I remember how after 10 years of trying hard, my father decided to give away his small home to a company interested to build a multi storey building. I was born and raised at that home. I loved to play there when I was a child. My favorite space was in between the trees of dates and plums. I used to climb the trees and pick up fruits, while my friend waited for me with open arms. I loved the house, but nevertheless I welcomed my father’s decision. We would have an apartment, which for me at the time, meant less work than is required by a private home.
Six years later, I miss the land, the outer premises, I feel suffocated and maybe this is the reason why I use my balcony to grow vegetables instead of flowers. My city is going through urbanization. All of us want to grab a fresh plum straight from the tree. This can be achieved even in these dim spaces in between buildings. Science allows us to grow hybrid fruits or so called urban fruits that can grow in vases. They have a similar taste and aroma of a soil grown tree.
The market is full of mini-trees, starting from apple, pears, cherries and citrus fruits. Cherry tree in miniature (Sylvia variety) is a tree that should be part of your balconies or porches. Black Amber plum variety can perfectly grow in big vases. It has a soil inspired aroma and taste. The Doyenne du Comice pear cultivar is delicious and aromatic while the apple varieties in the market are multiple. “Gala” and “Golden” apple varieties are some of these mini-trees that are quite favorable to grow in Albania due to the perfect climate.
How can we grow these trees
These mini-trees require big vases with a 50-70 centimeters in diameter. They can grow tall in vertical fashion up to a meter. These beautiful fruits do not require too much care. All they want is sunlight, watering and well drained soil. They seek a good fertilizer which can help all the strong branches and the week ones. In brief, all they want is two minutes of your life each day. Growing mini-trees is an annual thing. These trees can produce fruits up to 20 years. Those who are passionate about urban agriculture, must buy two or three varieties of these trees and do the grafting and budding on their own.
Albania has a limited number of selling points where you can buy these mini-trees. Lemons and tangerines cost 3-5 thousand lek, but you can also make an order at flower shops./AgroWeb.org
*Rezarta Delisula is Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Gazeta Shqiptare working as a journalist since 1998. With 17 years of professional experience, her stories mainly focus on social concerns and environmental issues. Rezarta is also an organic products avid and gardening passionate, largely interested in green lifestyle. She is a contributing writer at agroweb.org.