Gae asked recently about our fruit trees. I tried to leave a comment but I'm having trouble commenting on my own blog. Gae, I'm working on your Reggio questions in a different post, but since I was out working in the garden today, I thought I would take some pictures and answer your question at the same time. (The sun was out so I needed to take advantage of it!)
Gae wanted to know if our fruit trees provided enough fruit for our family. Unfortunately... no. This is only their fourth season, so the only tree bearing fruit right now is one of our peaches.
They're very small right now and will ripen next month. Last year was the first year this tree bore, and I am very happy to see it bearing again. Our other peach bore a few peaches last year, but this year there isn't a single one on it.
It's also become apparent by now that our cherry trees have died (possibly because they've been repeatedly stripped by deer every winter). Our apple trees are bigger, but it takes 5-7 years for an apple to bear. So no apples yet.
One of our young apples.
Our trees are all semi-dwarf or dwarf varieties. Some of them are smaller than others.
If you look closely you can see that this volunteer squash plant (growing out of a compost top dressing) almost completely dwarfs this dwarf tree. I think the tree is a pear. It's not supposed to be this small. I think it's been hit by a few too many late cold snaps and a few too many hungry deer.
On a totally unrelated note, I am going to stop planting winter squash. The best plants always grow out of the compost. The others get eaten by cucumber beetles.
Anyway, Gae, if you're looking for a new place, one with mature fruit trees already bearing would be a HUGE plus in my opinion. I wish the doctor who built this house fifty years ago had planted apples instead of crabapples. If we ever end up moving away from here, mature fruit trees will be high on my list of what to look for in a new place. Mature fruit trees and barns. The house would be optional. ;-)
Berry bushes are a different matter, though. They bear in a year or two. We've had the best luck with blackberries.
This is one bush, which is also in its fourth season. It is loaded with flowers and berries this year. It's also propagated at least one more bush which is bearing this year, too. When we planted it, it was tiny. Last year, blackberries were selling for $4.95 a half pint. We paid 4.95 for the bush, and it gave us -- oh, I can't remember how many quarts of berries. We ate most of them within 30 minutes of picking them.
We also have blueberries, which are doing better this year -- their second season.
We fertilize them with pine shavings from the chick brooders because they like an acid soil. I don't know that we have enough bushes to really be self-sufficient with them... or maybe self-sufficiency is just several years down the road. They're very small bushes right now.
Andy also planted some less common berries this year which are doing much better than say, our grapes and raspberries...
These are jostaberry bushes. Jostaberries are supposed to be high in vitamin C.
And these are elderberries. They have blooms already, so I think we're going to get berries in the first year. You can make wine out of elderberries, but I believe we'll stick to jam. ;-)
Well, that was probably more than you wanted to know... but I was so excited to see the sun today I couldn't help myself. Of course it's getting to rain... again... but that brief glimpse of summer was nice.
ETA: I totally forgot about the highbush cranberry in the front yard, and after I took these pictures, Andy cut the grass and discovered a seaberry we thought had died. The seaberry was actually in pretty good shape, so we were pleased. And we also noticed that the blackberry bush has another new bush on its other side.
I also have to apologize for the template flipping. I liked the honeybees, but I couldn't take the small photo size.