Monday, November 28, 2011

Planning Big for Next Year

And by big, I mean tall and wide. I want to increase the amount of perennial fruit that I have growing so that I can put up more preserves for the winter - and even have some to give away or sell.

I need a second pear to pollinate the Luscious that I have right now. Luscious is a very crisp, non-grainy, candy-sweet, pear with wonderful floral notes that is best eaten right off the tree. I need a good second pear. I like really sweet pears and would also like one that keeps fairly well. Any suggestions?

I also want to start growing my own apples. I love Honey Gold, Honey Crisp, Fuigi and Golden Delicious. I also had some Chestnut Crabs that were awesome. Sweet, crisp, juicy apples are my thing. I would also like my apples to be maggot resistant - but who doesn't.

My blackberries were not very good this year. Tart and not very blackberry. I'm hoping that they will be better next year as this was still only their second year. But if they don't drastically improve, I may be having a give-away on this blog!

I really couldn't ask more of my raspberries. I'm not a huge fan of raspberries, but I really like these. I had more than enough to make several pint jars of jam, as well as having plenty for fresh eating and giving away - and that is just from a 4x8 bed.

I want to build an arbor over my raspberry bed next year to help shade the area a little, and to grow kiwis! I ate some cold hardy kiwis recently and LOVE THEM! Hardy Anna and Ken's Red are supposed to be good. If any of you have experience with these plants please let me know. I have read that they can be stubborn to fruit and that under the right conditions, they can grow 25 feet a year. Not sure I know what I am getting into with that.

Of the two blueberry plants I got last year, one is still alive and doing well, and who knows, maybe I will have some berries next year. But I LOVE blueberries and a small handful off one bush will not suffice - so I need to get more bushes. I bought Friendship last time since it is a wild Wisconsin native. If they are like the wild blueberries I used to pick as a kid in the North Woods, I will be happy. They were small, but sweet, with amazing flavor! But, I'm thinking that I would like to get one or two other varieties. I like lots of flavor and sweet (sensing a pattern here?).

That's all I have planned so far. I already know where I will plant everything, which puts me way ahead of the game as I usually buy the plants and THEN try to figure out where to put them (which is why I only have one of the two Friendship blueberries that I originally purchased). If any of you have suggestions on which varieties to get, or even warnings against, let me know.


Michael Moore said...

We don't have a great yard for lots of big perennials (wires, shade), but we've got two apples and I'm planning on getting a cherry tree next year.

We have one Honey Crisp and one Haralson. This coming year will be their 3rd year which is when they'll supposedly start really making fruit. We buy both varieties from the grocery store each year so we know we're going to like them.

Jessica P. said...

When picking our perrenial fruits we included haskaps or honeyberries into the equation. I think you would probaly be interested in them. Haskaps are hardy to zone 2 and mature shrubs can yield 5-7 kilos per plant. Supposed to taste like a mix between blueberries and raspberries.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Two of my favorite sweet pears are Seckel, and Warren. Both are on Slow Food's Ark of Taste, and both are sweet, excellent dessert pears, and we've planted both in our orchard. Seckel is a little sweeter, and smaller than Warren. I'm not certain if they'd be appropriate for your zone, but would be worth investigating. Slow Food has a nice list of of other Heirloom Pear varieties you might like to read through as well:

For growing apples, I suggest starting with a Golden Delicious, as it's an excellent pollenizer for other cultivars. We use it as our 'universal' pollenizer here. Homegrown, they have a completely different flavor, and texture, to those store bought mealy orbs. Honeycrisp is a good pollinator too. Slow Food's Heirloom apples are here, many of which are excellent in flavor:

Spitzenburg might be hardy in your area.

Good luck with the Kiwi! We're looking at planting a pair, but decided we need to build a very sturdy trellis first! They can get HUGE!

wilderness said...

Sounds like a grand plan. I do have 2 apple trees. Now if only they would bloom and produce. Fruit trees are tough here to get any that will survive our winters.

Blackberries I have plenty going wild at the edge of my lawn. I have to cut them back every year to maintain any lawn at all.

Sylvana said...

Michael, I have two friends that have Haralsons - I think because they are easy to grow. They are a good basic apple.
I would like to grow a cherry. I LOVE Rainiers! ...but, I'm pretty sure that they will not grow here :(

Jessica, I have almost ordered haskaps so many times, but was afraid that they might be invasive. I just did a quick search and found a University of Saskatchewan article that says that they are not a dominant plant in areas where they have grown wild in Canada. That makes me feel better about growing them.

Curbstone Valley Farm, I haven't heard of either. I like the smaller pears. The Lucious is a small pear, about the size of a tangerine. I will have to go through their list of pears.

And Golden Delicious is my default apple. You have convinced me that this really should be one of the varieties. If the store ones can taste good, I can't wait to taste home-grown!

Wilderness, what kind of blackberries do you have? Are they sweet? Are they true blackberries and not black-raspberries? I'm asking because I might like a couple canes if you'd be up for the shipping.

wilderness said...

Sylvana I have no idea what kind of blackberries they are. They just grow wild here on the mountain. Anytime there is any logging done the blackberry and raspberry cane just seems to rejuvenate its self out of nowhere. I have never eaten a cultivated blackberry so have no way of comparing flavor. These are a bitter sweet I guess is the way I would describe them but very good. They make great pies. I pick them and freeze them and use them in place of blueberries in muffins a lot. I don't know too much about when to dig them and plant them but would be willing to try come spring. They do grow in amongst other briers so it is a little difficult to get just those roots however.

The Idiot said...

Raspberry vodka: say no more. It's a reason to love raspberries more than your own family. In fact, I'll swap my family for some of your raspberries.

Sylvana said...

Wilderness, I would be willing to give them a shot. I have a pretty big yard and I'm sure that I could find room for an experimental patch for blackberries. I'll try to remember come spring and get back in touch with you on this.

The Idiot Gardener, that's tempting, as I could use a few more hands around the house to get the work done ...

Mark said...

Mother Earth News June/July 2009 Best Berries Top choices for your region. I am planting a large 6 plant patch of hybred berries in Rhinelander this year and found this article very helpfull.

Rachelle said...

Oooh! Another Wisconsin gardener! I am in central WI, zone 4b/5a. I have a Seckl (dwarf), it would have set oodles of fruit except for the late freeze last year. I only have the one so I have been cheating by cutting a branch of my parent's pear (probably a Bartlett) when it is blooming and putting it in a 5-gal. pail near my Seckle. Moorpark apricots are self-fertile. If you haven't come up with the right cultivars for the pear and some blueberry suggestions, email me!

Sylvana said...

Hey, Mark, I'm originally from that area. I have a friend near Rhinelander that has a fabulous patch of blackberries, but I haven't seen her in so long that I hate to just show up asking for blackberry canes.
I'll check out that article and see if anything looks like it will work for me. Thanks!

Pam said...

I just tried an Asian Pear for the first time last fall. It is sweet and has almost a fruit salad taste, it was wonderful. A friend of mine has trees in Fond du Lac. She also has some wonderfully diffent, crisp and tart apples called Hiddin Rose, they are bright pink inside.

Sylvana said...

Pam, are you saying that you have a friend in Fond du Lac with an Asian pear tree?

I haven't tried an Asian pear before, but I heard that they can be hit and miss as far as taste - as with any pear I suppose. Your description sounds tasty!

Sylvana said...

Hey Rachelle, I must have missed your comment. After some taste testing, I was going to go with a red bartlett. They taste mildly sweet and rosey. A great combo to go with the candy sweet of the Luscious. But I can not find a supplier, and am thinking that maybe it is not so hardy. A Seckel sounds very promising. I will have to hunt down a pear to see what it tastes like.

Nicole said...

Hi Sylvana,

I was excited to see your blog! I'm in the Madison area of WI (and have lived in WI all my life). I'm scaling up my garden big-time this year, mostly planting fruit trees and bushes. I have a Honeycrisp apple tree that I planted 2 years ago (the one apple I harvested last year was the most amazing of my life!). I'm planting a Liberty ( disease-resistant and delicious, apparently), Fameuse (old variety, sweet, crisp, very red), and a Zestar! For an early, tasty apple. rates all different types of apples.

I have strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries that should be bearing this year (I went with Friendship, too!).

I'm also putting in three types of cherry trees. The sweet cherries are really not hardy, but I bought sweet/tart hybrids. Danube (from Jungs), Surefire (from Raintree Nursery online) and Crimson Passion cherry bush (St. Lawrence Nursery in NY, but Gurneys has a related one called Carmine Jewel) the cherry bush only gets 6' tall!

I'm also putting in a Mount Royal Plum, McKay peach, Gerardi dwarf Mulberry, gooseberries, currants. I am experimenting with paw paws, juneberries/ serviceberries, Nanking cherries, and honey berries. It sounds insane when I type it all out like that... I have a normal suburban yard, but I'm getting rid of all the grass in the front and learning to espalier the apple trees and currants.

I like all the books by Lee Reich, there are lots of descriptions of fruit varieties in his books. Good luck with your gardening!


Sylvana said...

Nicky, you sounds as excited as me about all this fruit! I really want a pawpaw simply based on the description of the flavor - sounds delicious! I love mangoes, bananas, and custard.

I still haven't ordered my plants. I'd better start hopping, spring is already here!