March 27th 2015 - Going out on a limb
One of the things we' have talked about quite a bit is trying to grow more fruit. I know, with the grocery store convenience, you might ask why. But with the web as a library and all the other regional and local universities, state and county agriculture extension offices, and community education programs, there are lots of places to get help and education, and who can resist the incredible taste of really great fresh fruit? It's a satisfying result of your labor.
Fruit production is different that annual vegetable production. And what I mean by that is with garden plots, garden rotation is important. Every year is planned differently. Fruit is a perennial. So with vegetables you can plant something different every spring in different places. With fruit, you are committing a permanent place for that plant to live and thrive season after season. It becomes part of your space that you will need to care for differently than other spaces in your yard.
It's also important to know which fruits grow well in your region. We recently took a 2 hour community ed evening class that answered many of our questions about how to start and what varieites to consider. We are in zone 4b. So for instance, peaches might not be a great choice for us. But surprisingly when we first bought this property, there were peach trees that produced lots of peaches. At least up until a silver maple grew so large it blocked their sun. All plants require certain conditions, like sun, soil type, water needs...and all have their own issues concerning pests. So a little eduction can go a long way. The University of Minnesota has done a lot of work and produced varieties of fruits for this region. How cool is that?
One of the things we found out was the specific needs of blueberries. These plants need an acidic soil. So if you are going to attempt blueberries, consider the soil condition and where you plant these, because some of these plants can live up to 50 years!
By taking a little time to understand each type of fruit and their different varietals and needs, it will ensure that you are selecting the plant that is best for your growing condition so that you can enjoy the freshness of your own fruit. This is the time to get moving on fruit plans, becasue you will want to get your fruit planting going as soon as the frost is out of the ground.
We currently have 3 struggling apples trees we are learning how to care for, two cherry trees and of course, the vineyard. Our plans this year are to add, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pear, apricot, peaches and plum. We're pretty excited! Stay tuned for more on our progress.
We're going out on a limb, because that''s where the fruit is.
Link to the University of Minnesota fruit page