One Year in the Fruit Garden

Fruit BedsLast year’s fruit garden plan

Last year I was struck with either the greatest – or the stupidest – idea I’ve ever had. To grow some of our own food. Little did I know I gardening is not a hobby. It is an obsession.

It’s been one year since we first laid out our plan for our fruit garden (pictured above).  While we laid out our plans with the very best of intentions, we only managed to plant last year the raspberries, the strawberries and the wild currants. Here’s what I learned:

  • Strawberries – The first year we were supposed to pinch the blooms off to make a hardier plant. This meant each family member only got to eat one homegrown strawberry last year. All the other blooms were pinched.
  • Raspberries – I was pretty sure none of our raspberry plants were going to make it. Again, we each got to eat one raspberry apiece – that was it. They were all red raspberries – none of the yellow produced.
  • Rhubarb – I missed the window. I was supposed to plant the rhubarb in April and by the time the weather and my schedule permitted, it was too late in the season. So, I had to wait until this year.
  • Currants – Despite finding these on Craig’s list, driving about 30 minutes away then digging them up to relocate to our backyard, they did ok. No fruit though.
  • White Pumpkins – I did plant these last year, but I moved them to a different location.

So how is the fruit garden this year?

So far, the fruit garden is happy!

The strawberries have tons of blooms and the fruit is starting to set. If we can beat the birds and the racoons, we will actually get to enjoy our own homegrown strawberries this year.

The raspberries are back and are spreading. I think in the future I am going to need a plan on how to best train (or is that restrain?) them. However, this usually involves roping my husband into a home improvement project he has no desire to do. So, I’m letting them grow wild in the meantime.

Hard to see against the big green bush behind them, my currants have survived being transplanted and look like they are filling out. I really don’t hold out any hope that we will have currants this year. So, we’ll wait.

I planted rhubarb but it is totally ticked off. I don’t know if I missed a watering, if I neglected to add enough compost, or if the weather got too cold. Whatever. It is NOT happy. Here’s the deal with rhubarb – you shouldn’t harvest it until the third year. So if it doesn’t make it, it could be 2015 before I ever get to eat any homegrown rhubarb. Crazy isn’t it? So those of you with a patch that you inherited with the home you bought (wasn’t it a prerequisite in the 70’s to plant rhubarb?) treasure it!

Greatest lesson learned? If you want to eat homegrown fruit, you need patience in spades. (pun so totally intended) While I do expect to being eating raspberries and strawberries, gardening is a crap shoot. So the best advice I have? Don’t wait! If you have ever wanted your own little fruit patch, you need to act now.

Linked to Tuesday Garden Party

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Comments

  1. Wow, your garden is making me hungry! FYI, I had bad luck with my rhubarb too, and recently read that it doesn’t like full sun (which is where I planted it) so I am trying again on the partly shady side of my house this year. Enjoy all your harvests!

  2. Partly shady for rhubarb? I did not know that. Hmmm. Gonna see if I can find a spot and try it. Thanks for the heads-up!

  3. It may depend on where you are. I’m in Southern Delaware – Zone 7 and scorching hot and sunny in mid-day in the summer. I think mine got extra-crispy. 🙂

  4. I love your fruit garden and the pretty turquoise birdbath in the middle! Well done on the strawberries–here’s to a great crop. For a temporary fix, you could get some long –6-8 feet tall– garden stakes and put them in the ground by the raspberry crowns, and then just tie groups of the stems together on the stake to hold them up off the ground. When you are ready, you could put up a more permanent trellis, but it doesn’t have to be super complicated in order to work well. My currant took about 2 0r 3 years before it started producing fruit–I ended up having to move it to a better location, but now it fruits very reliably and it doesn’t take any work on my part at all. And you are so right about patience and it being a crap shoot when it comes to gardening–it tends to change every year depending on the weather, pests, and our schedules, doesn’t it?

  5. Thank you Athena! I’m glad to know your currants took a few years too. If nothing happens by next year, I’ll consider a relocation too. Andrea

  6. You’re spot on regarding patience when growing fruit. Everything seems to take forever (especially when you’re as impatient as I am). We planted fruit trees, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries last year. Fruit trees take from 3 to 5 years, blackberries and strawberries at least 2. I managed to kill all the blueberries. But your garden is looking great!

  7. We have currants which produced for the 1st few years, and now they don’t do anything. In fact, I’m planning on getting rid of them and putting something else in the space.

    We have thornless blackberries and raspberries. I love the thornless! Easy to care for and no thorns. Unfortunately, my dh killed a bunch last year so this year, I’m trying to get the patch back. The regular raspberries don’t have long suckers. I have them planted along a fence. The thornless need a little more support. We use heavy gauge wire strung between a post and a cement wall.

    We used to have a strawberry patch, and then it died off. Now, I have strawberries in my herb bed and under a peach tree.

    I started a rhubarb patch and asparagus patch this year! Here’s hoping they do well, and come back next year.

  8. Barb, First I have to say I love how you have what’s planted in the garden on your homepage. Interesting about the currants. As always with the garden – only time will tell if I actually get any fruit! Hoping your rhubarb does waaaay better than mine! Andrea

  9. Hmm, I hadn’t heard that about rhubarb liking shade before- maybe it is just in her area? All the rhubarb I’ve seen growing here in the PNW – including two of my own – are in full sun and love it. I do know that it takes a couple of years to see the really big growth, but after that, they are pretty carefree.

    I agree that waiting is the hardest part with fruiting plants – I’m trying again with raspberries this year and have had to revamp one of my strawberry beds that just isn’t producing anymore. And I have both red and black currants – and I’ve found that they need regular pruning to produce well (especially the black variety). Live and learn. 🙂

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