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When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
Robert A. Heinlein

Edible Landscaping

Making your yard work for it's living

Crabapple-in-bloom-inset-fruit.jpg

This tree has borne 2-3 milk crates of apples most years since we've been here. Enough apples to make more crabapple jelly than we can give away.


Edible landscaping is a great idea. It can save you money -- from a few hundred bucks a year feeding fresh fruit to your family, to a thousand or so if you make your own jams, preserves, pie fillings, apple sauce and chutney. If you make cider or wine that number can double again. More to the point, you will know what went into that apple.

Edible landscaping and an intensive garden plot can be the difference between misery and comfort during an economic crunch. (Surely not! This is Alberta!)

It's also a lot of work. Pick. Preserve. Store. Water. Weed. Prune. Most of them are susceptible to something, whether fireblight, or crown rot, or nematodes. But that work is also a way to give your kids traditional values. It comes with a price: YOU have to set the example.

Fruit trees can be messy. For every apple that looks like it came from Safeway, there are several that are suitable only for juicing and cooking. And often even more that are best used to feed the pigs.

Oh, yes: Deer like fruit. So do coyotes. Who knew?

That said: I've gotten a crop of crabapples off my crabapple tree every year but one in the 15 years we've been here. I spend an hour pruning it every 3 years. And I've just planted two apples, two pears, and a plum.

It's rewarding too. There is huge satisfaction in seeing a bunch of preserves on the table after a day canning. There is comfort in knowing exactly what is in that jar. No uncertainties about pesticide residues. Sitting by the fire on a winter's evening with a glass of your farm produced freeze distilled apple brandy has a certain charm.

Autumn Canning Still Life

Raspberry Jam, black current preserves, peaches. (We bought a case in the Okanogan coming back from Vancouver.)


Some days I wish that global warming would hurry up. Would mean there was a larger selection of all sorts of things. Alas. We work with what we can.

We can grow reasonable apples, pears, plums and cherries. I've heard that we can also grow apricots, but they can be fussy, and if you get one crop in three years you are doing well. Peaches, nectarines, and chestnuts are still dreams.

Generally it takes two cultivars of the same group (blooming at the same time) to get decent pollination. So if you get apples, you need two varieties. (Crabapples will pollinate apples and vice versa.) For pears, you need two kinds of pears. Plums are just plain confusing. Best is a wild plum. Second best is to get varieties known to work well. Apricots can be fertilized by Nanking cherries. Go figure.

The cherries are different. The conventional sweet cherries like Bing and Rainier need cross pollination. But all of the cherries that are hardy here are from Asian stocks, and all of them are self fertile.

Raspberries and saskatoons are self fertile. A single blueberry plant will produce lightly, but for a decent crop, you need two varieties.

Want more?

Apples & Pears

Cherries & Plums & Apricots

Raspberries

Blueberries

Saskatoons

Grapes



Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548


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Copyright © 2008 - 2016 S. G. Botsford

Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.