Fruits For All Seasons

One of the things we were excited about when my wife and I first saw Happy Acres were the three mature blueberry bushes, along with the apple and peach trees. It was like buying a ready made mini fruit farm! Leave it to gardeners to be more excited about what’s outside than they are about the house itself, though the house certainly had its charm as well.

It’s now a few years later, and we know that the apple and peach trees were unpruned and unmanageable giants with fruit too high in the trees to thin or harvest. And two of the three big blueberries bear tiny sized fruit. There was one nice surprise though: a pie cherry tree that is doing great. And it turns out the other blueberry has nice sized, tasty fruit. The others are tasty too – just small.

future cherry cobbler? (click on any image to enlarge)

We set out to supplement the existing fruits pretty soon after we arrived. We added thornless blackberries and more blueberries the first year. In later years we’ve added two peach trees, two more cherries, figs, and a couple of Asian persimmons. And last year we planted two pawpaw trees, which are native to our area..

blackberries are blooming now, ahead of schedule

Last year we also added two currant bushes and two honeyberries. The honeyberry is a form of edible honeysuckle, with dark blue fruits. We planted these in a new sunny bed that was created when had our elm tree cut down. This bed is a mixed planting with rugosa roses (for hips), an Oakleaf Hydrangea, a Viburnum, lavender, and some ornamental grasses. Hopefully this area will give us beauty as well as bounty in the years to come.

young honeyberries

This year I have planted red and yellow raspberries. These are fall-bearing varieties (Autumn Bliss, Caroline and Anne) that will hopefully give us one crop later in summer when some of the other fruits are finished bearing. We have some black raspberries in another area that have been bearing for a few years now.

young currant plant, protected from hungry deer

Our goal is to give us a variety of tasty fruits that bear over a long season, as well as to beautify our landscape. And with freezing, drying and other ways of preserving, we can have homegrown fruit all year long.

bowl of ripe figs

One fruit that is missing here is the strawberry. I love eating them, but in my opinion growing them is a hassle compared to most other fruits. Its temporary nature, and low growing habit are big strikes against it. I used to grow them for sale, and my back still aches just thinking about that operation. I tried them here for a couple of years, but I decided it truly wasn’t worth it. With a berry farm less than a mile from here, it’s one fruit I will be happy to let someone else grow!

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10 Responses to Fruits For All Seasons

  1. Liz says:

    Oh to have enough space for all those wonderful fruits. Sounds like a great selection and I have to say I know what you mean about strawberries. A day at the pick your own farm is a fun (and usually slug free) excursion.

    • Dave says:

      Slugs! I forgot about them. That’s another nice things about the berries we have. If we can keep the birds away, the bugs usually leave them alone.

  2. Daphne says:

    I might pick strawberries as the one thing I would grow (if the local fauna lets me eat any). I so love them. I think they might be my favorite. Though for ease of the plant, a raspberry has to be the best. They are such weeds and require so little care. It is too bad your apple and peach trees are too large. My townhouse mates were hoping for a full sized apple tree and I wasn’t having any of that. We planted dwarf trees.

  3. Mike says:

    Sounds like you have a very nice mix of fruit trees and berry bushes. I would love to hear more about your paw paw trees as they mature, we are also attempting to get some started on our own property…wish me luck with that project.:)

    • Dave says:

      Mike, our pawpaws are not that far along. One of even them got ‘pruned’ by a deer last winter. So it will be a few years before we have any fruit either.

  4. Jenny says:

    You have wonderful selection of fruit on your farm! When we bought our home 3 yrs ago I immediately planted some fruit trees but they will take a while to really start producing. We only tried our first plums last year and hope for first cherries this year. But we do have lots of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and we also got new additions this year – persimon and white mulberry and 3 figs. I do hope we’ll have a good harvest at some point 🙂

  5. Jody says:

    I had no idea that you had such an amazing variety of fruits! You’ve worked very hard to bring Happy Acres along since you purchased it. We’re the same zone, but definitely a little colder than you (our blackberries are a couple weeks from flowering still). Still, I think we could be successful with a few more varieties. I know a guy up the road who has success with persimmons and figs. Maybe we’ll give them a try someday.

  6. kitsapFG says:

    Your fruit plantings would be wonderful to have. Lucky you to have purchased a property with some established fruit trees and bushes – even if some of them were not quite what you expected.

    Our fruit plantings are more limited due to limits on the available land we have that gets adequate sun. I do have some bush pie cherries but if they don’t get their act together and start producing this year, I am seriously thinking of pulling them out. They should have produced two year ago and have yet to make a showing. I planted some ultra dwarf apples last year and they are doing really well. I will pinch the fruit from them this year to encourage more branching and root development before letting them fruit in 2013. The rest of our fruits are berries – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries (wild on the periphery of the garden), and blueberries.

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