Fruit growing: fun in the orchard

Here's what to expect:

Using machinery to work and care for the soil

Appraising and selecting seed stock

Shaping and grafting fruit trees

Caring for fruit orchards

Harvesting and sorting fruit

Packing fruit for transport, marketing or storage

Providing information and advice to customers

A career with a future

Sweet berries, crisp apples and shiny red cherries: fresh fruit is always in demand — and it's up to horticulturists specialising in fruit growing to ensure that the produce never runs out. These specialists know exactly what nutrients fruit trees and berry bushes need and when to bear the biggest crop of healthy and delicious fruit. They are also initiated into the secrets of proper pruning, winning them the admiration of many hobby gardeners. There is plenty of varied and challenging work in orchard districts year-round — and in a terrific working environment. In the spring, for example, fruit growers are surrounded by beautiful, sweet-smelling blossoms as they check the trees for pests. When needed they can take proper, environmentally friendly action, such as dispersing ladybird larvae and other beneficial organisms that like to dine on aphids and other insects in the orchard.

Experts in many domains

From summer into autumn the whole team is busy with the harvest — the perfect job for someone with a sweet tooth. Depending on the type of fruit, special machinery may be used or the fruit may be picked and sorted by hand. But fruit experts not only prepare produce for transport and sale. To ensure that people can buy local fruit at open-air markets and supermarkets year-round, part of the harvest is placed in storage. The horticulturist´s expertise keeps apples, pears and plums fresh in storage far longer than they will keep in the consumer's home — you just have to know and apply the right tricks.

Pimp my apple tree

Autumn is also the time for planting new fruit trees. Fruit growers have to decide which varieties to grow — there are many more than people realise, and each one tastes a little different. With a certain amount of practice, growers can also tell at a glance whether a plant is of good or bad quality. This is important in part because many farms propagate or graft their own trees. Grafting is mostly done in winter. The work requires considerable skill, with the grower assembling and "tuning" a new tree from two different plants. 

Video: The Fruit Grower