Thursday, May 01, 2008

Yard Fruit

Here are some pics of the fruit we have in the yard. Most all of this was here when we arrived although in various deteriorating states. Below are some pics of what we have found and what we are doing to try and make the yard more bountiful and perennial. The general moral (as my utterance always contain) appears to be twofold: First, our highly mobile culture doesn't support the care of yard for food. A perennially bountiful yard takes years of development and care. Moving often doesn't allow that. I am frustrated by that. BUT, as our food culture changes and everyone becomes more conscious of the food sources and food possibilities nearby (yards) we should encourage this by investing in a couple fruiting trees or plants that will eventually bring free (monetarily), sweet, healthy joy to others lives down the road. Whoever planted our fruit trees years ago had to hope that someone else would come along and continue the care. They were nearly lost (reasons are unknown and not important) for some years but are being nursed back to health. We are so thankful for the kind folks who placed the plants in the yard.

This is our pomegranate. It was planted by someone a while back and was cut like a shrub when we got here. We are not sure what its needs are for producing fruit, but it is enjoying becoming a tree again.

These are Black Cherries. We have several trees in the yard. They are wild. They are the edible, slightly sweet cousin to the sweet cherry. For those of you who remember our Boone days we had four large sweet cherry trees and we used to eat them till we couldn't eat anymore. These are not as good, but nice to have and know about.
Here is our lone fig. We have two mature fig trees, and one youngun (thanks Matt). The first fruit generally gets knocked off by a frost. They are all picking up steam again and we should have a full late harvest. I am going to try and use root hormone and scraping to produce several more plants. Figs are supposed to be transplantable that way.
The blueberries. Thanks Deirdre for the netting you just supplied. Now we can enjoy these and let them ripen fully without having to worry about the birds (sorry to the birds). I am going to experiment with the scraping rooting transplant process with the blueberries as well. I have read that it will work.

These are our blackberries. The first pic is of a vine that has been growing along the ground (to avoid mowing) which has the berries along with its new red shoot that will bear next year. Last year a friend came over and told me to quit picking the red prickly weeds because they might be blackberries (thanks Emily). I stopped and haven't mowed this year just to see where they are coming up. Answer: Everywhere. We will be competing with the birds but are amazed at just how many blackberry plants there are all over the yard. I am trying to figure out whether to make a patch and try and transplant them. But if anybody wants a few (plants) we have plenty.

This is an example of a blackberry coming up in the yard where it used to just get mowed under all summer. She is so excited to be stretching out new shoots again!

We think we have two apple trees, and that they are not crabapples. But this is the first year they have produced. They were not healthy when we bought the house. This year one of the trees has a bunch of apples on it. Yeah!

The peach tree was really struggling when we got here. But we cut away dead limbs and mulched and fed it and this year we have about 30 healthy little peaches. Very exciting.

This is a poor pic. But, as I was meandering through the yard I noticed this other small peach tree growing in the shade under a locust. Wow! It is rather young but I am going to transplant it and nurture it to see what it will do.
There are a growing number of "edible landscape" books on the market and the general term "perma-culture" is a good keyword when searching for resources. The internet and local library are good places to start. Next time you plant. Think fruit!


jendanellenarianna said...

If anyone knows of "good" resources regarding "permaculture" edible "landscaping" whether it's a book or an internet site drop us a line. We like THE COMPLETE BOOK OF EDIBLE LANDSCAPING by Rosalind Creasy and Jennifer just got LANDSCAPING WITH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES by Fred Hagy which was very informative. The world wide web is, as always, full of info. I just haven't sorted through it all yet. Who has a favorite WWW site?

William Kruidenier said...

Wonderful pictures -- amazing for you all to have bought the house and then "discovered" all that great fruit. Hopefully you'll be able to reap the rewards before moving on.

The founder of "permaculture" was the Australian Bill Mollison in the 1970's, along with his (later) collaborator David Holmgren. The seminal texts on the subject are by Mollison (search at Amazon), but others have come on the market in recent years.

Two I have purchased and found excellent are Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Homescale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway and John Todd and How to Make a Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefield.

The Permaculture Institute in Santa Fe ( is probably the most official site, but there is a group in the North Carolina mountains (Celo, NC) that does permaculture consulting and teaches courses. They are certified in permaculture consulting and are part of the intentional community that exists at Celo. They hold an annual "Permaculture Institute", the 15th coming up this August (see

If you want permaculture from the horse's mouth, the books of Bill Mollison are the place to start.

The Wikipedia article on "permaculture" provides a good overview. When I was reading Mollison's books I actually drew out a permaculture plan for my quarter-acre subdivision lot. I still have it -- never implemented because I thought I was going to move. But it's something anybody can do, especially if you have a "new" lot that is not established in trees, etc., like yours is.

Lesley and Jason said...

Holy shmoly! How many acres do you guys live on? We are amazed to see how much non-garden grub you have growing there! As I told Jen on the phone the other day, we REALLY need to see a full yard shot to get some perspective here.... We really just need to see it with our own eyes. It must be nice to know how much happier those fruits are to be tended to and let 'stretch out'.

As for resources, check this one out:
Jen, do you remember my buddy Taylor from Boone? This book (and movement) was started by a friend of his in Oregon and appears to be taking off.

Also, remember Beth from Boone, well she is working as a biology instructor at a school in the Celo, NC community that William mentioned. Small world.

Much love to you guys.

Les and Jason

jendanellenarianna said...

Jason and Lesley,
I will try to do a photo of sections of the backyard. It is large but not as big as it may appear. Most of the yards in this older 50s era neighborhood are at or around a quarter acre or so. But when we walked around to visit this house we were definitely excited by the fruit trees in the yard. That was certainly one of the "yard" selling points.

Note on the pomegranate. Pomegranates are self-fertile. That means they should produce fruit without extra help. Yeah! There are tons of flowers on it right now.

We also have extra pomegranates coming up so if someone were interested (this is a local advertisement) we could dig one up and letcha have it.

Thanks to William and Jason and Lesley for the websites. I am making notes.

I am excited about fruit trees now. It just makes so much sense to have them around. Someone should pass a bill to give every home or apt. a set of trees to grow. That would be a cool investment in the American people. And no inflation from printing worthless paper cash.