Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Summer Fruit

Ellen with blueberries and Arianna with black cherries.We are enjoying some sweet fruit this summer. The house came with a mature high bush blueberry and two mature fig trees. They were all in rather poor condition and had been neglected. We pruned, applied organic fertilizer around the base, and then piled up the FREE mulch we received from a local tree-shredder. This mulch isn't as "nice" as the stuff you buy at the store. It is not nearly so decomposed and soft--much more like wood-chips. But it has been very effective in providing really nice ground cover around our garden and fruiting bushes. It traps moisture, slows erosion, and provides a home for all the many tiny creatures necessary for healthy soil, and slowly but surely it is feeding the sandy soil as it breaks down. I think it has made a significant difference to the health of our fruiting plants. Below are pictures of the ripening figs and black "wild" cherry. These are awesome summer eating. Both are sweet and nutritious. Both are prolific. Both grow well in disturbed or sandy soil.
Ellen loves the figs. Arianna loves the black cherries. We all crave the blueberries.
The black cherry is a "frontier" tree which grows well in strong sun and reclaims disturbed areas. The birds love it and we can only reach the cherries on the bottom branches but there are still plenty. They are awesome. They do have a hard "stone" (seed) in the middle and are a bit like eating sunflower seeds (in that you have to spit the seed out like you spit the shell of the sunflower). Arianna and I battle the mosquitoes almost every evening to bring in a bowlful. We eat them by the handful but they can also be put in jam or pies and have long been a source of wine. Free food. I love it. This is also the same tree that is prized for its timber. It is one of the premier furniture woods. I am now a big fan of this tree. Keep your eye out for it. It is well established East of the Rockies from Canada to Texas and southern Ga.

The figs are just now turning which is fun. As the blueberries and black cherries finish there will be bowls-full of these sweet and soft morsels. Most varieties of fig grow in Zones 8-10 but some cultivars can grow in Zone 6 which will take you into lower Pennsylvania and through Kentucky and West Virginia. Check em out! Figs are also really easy to propagate. I am going to try and take some hardwood cuttings this Fall and we'll see if I can establish a few more plants. But if you live near someone who has an old large fig you might do some research on propagation and see whether they would be interested in sharing.

1 comment:

Stephen Kruidenier said...

Those look super good.