Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spring berries and fruit trees

This has been a great spring for us. Most of our fruit trees are still young, but our berry bushes are producing very well. The following are some photos and comments on what is doing well and tidbits of what we have learned. We have had a lot of Japanese Beatles this year. I am trying to figure out a natural method of destroying the little devils other than physically removing and squishing them. Any ideas are welcome in the comments.

Sour bush cherries have beautiful spring flowers and produce lots of small, sour, red fruit that is well suited for pies or fresh eating if you don't mind the sour taste. So far this is doing well (3rd season) without any spraying and has been disease and insect free. Japanese Beatles don't seem to fancy them over the grapes, fruit trees or blackberries.

This is the first year our bush cherries have produced (3rd season in the ground). The fruit is small and sour, but seems disease and insect free thus far.

Our small developing nursery (inside our dog fence). This year (2010) we have some peaches, nectarines, and crabapples developing fruit.

Our grapes (mostly Concord) are doing well. They have all reached the top 6' wire and I am starting to train them and trimming (in Nov.) lower growth off. It is important to get them off the ground so that they have good air movement to discourage fungal disease.

Early spring with grapes and blackberries leafing out. Spring greens have been planted in the hoop house, but there is no need for shade clothe until mid-May when it gets hot.

Grape leaves healthy as can be before the Japanese Beatles start eating them.

Fruit starting to develop on the grape vines. Concords seem to be the most disease variety for mid-Missouri. We also have some seedless varieties, but they don't seem to be very vigorous or productive yet.

Blueberries in early spring.

There is nothing finer or prettier than blueberries. No house or garden should be without them. They are easy and productive if you have a little patience. They are disease and insect resistant, are beautiful plants and the fruit is super healthy. I often recommend to friends that all gardens should have blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. All are very hardy, productive and healthy for eating.

Blueberry flowers are a beautiful dainty white.

Developing fruit in May.

Fruit starting to turn blue. I can hardly wait.

Early spring strawberry flowers.

Strawberries are outstanding. They grow like weeds, but are a beautiful groundcover for any sunny area. They can take shade, but do not produce as well. I have tried many different varieties, but I would stay away from "ever-bearing" types as they bear very little and so it is difficult to process them as they fruit at different times and produce very little. It is nice to have a huge harvest for 3 weeks that we can pick, clean and freeze. Try to keep your beds less than 3' wide as it is hard to pick the berries on the inside without stepping on the outside plants to get to the inner berries.

These beds are a little wide and the edges need to be trimmed. The outer plants can be given away to friends.

Fruit staring to develop.

Beautiful ripe fruit.

Quite a harvest. We wash, cut off the bad parts and freeze the berries on baking sheets. After they freeze individually on sheets, we put them in freezer zip-locks until we can use them in smoothies or jam.

A perfect fruit.

Apples in bloom are beautiful. I am still experimenting to see what varieties I like best.

A beautiful apple blossom.

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