With the Holidays and the Winter Solstice behind us and the days slowly
but surely growing longer as we head towards spring, we can start to
enjoy mental images of gardens and landscapes alive with colors and
aromas where now we see only bleak soil and dry branches!
Colors and aromas satisfy two of our senses - sight and smell. But
why stop there when you can add taste to the sensual mix? Include
fruiting plants in your spring planting plans and you could soon,
literally, be enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Here are a couple of suggestions that I hope will make your mouth
Blackberry Triple Crown Thornless
Cheryl and I recently discovered this relatively new blackberry and we
quickly became enthusiasts. Yes, it really is thornless and that's a
big benefit to those of us whose hands and forearms seem to be magnets
for little scratches when we work around our plants.
However, for us the "wow factor" came from the size of the fruit
that this variety can produce, based on results achieved in
agricultural testing. Triple Crown was tested extensively by
agricultural research scientists before finally being offered to
nurseries starting in 1996. Oregon State University trials found
8-year-old plants yielding 30 pounds or more of berries per plant.
The fruit is also suitable for juices, pies, syrups and preserves,
according to puree trials by the Oregon testers. The name, by the way,
doesn't refer to horse racing. Rather it gets its name from its three
crowning attributes: flavor, productivity and vigor.
Raspberry Kiwi Gold
As you might guess from its name, Kiwi Gold originated in New Zealand
but does well in the United States, growing in USDA zones 4 to 8. (If
you're unsure of the USDA zone in which you live, send an e-mail with
your city and state to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll check for you.)
Kiwi Gold is a yellow-gold variety noted for its sweet flavor and great
holding ability on the vine. It is described by horticulturists as
ever-bearing: you'll get a good crop around June and an even better
crop in the fall. A nice benefit: Kiwi Gold stays firm and won't turn
to mush in your hands if you delay picking it for a day or two. Tests
show that it resists powdery mildew, too. For correct pollination,
plant Kiwi Gold close to some regular red raspberries.
Kiwi Gold tolerates most soil types but prefers deep, well-drained,
fertile soil. It is quite versatile and hardy in cold climates where
other cane fruits tend to fail. Best of all, in addition to its
delightful sunny-gold color, it's delicious!
If you enjoy blueberries in fruit salads, muffins and pancakes, why not
grow your own? To ensure good pollination, you need to plant at least
two varieties, such as...
Duke, a new variety of blueberry, originating in New Jersey and
suitable for USDA zones 3 to 7. This one ripens early with firm, nicely
colored fruit that has a very pleasant taste. The bush itself can make
an attractive and decorative hedge with its pink-tinged white spring
flowers and vibrant yellow-gold fall foliage, in addition to the blue
Blueray, a mid-season blueberry that is upright, productive and
vigorous. We've found you can get about 20 pounds of fruit from a
single plant over the course of a season, so you'd better have a
really good muffin recipe. Blueray is considered a good pollinator for
other highbush varieties.
Blue Crop, a hardy variety of blueberry that produces large fruit when
planted near to other varieties such as Earliblue or Jersey. Blue Crop
grows to a height of 6 or 7 feet with fruit ripening in mid July.
Some of the fruiting plants I've described are quite new and might be
tricky to track down. If you need some online shopping help, feel free
to send me an e-mail.
Start planning now for many summers of delicious, home-grown fruit!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs
and landscaping to email@example.com and for resources and
additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed
newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org