Wednesday, January 22, 2014

more fruit? yes please, I believe I will.

One of my goals for Mom's hobby farm is to add some new fruit each year. Under the tab at the top of the blog called Orchard you can read a little bit about my efforts so far to expand the fruit produced on the farm.  I think that fruit is a great asset for the farm as you plant it once and (hopefully) it gives you fruit for years.  We have had some successes and some that are less than successful and some in that TBD (to be determined) category.

In the successes column I would place the grapes.  I have four grape vines that were planted on an arbor over a period of a couple years and for the first years the grape that was planted first and was the oldest vine when planted had been producing fruit but last year we got a crop off of all of the vines.  We had a few apples on both of our apples trees last year and the black raspberry bushes that i transplanted grew a few berries which the birds got to before I could pick them.  We planted two pear trees and two plum trees and it looks so far like one pear and one plum are successes.  One pear did not grow and was replaced the next spring and the new one now looks to be doing well. One plum is in the TBD category as it started getting lots of suckers from the bottom and we will have to see what develops.  I cut the suckers off last summer and the plant looked good as winter arrived.

I planted some strawberries in  the wood tower and they did okay the first year sending out runners but did not come back the second year.  The six blueberries  have not died yet but they are not doing well.  This will be their third year and they are just hanging on despite my efforts to amend the soil that they are growing in.  I am considering moving them to a raised bed where I can start out with acidic soil and see if they do better.

So here is the plan for 2014:

Last year in the late summer I transplanted a few more black raspberry canes to the cornfield in the row dividing the north from the south halves.  I plan to move more in the spring.

Mom shared a couple of seed catalogs that came to her house this winter and there were some interesting fruits that were pretty reasonably priced so we made a list of ones that I would like to try.  When they are only a few dollars for a couple of bushes I feel that we can risk that something might not work for that kind of investment.

on our list:

sand cherries--also called a dwarf flowering cherry used for sauces and fresh eating

black elderberry--for pies and wine.  An online acquaintance shared that when she lived in England she collected the flowers to make elderflower fizz.

gooseberries--red colossal variety--largest of the gooseberries, produce 10 quarts of fruit per plant, and should produce fruit one year after planting

I also was kind of excited to see a free packet of huckleberries could be included with the order but a little research found that the huckleberry seeds were an annual plant not the perennial bush that resembles blueberries.  The reviews were not encouraging but I am considering them as they seem to be a favorite of birds and so maybe as bird food they might be desirable.  I guess that I can wait until they arrive before making a decision and could plant a few seeds and see what they do. 

So it is another blizzard in Minnesota.  A good day to be dreaming about spring and the garden of 2014.

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