“The best time to plant trees was 20 years ago. The next best time is NOW.”
~ (so many people have said this, I'm not sure who to attribute it to. If you know, drop a comment, please!)
In addition to the store, Janene and I are quite passionate about living a simpler, less complicated life. We've been learning and moving towards an urban homesteading lifestyle. I am incredibly passionate about gardening - both vegetable and floral / landscaping. Among the goals that we have is to turn the house into an urban homestead - we had even discussed bees, goats, and chickens for this year, but decided that was far more than we could handle. Which, given the way this year has gone, turned out to be a VERY good decision.
One thing we HAVE managed to do this year, however, was to plant some fruit trees. We were blessed to receive some trees from a friend, and also to find a smokin' hot deal at one of our favorite nurseries (The Plant Farm) on bare root trees. This is something we're especially excited about, and wish we had been able to do a few years ago when we first moved in, as we would be that much further along... But now we have a start, and over the next few years we'll be able to harvest more and more of our own apples, pears, and prunes. In the meantime, farmer's markets it will be!
Ben was SO excited to help plant them, and he CONSTANTLY is asking when he can pick the fruit off the trees. This is so important to us, because we feel strongly about teaching the kids the importance of environmental responsibility, and that includes growing our own food and understanding where it all comes from.
So, what did we end up planting?
"Honeycrisp Apple has become increasingly popular in American grocery stores over the past few years. Primarily due to its explosive crisp texture and well-balanced sweet/tart flavor, it is said to be the "fun to eat apple". A relatively new patented variety, Honeycrisp Apple has a texture similar to a crisp watermelon or Asian Pear. The fruit size is very large and predominantly red over a yellow background." ~Willis Orchard Co. (http://www.willisorchards.com/product/Honeycrisp+Apple+Tree)
Dwarf Early Italian Prune:
"Similar to Italian, but sweeter, slightly larger & more productive. Shorter growing season than Italian. Originated near Yakima, Washington in 1935. Self-fruitful." ~The Plant Farm (http://www.theplantfarm.com/trees/plums.htm)
Grafted Dwarf Apple:
Jonagold, Yellow Delicious, Gravenstein, Melrose, and Liberty. How cool is it that we can get five different apple varieties from one tree, and that the tree will self-pollinate? Given our limited space, these grafted trees are an awesome option.
Grafted Dwarf Pear:
Anjou, Flemish Beauty, Conference, Bartlett and Red Bartlett. These trees are wonderful; we'll get a variety of pears from this beauty, and (since we have limited space) we can plant just the one tree and it will self pollinate! (Apparently European and Asian pear trees don't cross polinate well, which doesn't necessarily bode well for the Asian Pear tree...
"The Shinseiki Pear Tree is a round, medium sized, golden pear with white, sweet, crisp, and juicy flesh. The fruit of the Shinseiki Pear Tree ripens in late July, to mid August and stores extremely well until March. The Shinseiki Pear Tree bears fruit at a young age and requires 250-450 chill hours to set it's good quality pear fruit. Zones 5-9a." ~Willis Orchard Co. (http://www.willisorchards.com/product/Shinseiki+Pear+Tree)
We're not sure what this is. This is one that we inherited from our good friend, and the tag on it is completely faded off. It will be interesting to see what develops!
Depending on how our landscaping comes together, maybe next year we'll look into some espalier apple or other fruit trees... I've got a GREAT spot for them, if things come together the way they might ... and a living wall of scrumptious edibility is extremely appealing! The other thing I'm very excited about looking into is columnar apple trees - I can grow them in pots; they get to be 8'-10' tall, but only 3-4' wide... and I have an AWESOME spot between us and our wonderful neighbors that gets full sun - but I don't want to plant anything right on the property line. These would be PERFECT!
Do you have any fruit trees? What's your favorite?