Fruit is a joy to have in your backyard and a wondrous ingredient to pull out of the freezer or pantry in the dead of winter. Well, some fruit that is. Other fruit can be tricky, spiteful, bug-ridden, disease-laden and just a downright pain in the…ankles to try to raise.
For me, growing fruit was a bit of trip down memory lane trying to remember what my Mom raised when we were kids and how much cursing was involved.
Growing fruit was also a bit of trial and error – trying to discover what would like my soil and live in my “zone” and erring on the side of killing a few trees before their time.
But after about 2 years of planting, pruning and, okay I admit it, cursing, I mastered three types of fruit – blueberries, blackberries and Montmorency cherries and I’ve been on easy street for about 15 years, enjoying the “fruit of my labors,” immensely!
So, on to the short, sweet (oh so sweet) method of raising those three organic fruits.
Blueberries In The Backyard
Why not start with the easiest and one of the tastiest fruits first?
Blueberries win that contest hands down. Long before edible landscaping was popular, I began exploring ways to raise fruit like blueberries, one of the more expensive products you’ll find in any store. I wanted to start small so I ordered 6 bushes thinking that would be plenty for our 2-adult house.
In the end, I popped 12 blueberry bushes into a corner planting in the back yard. Why so many?
I ordered them online and waited, and waited and waited for them to be delivered. When I got my credit card bill and saw the charge from the nursery for the bushes I hadn’t received (I thought), I did a little charging of my own. I demanded they send the bushes they had charged me for.
Despite the fact that I was wrong the company immediately said okay. They shipped me 6 more bushes. About a week later, I got a call. Someone named “Pat” had actually signed for my bushes.
My husband, whose name is also Pat, had signed for the bushes, forgot to tell me and left them in the garage.
After immediate permission to charge me for the second set they shipped and multiple apologies, I slithered into the garage and located the tall, brown package from the nursery.
When I tore open the package I found white sticks with white leaves on them. My bare root stock blueberry bushes had lost all their chlorophyll!
Since the bushes had traveled so far and suffered so much, I decided to give them a chance, anyway. So, 15 years later, I am still harvesting 50 to 60 quarts of blueberries every summer.
Now think about that. You plant them once, care for them just a bit and they yield 240 pints of fresh, organic blueberries every year for 15 years.
If you had to buy the same number in your local grocery store, you would have paid more than $10,000 for the privilege. And you would have no idea if what you were eating was pesticide free.
I’ve been growing my own for 15 years and saving all that money every year. At a conservative estimate, that means I’ve put $10,000 in my pocket for an initial investment of less than $100!
You’re probably thinking, “Oh, I don’t have enough space.” or “I can’t grow anything.” Or my favorite, “I don’t know how.” I am here to tell you blueberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow…period. And I’m going to tell you how to do it, next week.