9 Best Fruit Garden Ideas to Trade for Store Bought

A beginner list of fruits you can grow yourself

grapes on the vine

The Spruce / Candace Madonna

Wouldn't you love to grab a fresh, juicy peach or a handful of strawberries from your own backyard? There are many fruits you can grow in your home garden, even if you are a beginner or have limited space. But before you plant, put some thought into which fruits grow best in your climate, what fruits grow well together, and how to place them in your garden. What month is best to plant your fruit garden depends on where you live, what variety you're growing, and whether you're planting bare-root plants or container-grown specimens. Fruit trees and shrubs can live for many years if they receive proper sunlight, soil, and air circulation.

Here are nine of the best types of fruit to grow in your very own fruit garden, better known as an orchard.


Even if your fruit variety is hardy, frigid and drying winds can kill the tender buds, resulting in no fruit for the season. The same can happen when a late spring frost hits the buds. You can't control the weather, but planting in a sheltered location, such as near a fence or hedge, will help.

  • 01 of 09

    Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.)


    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Berries are an easy way to try your hand at growing fruit. Blueberries are attractive three-season shrubs with pretty white spring flowers, summer fruit, and gorgeous red fall foliage. Growing blueberries requires some advanced work to ensure the soil is acidic enough, but the shrubs should live and produce fruit for years. For a large harvest, you will need two varieties for good pollination.

    October is a great month to start a garden with blueberries since they are best planted in the spring or fall. If you wait until the fall, you may score good end-of-season sales on bushes, possibly as early as September. In cold winter climates, grow highbush blueberries, such as the 'Bluecrop' cultivar. Gardeners in mild climates should opt for either rabbiteye or southern highbush varieties. You can also grow blueberries in containers. Just be sure to cover your plants with netting to protect them from birds once the fruit arrives.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 10; varies according to variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, acidic, medium to wet moisture, well-draining
  • 02 of 09

    Strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa)


    The Spruce / K. Dave

    Freshly picked strawberries are well worth the minimal effort it takes to grow them. You have a choice among three types: June bearing, which sets one large crop in June (nice for preserves and freezing); everbearing, which produces two to three smaller harvests per season; and day-neutral, which continually sets small amounts of strawberries throughout the season. For best results, in USDA Hardiness zone 6 and lower, plant strawberries in spring (April or May). In zones 7 and higher, plant them in the fall (September or October).

    Strawberry plants like to spread via runners. But for the best fruit production, limit the runners to just a few plants and prune the rest. Also, pinch off the blossoms in a plant's first season to prevent them from fruiting. This will allow it to put its energy toward developing a healthy root system, which will significantly increase its output the next season. Finally, expect to replace or rejuvenate your strawberry plant every three to five years.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9; varies according to variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 03 of 09

    Raspberries and Blackberries (Rubus spp.)

    raspberries and blackberries

    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Raspberries and blackberries have always been backyard favorites. But older varieties can be rambunctious plants, spreading widely and covered in thorns that made harvesting a painful chore. Newer cultivars are much better behaved and thornless. Moreover, planting a mix of early, mid-season, and late-season varieties will extend your harvest for weeks. You can plant bare-root raspberries and blackberries anytime after the soil becomes workable in the spring, but if you're transplanting container-grown plants, late spring is the ideal time for starting your berry patch.

    The plants do require annual pruning to keep them productive, but it is a quick job. The goal of pruning is to thin the plants enough that light and air can reach all parts. This benefits growth and helps to prevent disease.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8; varies according to variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, slightly acidic, moist, well-draining
    • Color Variations: Raspberry fruits are pale to dark red and blackberries can be dark purple to black.
  • 04 of 09

    Grapes (Vitis labrusca 'Concord')

    grapes on the vine

    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Although grapevines are not hard to grow, you will face stiff competition at harvest time from birds and other animals. Plus, grapes need some type of trellis or support to grow on. There are also a lot of recommendations on how to prune them, but many people grow grapes quite successfully even with a relaxed approach to pruning.

    Check with your local extension office to learn about the best grape varieties for your area, and if indeed spring is the best time (it usually is) to plant them since the soil is workable. And be sure to note whether a variety is best for eating or winemaking. Most grape varieties need a sunny location with rich soil that has good drainage and air circulation to prevent disease.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9; varies according to variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining
    • Color Variations: Many white, green, purple, and blue grape varieties are available.
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Apples (Malus pumila)

    apples on a tree

    The Spruce / K. Dave

    Many gardeners want to grow apples, but they can be difficult to grow well because apple trees are prone to many insect and disease problems. Although new cultivars were bred to be hardy, they still require some spraying, covering, or other protection methods. Apple trees also need a great deal of pruning. When pruning, focus on thinning branches to increase the amount of sunlight and airflow that can hit all parts of the tree. This promotes healthy growth and helps to prevent disease. 

    Most apple trees prefer to be planted in early spring in the North and fall in the South. You'll need two different apple tree varieties for pollination. To save space, you can select trees with multiple varieties grafted onto one trunk, or opt for a small columnar tree that can be grown in a container. Plus, for easier care, or if you have limited space, consider the dwarf varieties.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9; varies according to variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining
    • Color Variations: Many green and red fruit varieties are available.
  • 06 of 09

    Cherries (Prunus avium)


    The Spruce / K. Dave

    Cherries are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow and care for. They require minimal to no pruning and are rarely plagued by pests or diseases. Sweet cherries are planted in the spring and need two trees for cross-pollination unless you plant a tree with two different varieties grafted on it. You can get away with just one tree if you are growing sour baking cherries.

    Prune your cherry tree in the winter while it is still dormant, and fertilize it in the early spring. Moreover, these trees aren’t very drought tolerant. So ensure that they get enough watering or rainfall—at least weekly or more—during hot weather. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8; varies according to variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining
  • 07 of 09

    Peaches (Prunus persica)

    peaches on a tree

    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Peach trees tend to be small enough to fit in most backyards, regardless of size. And when the peaches are ripening, you can smell their sweetness several yards away. Plus, a benefit to growing this thin-skinned fruit yourself is that you’ll get to enjoy the freshest produce straight from the tree, rather than the old and potentially bruised options at the supermarket. 

    Plant a peach tree from the nursery in the late winter or early spring when the tree is dormant. These trees do require some pruning to keep the branches productive and at a manageable height. Thinning young trees help them to produce smaller crops of large peaches, rather than heavy crops of tiny peaches. Peach trees are typically pruned into an open V, with three to five main branches that allow light and air to hit the center.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9; varies by variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, loamy, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 08 of 09

    Figs (Ficus carica)

    figs on a tree

    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Fig trees are surprisingly easy to grow either in the ground or in containers. They do not require much pruning and are usually pest-free. Most fig varieties are only reliably hardy down to USDA hardiness zone 7, but there are a few new and hardier cultivars to consider.

    Plant a fig tree during its dormancy period which occurs in the early spring or late fall. If you choose to grow your fig tree in a container and move it indoors for the winter, keep the container small. The more confined the roots are, the smaller the top of the tree will remain. It will be much easier to move, and you will still get plenty of figs.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 9; varies according to variety
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Melons (Citrullus lanatus)


    The Spruce / K. Dave 

    If you aren't ready for the commitment of a tree or shrub, you can still grow delicious melons in your garden or in containers. Melons need a lot of sun and heat. They also require ample space, as they grow on vines that can easily reach 20 feet or more. It is possible to grow melons on a trellis, but you will need to choose a variety with small fruits. Large melons, such as watermelon, can become so heavy that they will drop right off the plant.

    Plant your melons in spring after the danger of frost has passed for the season. Water regularly as they grow and become established. Then, once the fruits start to appear, you can back off a bit on watering.

    • USDA Growing Zones: Grown as annuals in zones 2 to 11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, loamy, moist, well-draining
    • Color Variations: Fruit can be red-, pink-, orange-, or yellow-fleshed.
  • What fruits produce the fastest in a home garden?

    If you're looking to enjoy some fruit within the first year, strawberries, blackberries, melons, and raspberries are four of the best to plant in your home garden.

  • How do I plan a small fruit garden?

    Whatever size space you have, using a free garden planner can help you organize the layout of your orchard.

  • Can you grow fruit plants in containers?

    Absolutely! Container gardening works well for both fruits and vegetables. With proper care, the dwarf or mini variety of fruit trees, such as apples, cherries, and peaches, can last for several years planted in a container.

  • How long does it take for an apple tree to bear fruit?

    It all depends on the size of the tree. Miniature apple trees can start producing fruit within two years, while a full-size apple tree can take six to eight years.