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Gardener shares totally free hack for growing mass amounts of fruit at home: ‘I do this, and my neighbors look at me funny’

“If you want happy fruit trees, grow them as a forest would.”

"If you want happy fruit trees, grow them as a forest would."

Photo Credit: @solarpunkfarmer/ TikTok

Growing your own fruit trees — as many people who have tried it can attest to — is easier said than done. 

But luckily for any aspiring orchard growers out there, one TikTok gardener has some tips for how you can get your fruit trees to thrive. And not only that, but everything he suggests is completely free.

The scoop

The Los Angeles-based self-described “urban agroecologist,” The Solarpunk Farmer (@solarpunkfarmer), explains that “if you want happy fruit trees, grow them as a forest would.”

@solarpunkfarmer Grow your fruit trees as a forest would 🌳🍋🥭🍎🍊🍑🍐🥑🍒🥥 . . #fruittree #fruittrees #fruittreepruning #treepruning #fertilizer #organicfertilizer #agroforestry #permaculture #orchard #homeorchard #foodforest #foodforestabundance #gardentok #gardening101 #gardenhacks #solarpunkfarmer #solarpunk ♬ original sound – 🌱☀️ The Solarpunk Farmer ☀️🌱

“Most of our fruit trees are native to forests,” he explains. “You never see bare soil in a forest. That’s because, in a forest, trees fertilize themselves with their own residues.”

In short, people’s natural desire for cleanliness is counterproductive to what makes trees thrive. Cleaning fallen leaves, branches, and fruit away from the base of a tree actually deprives it of the nutrients it needs.

The TikToker goes on to give a demonstration of how you can help a fruit tree that isn’t looking so hot. He selects a lemon tree with bare soil around it and gives it a good pruning, layering the surrounding dirt with leaves, branches, and residue. 

“Look at all that free fertilizer we got,” he says before feeding it through a chipper.

“We can even feed bad fruit back to the tree by crushing it,” he adds before stomping on a rotten lemon.

He then tosses a few worms and a larger fallen log on top. That lemon tree should be thriving in no time.

How it’s helping

Growing your own food in your backyard means that you need to buy less of it from your local grocery store, cutting down on your overall environmental impact. 

According to one recent study, food transport constitutes 19% of the total air pollution created by the food industry worldwide, “leading researchers to conclude that … eating locally should be prioritized.”

And it doesn’t get any more local than your own backyard.

What everyone’s saying

The more than 2,000 comments on the post were very positive, with many commenters excited to put his tips into action. 

“I do this, and my neighbors look at me funny,” writes one commenter. “But my yard looks awesome, and we have SO MUCH fruit.”

“You’re telling me that forgetting about my grapefruit tree is exactly why it’s thriving,” writes another. “Awesome!”

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