First Fruits

It is now the exciting time of year when the garden is starting to give up its first fruits. They are much anticipated, long awaited, and always appreciated here. We are only going to get a few cherries, but we are sure glad to see them. We planted four new cherry trees this year (two sour and two sweet) but it will be a few years before they bear any fruit. Until then we will enjoy what we get from our one pie cherry tree.

North Star pie cherry

North Star pie cherry

On the other hand, the blueberries are absolutely loaded. We worked hard last year to keep them irrigated through the hot and dry summer, and it looks like our work paid off. The first ones are just now starting to ripen. It looks like Chandler will give us the first taste this year. We have several other varieties planted, including Elizabeth, Patriot, Nelson, Elliot and Spartan. We have a mix of early, mid and late maturing varieties planted to give us a harvest that lasts about two months.

Chandler blueberries

Chandler blueberries

Also loaded are the Asian persimmon trees. I know some of them may drop off if the trees can’t support them all, but I counted at least 100 blooms on the two trees. These varieties are self-pollinating, so that adds up to potentially a lot of persimmons! The botanical name for persimmons is Diospyros, which translates as “food of the Gods.” I am certainly looking forward to eating these heavenly tasting fruits this fall.

Gwang Yang persimmons

Gwang Yang persimmons

More fruits that look promising are our two rugosa roses. Last year the marauding deer ate most of them just as they were ripening, so this year we will put netting over them to keep them safe. We are growing these two varieties (Jubilee and Purple Pavement) especially for their hips, though the flowers have been lovely to look at too. They will also be ripening in late fall.

Jubilee rose hips

Jubilee rose hips

Purple Pavement rose blooms

Purple Pavement rose blooms

Hopefully won’t have to wait until fall for the first tomato. At least I doubt that we will. The first tomato to bloom and show fruit this year is Sun Gold. It won the tomato races last year, and it is always a winner in my books.

first 2013 Sungold tomatoes

first 2013 Sun Gold tomatoes

While used more like a vegetable, the first fruits of the greenhouse cucumbers are starting to size up. I’ve got Manny and Tasty Jade growing in there – two dependable performers in the greenhouse in past years. That’s Manny in the below photo, a Beit Alpha type with medium sized, tender skinned fruits. Both are parthenocarpic types that don’t need pollination to set fruit.

Manny cucumbers in the greenhouse

Manny cucumbers in the greenhouse

I don’t believe the first zucchini to bloom will result in any fruits though. Spineless Beauty is a variety that does need to be pollinated, and the first bloom to open in our garden was a female. Ironically, yesterday we were working at the Impact Community Garden and saw our first zuke blossom there, a male. We should have gotten the two of them together for a date! Oh well, it won’t be long before the zucchinis are setting on. I guess there’s always a slim chance that this one got pollinated from somewhere else, but I’m not holding my breath.

first female zucchini

first female zucchini

And though usually used like a fruit, botanically speaking the rhubarb is all vegetable. This is our first year to harvest it, and the first cutting last month gave us enough for a rhubarb crisp. The ample rains have it regrowing nicely, so I see another cutting soon. The variety in the below photo is the green stemmed Victoria. These plants were planted 2 years ago, plus I planted some Crimson Red crowns this year. When they all start producing we should have lots of rhubarb to enjoy.

Victoria rhubarb

Victoria rhubarb

I hope you have enjoyed a look at our first 2013 fruits here at HA. And I hope all your efforts are fruitful too, whether in the garden or elsewhere!

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14 Responses to First Fruits

  1. Judy Sall says:

    I am impressed with the variety you have! I was all excited because I had blossoms on one of the 2 cucumbers I planted in a raised bed, but the next day I discovered the Prairie Dogs had broken into the enclosure and had a nice lunch from them! Next batch will be going in pots on the deck, where the PD’s don’t go! I have thought about planting fruit, but we have Elk and birds who would make short work of anything I put out! So far, the tomatoes are doing well, and I have harvested a little lettuce…

  2. Daphne says:

    I keep thinking I need a persimmon. It can grow here and doesn’t have a lot of pests. But I’ve never actually eaten on. Someday I’ll have to try to find one at the market to test it out, but if persimmons are anything like some other fruit, the market just won’t give you a good idea what a home grown persimmon tastes like.
    Daphne recently posted…TimingMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      That was my problem for a long time, I had not eaten one. I finally found some at one of our Asian markets, then I also saw they began to appear at some other places like Fresh Market (we don’t have a Whole Foods here). I think they are rather mild tasting actually. And the trees are pest free here, so there’s no spraying and very little maintenance for that matter. I give them some organic fruit fertilizer (Happy Frog 5-8-4) and that’s about all there is to do. I will need to prune as they get bigger, but no more so than other tree fruits.

  3. Amy Abbott says:

    What an amazing haul!

  4. elizabeth says:

    Do you have problems with your Victoria rhubarb flowering? I have Victoria, Canada Red and Valentine, but Victoria is the only one that flowers readily.

    • Dave says:

      The Victoria flowered early, and I cut it off. I haven’t grown any of the rhubarb long enough to really see how it does.

      • elizabeth says:

        I just cut them off too, but I wonder how much the flowering cuts down on stalk growth? The flavor of Victoria seems good.

  5. Our rhubarb, sadly, is a little unhappy with all the hot dry weather this year. Your persimmons look great! I’m looking forward to getting some from fruit from ours in another year or two once our tree is more mature. I’m curious, what do you use your rose hips for? Syrups, soaps?
    Curbstone Valley Farm recently posted…Goat’s Milk PancakesMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      So far we are still waiting on our first harvest! I am thinking jelly and tea will be the first thing we do with rose hips, if we get any!

  6. Mike R says:

    I love the wild persimmons that grow in southern Indiana. I’m guessing that the Asian varieties don’t need to go through a hard frost to lose the astringency? I’m growing two parthenocarpic all-female cucumbers this year, Diva and Picolino. Must be the weather this year because the Picolino is already loaded and should have a few cukes ready shortly. The Manny variety must be similar to Diva, another Beit Alpha cuke.
    Mike R recently posted…Monday June 10My Profile

    • Dave says:

      No, the persimmons we have are never astringent. You can eat them when firm and crisp like an apple, or let them soften up if you like. Other Asian persimmons (like Hachiya) are astringent and need to be soft before eating.

  7. Norma Chang says:

    I have toyed with the idea of growing Asian persimmon but not sure if it will survive in my area. Do deer bother the tree?
    Oh yes, I always enjoy visiting HA fruit farm, thanks for the tour. Have a fruitful year.

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