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Plum cultivation: Climate, Soil type and seeds

We continue with our particular stubbornness of showing how to grow the main fruit trees that we can enjoy in Spain (and surely in other places as well). Today we will specifically talk about the plum , a tree whose fruit is well known by the population and highly enjoyed. Now that the heat is here and the plums are ripening, it is time, for those who still do not have it in their garden, to dare to grow it.

Although there are several types of plum ( Prunus domestica, Prunus salicina or Japanese plum, wild plum, Mirabel plum, Prunus cerasifera  etc.).

We can have any of them in the garden. Prunus domestica is the most widely used variety in Europe for fruit production, and  Prunus cerasifera is highly valued for its ornamental characteristics, and it triumphs on many walks and paths.

The recommendations that we are going to offer you regarding the cultivation of the plum tree are usually the same for all of the Prunus genus within the plum tree, with very slight variations.

The plum tree belongs to the Rosaceae family , one of the most important families in agriculture, with almost 3,000 species.

It is a tree that can be around 5-10 meters high (it is usually required low to facilitate harvesting, like most fruit trees), and as a curiosity to tell you that it will be the first that we see bloom in our garden, at the beginning of spring.

CLIMATE IN PLUM CULTIVATION

To grow the plum we need a temperate climate . Although not for that, if you live in an area with a different climate you cannot cultivate it completely. For example, for cold climates, the plum adapts more or less without problems since it resists low temperatures well.

BEWARE OF LATE FROSTS

Of course, something must be taken into account, and that is to protect it from late frosts. As we have mentioned before, Prunus cerasifera has one of the earliest blooms in the entire garden, at least in Europe, and a frost just in the period when the flower buds emerge can cause serious damage.

SOIL CHARACTERISTICS

The root system of the plum tree is characterized by having superficial roots . This when related to the characteristics and structure of the soil means that it tolerates humid and shallow soils. But it is not ideal, since it prefers light, fresh soils without excess humidity.

Even so, I have to tell you that the plum is one of the most resistant and rustic fruit trees, so you will not find any problem when planting it, unless that is, your soil is bad, bad, very bad, in which case As there are usually solutions for everything, you can take a look at our article on changing the pH of the soil or on how to know the type of soil in your garden.

IRRIGATION NEEDS

In winter, depending on whether we are in an area with moderately frequent rains, it will not be necessary to water. In any case, if there is a dry period we must water every so often.

In summer, especially during the fruiting of the plums, we must maintain a constant humidity (be careful! We have mentioned before that excess humidity is bad for it) and not let the earth harden or crack.

The frequency of irrigation will depend on the summer heat, but it can be summarized in a generic way to 1 or 2 irrigations per week, always avoiding flooding the area.

 THE PLUM SUBSCRIBER

The main objective of a fruit tree, in addition to its ornamental interest in our garden, is to produce large caliber fruits that are good.

Especially the latter, since if we had to choose one of those two acceptances to the detriment of another, the flavor would always win.

In this regard, the subscriber has a lot to say , and it must be added in good quantity, especially when the characteristics of the soil in terms of nutrients are poor, a needs per tree of 1.25 kg and 2.5 kg per year are needed and tree of the NPK mineral set. For ecological productions, any type of compost fully supplies this NPK fertilizer (as long as it is good).

It is necessary to influence the application especially at the end of the winter season to promote plant activation, and during flowering and fruiting, when it requires more nutritional needs.

PLUM SEED GERMINATION

Getting plum seeds germinated is a process that takes several steps, but it is not as simple as we could obtain a pepper, an olive tree or a palm tree, everything is said.

Obtaining the fruits in summer, we pulp them and let the seed dry, eliminating the water that remains due to contact with the fruit’s flesh.

We can stratify the seeds by introducing them in humid peat for 4 months (on average) at a temperature of 5 ºC. This temperature is what we will have in the refrigerator, so we will not have major problems.

Ideally, start this process in the fall, either in late October or early November. With this and the remaining 4 months of stratification, we will be able to germinate the fruit in spring, when temperatures respect us.

When the 4 months have passed, we can start sowing, either in wooden boxes, containers, pots, etc. The ideal substrate mixture is half peat and half sand, at an average temperature of 20ºC.

With this, if we have done well, we will have some seedlings being born. Others will have to wait for next year.

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