I love to garden but it can be very frustrating at times! I am an avid planter…but not so great a grower! I try so hard with compost and manure and a ridiculous amount of attention in terms of watering and organic pest control but it seems like my harvests are hit or miss. We have been trying to grow more fruit in the yard since we eat so much of it but I am always fighting the squirrels and birds for the crop. Here is what I have growing right now:
On the left are the grape vines we planted several years ago along a wooden split rail fence. Between encounters with the dog and the occasional infestation of Japanese beetles is is not always the healthiest looking plant but this year we FINALLY have baby grapes! I think we planted it 3 years ago? We’ll see if the baby grapes make it to adulthood!
On the right are my blackberries. I am amazed at how well they have taken off this year. This has been 3 years in the making, too, but there are tons of berries on it right now. Of course, the bush is starting to take over the wood pile and just about overflowing onto the driveway but if I get to eat all those berries, I don’t care! Waiting for them to ripen is going to kill me, I swear!
On the left in this photo are some blueberry bushes. They were here when we moved into the house but have tripled in size since then. They are really struggling for sun since the previous owners planted them way too close to the Juniper bushes but they seem to still be making berries. I usually get a couple of bowls full around late June but the birds really love them. I tried netting them and just ended up with several dead snakes that got caught in the netting at the ground so I don’t even bother any more.
On the right is my rhubarb….can you call rhubarb a fruit? Well, since I use it like a fruit that is what I am calling it! I planted it several years ago and every year it grows better and better. Since I live in the south and it doesn’t like hot weather I had to find a cool, shady spot for it that only gets morning sun. I harvest a few stalks every week and wash and chop it, then store it in a bag in the freezer. When I have enough I make apple rhubarb crisp or strawberry rhubarb sauce. Sometimes the kids just eat a stalk with a bowl of sugar. The only pest issue I have with them is slugs because the area is cool and damp. The occasional late night visit with a salt shaker helps keep this problem to a minimum!
If you would like more information about growing fruit in your own yard, check out the gardening resources at Cornell University. Tons of great information.