of full sun a day. It does best in well-drained soil that is kept slightly moist.
2. Lime Tree
Key lime and kaffir lime are popular dwarf citrus trees.
The key lime produces small, thin-skinned fruits. This tree will need to be hand-pollinated. This is easy enough to do with a small, clean paintbrush by gently brushing the insides of each flower.
Be sure to purchase a dwarf variety, and you’ll be making key lime pie before you know it.
The lesser-known kaffir lime is prized for its leaves used in cooking to add a bitter bite to dishes. The fruit’s juice and rind also produce a wonderfully fragrant scent.
Both the key lime and the kaffir prefer full sun. If you can, put them outside during the warmer months.
3. Orange Tree
Calamondin orange trees are an especially easy fruit tree to grow indoors.
The fruit is a cross between a kumquat and a mandarin orange. They are extra tangy, and their thin skins are super sweet. These would be an excellent choice for anyone looking for a fun citrus for cooking. They prefer full sun.
Some tangerine varieties can also be purchased as dwarf stock. Again, look for a self-pollinating variety.
4. Fig Tree
Growing figs in your home is better than waiting for them to show up in the grocery store when they are finally in season.
The Brown Turkey fig is ideally suited to growing indoors, and it’s self-pollinating.
Figs prefer a humid environment, so mist them regularly.
Grow your fig in loamy soil and place it in a location that gets full sun for 6-8 hours a day.
5. Olive Tree
While maybe not what most people consider a fruit, an olive tree is a beautiful fruit tree to grow indoors.
Consider the Arbequina, well-suited for containers. Olive trees prefer well-drained soil and plenty of light, at least 6 hours a day.
If you want fruit, they will need to experience a period of about two months worth of cooler temperatures. You can move them to a garage or shed that is cool in the fall or winter to accomplish this.
Don’t forget the leaves!
Olive tree leaves make a wonderfully flavored tea and have many health benefits too.
Passion fruit technically grows on a vine, but I included it because it’s quite easy to grow indoors.
Like most of our other trees, it prefers well-drained soil and at least six hours of sunlight a day.
You will need to give your passion fruit a trellis to climb up. Passion fruit likes to be kept moist, but not soggy, so water it frequently. Choose a bonsai variety, like the Mapplegreen passion fruit.
Along with delicious fruit, this “tree” will provide you with gorgeous flowers too.
7. Peaches and Nectarines
Wait, you can grow peach and nectarine trees indoors too?
Yes, yes you can.
Just be sure to choose a dwarf variety that is self-pollinating, and there are several.
Bonanza, Golden Glory, Nectarcrest, Dwarf Sweet China are just a couple of popular dwarf varieties.
Make sure your tree is planted in a large pot with loamy soil. Remember, you want the roots to be snug in the pot as this will encourage fruiting. Fertilize your tree regularly and be sure it gets at least six hours of bright sun a day.
Peaches and nectarines do best with lots of sun. Keep them moist, but not soggy, and don’t let the soil dry out completely between watering.
Most of us know apricots from the dried variety commonly found in the bulk food section.
Fresh apricots are so much better (and can be made into this delicious jam!) making it an ideal indoor fruit tree choice.
The Moorpark is an excellent dwarf apricot, reaching only six feet high. As with most indoor trees, you can prune it, so it stays smaller and compact.
Give your apricot tree well-drained soil in a snug pot. Be sure it gets plenty of sun, 6-8 hours a day. If you have a south-facing window, that would be the best location for your apricot tree.
Water your apricot regularly and be sure the soil doesn’t dry out between watering.
9. Avocado Tree
If you’ve ever started an avocado tree from the pit of an avocado, then you’ve probably dreamed of picking your own fruit from that little seedling.
Unfortunately, this is one fruit tree that is very difficult to get fruit from indoors.
While not impossible, indoor avocado trees generally don’t produce fruit.
They are still a beautiful fruit tree to have in your home. If you are using a seedling you started from a pit, you’ll need to prune it regularly as it starts to grow.
Most non-dwarf varieties grow quite tall. As always, choose a loamy, well-draining soil for your avocado tree and pick a location that gets bright sun for at least six hours per day. Keep your avocado’s soil moist, but not soggy.
10. Banana Tree
Bananas, like avocados, are another fruit tree that can grow insanely tall.
To enjoy the tropics in your home, though, choose a dwarf variety of banana tree. Some of the dwarf varieties can get quite tall as well, so give the Lady Finger banana a try. They top out around 4’ tall and produce slim, tiny bananas.
Like most tropical plants, bananas need lots of sunlight and humidity. Be sure your banana tree gets full sun for 6-8 hours a day. A southern exposure window is best.
Replicate humidity by misting your tree often. When your house is hot and dry, you can even get away with daily misting.
11. Mulberry Bush
Mulberry bushes make excellent indoor plants and are one of the easiest to grow.
Good potting soil with a layer of drainage material on the bottom will get you started off right. And like most fruit trees plenty of bright light is needed.
Two dwarf mulberries that are perfectly suited to container growing are the ‘Everbearing’ and the ‘Issai’ varieties.
Fertilize them every six months and prune to keep them compact, and you can expect to enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor.
12. Ground Cherries
Also known as Cape Gooseberries, ground cherries aren’t technically a tree. I included them here because they are an easy, bushy fruit to grow indoors. Not too many people know about them.
I’ve often heard the flavor described as a mash-up between a pineapple and a tomato. I think they taste more like eating a pie. There is a smooth, almost apple flavor with a buttery finish. They taste more like a decadent dessert than a funky little fruit. They are delicious!
Start your ground cherries from seed in a pot that’s at least 8” deep. Well-drained soil with a bit of compost mixed in will keep your plant happy. They do best in full sun.
Give this compact plant a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Now that you know which fruit trees you can successfully grow indoors, you may end up with a veritable fruit salad in your living room.
These elegant and stately plants make a beautiful statement in your home. Which one will you be growing?
Growing ginger is a rewarding experience as it’s such a versatile plant for use in the kitchen…and shockingly easy to do! We’re growing ginger in containers from store-bought ginger and talking about planting ginger to increase both the size and speed of your harvest. LEARN MORE Epic Gardening is much more than a YouTube channel. I have a website with 300+ gardening tutorials as well as a podcast where I release daily gardening tips in five minutes or less. There’s also a Facebook group with over 1,500 other gardeners sharing their tips.