Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Urban fruit orchard - what I'm growing

Honeycrisp apples
I've lived in my current house for about 13 years now and, over the years, I have planted numerous fruiting trees and bushes. While I love planting annual vegetables, I still can't get over the "free" fruit that comes back year after year with relatively little effort besides trimming back some branches. Well, some things, like grapes and my almond tree are a little more of a pain than not. But, for the most part, it's pretty easy maintenance.

For those of you in the Pacific Northwest, most of the fruiting plants I've purchased are from Raintree Nursery in Western Washington or Swanson's Nursery in Seattle. Both have a great selection!

Anyway, I wanted to give you a snapshot of all the fruit that I've got growing in my little urban fruit orchard:

THE TREES

3 x 1 Cherry. This tree has Rainier, Montmorency and another sour cherry grafted onto one rootstock. The birds generally pick the sour cherries clean off the high canopy, but I'm able to get the Rainier and more than enough sour cherries than we can eat off the more reachable section down below.

Rainier Cherry. I'm not 100% this one is a Rainier, but it looks and tastes like Rainiers. I planted it after lamenting how many sour cherries the above tree produced, but not enough sweet cherries! I keep it super short, maybe 7 feet tall.

Hollywood plum
Hollywood Plum Lovell. I love this plum tree, it produces some of the sweetest plums I have ever eaten. I also keep this one pretty compact at 8 feet tall.

Mini Dwarf Honeycrisp. This poor thing has been struggling to grow, but it produces a good 10 - 15 full-sized apples on it every year. It's our Charlie Brown tree of apples.

2 Columnar Apples - Golden Sentinel and Scarlet Sentinel. One of the columnar trees has stayed columnar, the other one is a huge sprawling crazy thing. I've let it go au natural because it produces way more apples this way. Both are really good eating apples.

Fuzzy little almonds!
Dwarf Almond - Nikita's Pride. This is a relatively new addition that I planted in 2017 and it's got quite a few fuzzy almonds on it this year. Last year it flowered but I didn't get any almonds. I'm hoping to see some production to write about later. It's a cold hardy dwarf tree that grows like wild, so I need to keep it under control more than I like or it will grow into our power lines.

Arbequina Olive. Oh boy, this poor thing. It's been in a pot for years to keep it from taking over the yard. Every year it produces a ton of tiny little olives, but nothing edible. If I plant it in the ground it will get up to 30 feet tall, so I keep it contained. It's more ornamental than anything.

Mini Dwarf Persimmon - Nikita's Gift. I love persimmons! This tree, like the almond tree, was planted in 2017. I finally have some baby fruit on it this year! I'm sooo excited to see what, if anything, I get off the tree this year.

Nikita's Gift persimmon

THE BUSHES

2 Triple Crown Thornless Blackberries. These grow like crazy and produce more blackberries than I can eat, freeze and can. The blackberries are huge (about thumb size) and are pretty seedy if you pick them too early. I whack them down every year and they still come back, guns-a-blazing, every time.

2 Raspberry Shortcake Raspberries. I love these little guys. They are short, thornless, tend to stay contained and are prolific producers. We eat a ton of these every year and I still end up freezing a lot.

Stevens Cranberry. This doesn't produce anything (yet), but one of these days it might. I'll keep you posted!

Quinault strawberry
Quinault Strawberries. I replanted my weird strawberry patch that's in an old sandbox 2 years ago with these everbearing strawberries. They don't produce a ton, but are enough to keep me happy.

Bluecrop Blueberry. This crappy bugger has taken about 10 years to produce anything of note. I love blueberries so I'm letting him keep his spot. I took out the other blueberry years ago out of sheer frustration from it producing only a few blueberries a year.


THE VINES 

Canadice grapes
Grapes - Canadice, Glenora and Catawba. I've had to reorient the first two of these varietals of vines since I replaced the fence they were growing on a few years ago. Last year they were just getting re-established and then struggled with powdery mildew on them, which seems to negatively impact their fruit production.

They were producing like freaking crazy before I moved them to the other fence, so maybe they'll recover and we'll have more grapes than we know what to do with them (like in previous years).

The Catawba vine I've had for over a decade and it has never produced anything useful. Just sad, sad grapes. I keep it around because it looks nice, but I regret it every year because it grows so darn fast.

Note: all of these pictures were taken end of May 2019.

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