Favorite or New Plant
What could be better than a shrub that bears delicious berries that are one of the most healthful fruits you can eat -- and is a lovely ornamental plant with multi-season interest as well? No wonder highbush blueberries are popular with so many home gardeners! They fruit best if more than one variety is planted for cross-pollination. Ensure good fruit set and enjoy an extended harvest season by planting early, mid-season, and late varieties. 'Duke' bears excellent quality fruits and is one of the earliest to ripen; 'Earliblue' and 'Patriot' are other early ripeners. For mid-season harvest, try 'Bluecrop', 'Blueray', and 'Berkeley'. Late season varieties include 'Jersey' and 'Elliott'. With a little planning you can be sprinkling fresh, homegrown blueberries on your breakfast cereal all summer long!
If you're a home gardener growing or thinking about growing fruit, you might fantasize about having an expert like horticulturist and garden writer Lee Reich out in your garden with you, dispensing advice. In the real world, the next best thing to a personal visit is to read Reich's new book, Grow Fruit Naturally: A Hands-On Guide to Luscious, Homegrown Fruit (The Taunton Press, 2012, $24.95).
Reich certainly knows his subject. A former researcher at the USDA and Cornell University, with a Ph.D. in fruit science, he is also a long-time home gardener at his "farmden" in New York State and an excellent garden writer to boot. So the information he provides on selecting, planting, growing, pruning, and propagating fruits is clear, accurate, appropriate for home gardeners, and engagingly written.
The first section of the book provides extensive information on the basics of fruit growing throughout the country, from planning a fruit garden, planting, growing, and pruning, to controlling pests and diseases using environmentally sound practices. You'll also find advice on growing fruits in containers and how to harvest and store your bounty.
The second part of the book covers thirty-one fruits individually, from favorites like apples, blueberry, pear, citrus, and strawberry to unusual choices like jujube, medlar, quince, and shipova, including advice on variety selection. Lots of clear diagrams and many photos enhance and expand on the information in the text. Whether you are planting an entire orchard or growing only a few fruit plants, Grow Fruit Naturally will be an invaluable resource.