Seeds of Change


Growing Fruit

When people think of fruit, they usually think of trees. Fruit trees are best gotten bare root in the very early spring while the plants are still dormant. It’s more quickly satisfying to get bigger trees of course, but they are rarely disease-resistant varieties, and therefore generally need a lot of spraying with (hopefully organic) insecticides to protect the fruit. Disease–resistant fruit tree varieties can be purchased from places like Stark Fruit trees also need at least yearly pruning to keep them productive, as otherwise they will develop a lot of non-fruiting branches called suckers and produce more leaves than fruit. Peaches, pears – both soft-skinned and Winter pears like Bosc which keeps longer – and apples do well on our property. Plums used to do well here, but with the wet weather they get all sorts of fungus, especially black knot. Our trees in New Mexico, however, are loaded with plums every year.


Berries are another large source of fruit, and are perhaps easier to manage. Blueberries like moist, sandy soil, and you usually need at last two varieties to cross-pollinate in order to produce fruit. They come in high bush and low bush, and you can frequently get them at Lowes in the Spring!

Thornless raspberries are REALLY nice. They like sun, are very prolific, and easy to pick as they lack the nasty stickers. And yummy! They do spread by runners, so plant them in a place where you can contain them. They also fruit on last year's wood, so do not cut them down to the ground in the Spring. Blackberries are also nice, but I have not come across thornless varieties.

Grapes are also wonderful. You have to plant them in a sunny place, and trellis them. They also need pruning in the spring. Make sure you get munchable varieties instead of wine grapes, unless you are intending to make wine...

And then there are strawberries of course! They like a lot of sun, and not too wet. We have gone to growing the fragrant but tiny Fraises du Bois (woodland strawberries) in containers, where we do not have to bend down so far to nibble on them.

It is also possible to grow gooseberries and currents in our area.

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