Monday, July 14, 2014

Lots and lots of promise

One of the hardest things about planting fruit trees?

The wait. The long, long wait.

Some trees reward you with good things almost right away - like mulberries - but most trees do not. Now that I've been on my property for almost four years, however, my trees are starting to come into bearing size and we have a smattering of delicious fruit that will be ripening soon.

For starters, the elderberries are really jumping this year:


Elderberries are a very interesting fruit. The entire plant is poisonous except for the blooms and the fully ripe fruit. It's best for processing or drying, with an interesting flavor that tastes more "healthy" than "sweet." If you have a moist or swampy area, you should grow these babies. They've been proven to help knock down colds and the flu. Good enough for me.

Here's another fruit that's on its way:


Though pears aren't as fool-proof as some fruit trees are, the "sand pear" varieties are disease resistant and productive, provided you keep an eye out for fireblight and don't let it eat your trees during long wet seasons. Pear butter... pear pies... pear preserves... pear brandy... mmm.

Another tree that I love: the Japanese persimmon. We're getting our first few fruits this year on a tree I planted three years ago:


Persimmons are one of my top three favorite EASY fruit trees for North/Central Florida (the other two being loquat and mulberry). And... speaking of easy... check out these muscadine grapes:


If you haven't tried a good fresh muscadine, you haven't lived. The vines are vigorous and very disease-resistant, plus they make grapes.

Win. And wait... here's more win. We have citrus this year. Check out this developing blood orange:


Though I don't recommend citrus anymore, we haven't lost ours to greening yet. I'm praying we don't. Let's take a look at some Key limes:


Those are on the tree I'm growing up against my south wall. It's flying and needs a good pruning and tying back before winter this year.

It takes time to get a perennial system like a food forest going... but once it's going, the bounty is hard to beat.

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