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[THE NATURAL FOOD HUB]
The following notes are intended to show you the range of different fruit and nuts that can be grown in temperate areas, and how they might fit into a strategy of growing some food in either a suburban or peri-urban garden.
Detailed notes and illustrations on pruning, culture, and local pests and diseases affecting the plants you have
sorted out from this list as possibly worth growing can be found in some of the excellent books on fruit and nut
growing in your local or mailorder bookstore or library.
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Temperate areas are areas that are cold in winter, but not so cold that the fruiting plant is killed. Fruit trees adapted to temperate areas often need quite a lot of winter chill before their flower buds will be initiated and break out of winter dormancy. Marginal temperate areas might sometimes experience severe tree killing cold, or the summer may be a little to short to fully ripen fruit. These marginal areas are often inland areas, away from the ameliorating influence of the sea or large lakes. Indicator plants: apples, pears, gooseberries, brambles.
Fruit trees that flower too early in Spring are likely to have their flowers damaged by frost, resulting in no fruit for that year. Time of spring bloom varies with the species of fruit- the earliest to bloom is the almond, followed by Japanese plums and apricots, and then peaches. And it is this early bloom that makes these particular fruits poorly suited or unsuited to the coldest part of temperate areas. Sweet cherries are next to bloom, then pears, European plums, sour cherries, and apples. In the very coldest part of the temperate zone, it may be necessary to rely on cold hardy species that have adpated over aeons to freezing conditions, such as the native plums of the North American prairies. Micro climate, such as being on a sunny slope with good cold air drainage, or against a heat storing and re-radiating wall, can be important in avoiding frost damage to blossoms, or even freeze damage to trees.
Our choice of type of fruit tree, or even variety of apple or plum or whatever, is not infuenced only by our particular local climatic conditions. Soil, and overwhelmingly, soil drainage, is a vital factor. In general, stonefruit are least tolerant of clay soils (especially where there is a high water table), except that plums are much more tolerant than other stonefruit. Apples are more tolerant still of wet soils, and pears are the most tolerant. Paradoxically, clay soils need heavy mulching or irrigating in hot summers. Lack of water is one of the most important factors in reduced fruit yeild. Luckily, the home fruit gardener can overcome problems of both poor drainage and dry, sandy soil, by the same methods-using lots of organic soils amendments such as peat or compost, using raised beds, and selecting dwarf trees. The ultimate work around for poor soils is to grow dwarf trees in large containers.
When we chose which fruit trees to plant, we have to take into account our personal circumstances and preferences. How much space is available for fruit trees? Is it sunny or rather shady? Is my lifestyle too busy to put a lot of time into regular spraying and pruning? Do I take pride in doing the whole cultural programme well? Will this tree grow very big and shade views or damage paved areas or drains? What does it take to keep assorted varmints-opposums, crows, blackbirds, bullfinches, rats, voles rabbits, wandering children, etc away from the fruit (and bark), and realistically, am I likely to do what it takes? Will the tree start fruiting before I am likely to leave this address? What landscape values (form, blossom, fragrance, foliage, fruit color) does the tree have, and how important is that to me and my 'significant other'? Am I looking for particular health benefits in growing some of my own fruit, and if so, which fruits will deliver those benefits? Am I looking for particular connoisseur taste experiences in growing some of my own fruit, and am I willing to give up productivity if the best variety is poorly productive? 'Growing all my own fruit' is a dream, but an impractical dream even on the basis of there not being enough daylight hours in a week to accomplish such a task, so what are the best strategies-very early and very late varieties when market prices are high? Grow only the species such as Mayhaw or Medlar that never appear in the market? Grow a lot of one fruit very well and can/bottle it? A mixed strategy?
The answers to many of
questions is found in dwarf fruiting trees and in varieties that cannot
(for a variety of reasons) be grown commercially. It's a delicious
and a very personal one, because everyones situation and motivation is
These notes are intended to help you decide how much of your food you would like to grow, now, or in the future.
United States Plant Hardiness Zones JJJJ This Agriculture Research Service map not only tells you which hardiness zone you are in, you can zoom in on any part of the map, or go to your individual stae. State or zoom in maps also give you typical cold hardy plants, and align the cold hardiness information to a typical city.
ACTINIDIA- see 'Hardy Kiwifruit' .
ALMOND-see 'NUT, ALMOND'
sylvestris.The undisputed King of all fruit for the Urban food
and one of the hardiest temperate zone fruits. Apples are reliable and
heavy croppers (usually), and are a fruit that everyone likes. Most
they start bearing very quickly.The range of flavors is the most
and complex of any fruit, encompassing perfumed, anise, honeyed, spicy,
and with a wide range and combination of sugar levels and acids.
trees should be on a semi-dwarfing rootstock such as MM106. Small free
standing bushes can be created by buying a tree grafted to an ultra
rootstocks such as MM9. These mini trees do needing staking. Dwarf
either espaliered against a wall or fence, or as small bushes, are the
only game in town for the small garden of urban man. The two major
are codling moth and bird damage. Moth can be confused by placing
lures around, and birds can be netted out of the tree, or a variety of
cunning and reasonably priced commercial bird scare devices can be
Some apples are subject to some quite damaging fungus diseases unless
are sprayed; however, there are disease resistant varieties, and most
will get by with indifferent attention to copper sprays. Most of us
house so frequently that by the time a tree perhaps bady affected, we
have moved anyway. Conversely, remove badly diseased trees you may find
in a property you move to and start with healthy new stock-but don't
them in the same place as the old trees were removed from.
The kind of apple or apples should be decided by the purpose you have in mind-cooking or fresh eating-and what you like. Some like complex apples with high acid and high sugars, such as 'Cox's Orange', others like perfumed sweet apples with low acid, such as 'Gala'. In the flush of the season, apples are relatively cheap, so a good strategy is to grow an apple that is simply not available, and that has superb eating qualities. Paradoxically, even common commercial varieties can reveal extra sweetness and depth of flavour when they are allowed to hang on the tree longer than would be commercially feasible, and when their soil is amended with lots of organic material and flavor promoting materials such as seaweed and fish manure leaf sprays.
Virtually any soil will grow apples, but light or sandy soils need to be mulched and watered in summer, especially if the weak-rooted MM9 rootstock is being used. The trees need to be kept healthy with good nutrition, adequate sunshine, mulching to suppress weed competion, and summer watering.-an apple tree is said to need at least 20 healthy leaves to mature one fruit. It is advisable to keep pruning to a minimum, but any pruning that needs doing should be done in summer, even if you have to sacrifice a few fruit. Prune the newly grown summer laterals back to 3 or 4 leaves, cut vigorous shoots right back, and when necesary, shorten main branches to a downward pointing bud or spur. Take out the occasional larger branch when necessary to keep the tree open and uncrowded, and prune back some excessively long spurs. Some apples are 'tip bearers', and for these kinds, pruning all the laterals means few fruit next year! Prune them in winter. Only the strongest laterals should be pruned- to about 6 buds. The leaders should also be cut back by about a third. All in all, 'tip bearers' are not as well suited to the small garden. Spray with copper when half the leaves have fallen and in spring at bud burst. Winter pruned trees are much more likely to get a fairly serious disease called 'silverleaf' unless each cut is treated with a top quality wound sealing paste, or unless the tree had been vaccinated against the disease early in it's life.
Some apples get into a pattern of bearing heavily every second year, with little or nothing in the in-between years. This 'biennial bearing is difficult to correct. Sometimes hand thinning the fruit when it is newly set will restore a more regular annual pattern. Thinning gives better sized apples anyway. There is often a natural drop of small fruitlets, and once this has passed, it is a good idea to thin the apples to about 4inches/100mm apart.
-40øC is about the coldest temperature that even the hardiest apple varieties will endure without some damage; therefore in the coldest parts of temperate areas it is important to select special cold hardy cultivars. In the coldest ares, apples will need every advantage-shelter against wind chill, avoiding frost pockets and low lying areas, and planting close to buildings to capatilise on radiant heat.
Disease resistant varieties-Belmac, Prima, Primevere, Priscella, Redfree, Jonafree, Liberty.
Alphabetical list and brief description of over 100 apple cultivars page.
General apple culture.
armeniaca- Home grown apricots can be so sweet and flavorsome they
find every unfilled cavity in your teeth! The main challenges are to
birds away from them, and to avoid freeze damage to the blossoms. They
require less winter chilling than most peaches, but because they flower
very early in Spring, the blossoms are often damaged by frost. To make
it worse, their buds swell and lose their winter hardiness in late
making them also liable to be damaged by late winter freezes. This
apricots suitable only for the warmest microclimates and/or growing
a wall and protected from frost.
Cold hardy Apricots: Prunus armeniaca siberica Pararie Gold, Sunrise, Broocot, Westco.
Apricot cultivars in USA JJJJ Brief notes on the fruit and tree characteristics (especially chill requirements) of 11 cultivars of apricot for USA, from Sierra Gold Nurseries, California, website. These are primarily Californian notes, but useful to identify late blooming types which are better able to escape frost damage.
HYBRIDS These very exciting hybrids between the two species are
the work of Zaiger genetics in USA. Pluot® is a trademark name for
varieties derived from complex interspecific hybrids between plum and
Generally, a 'pluot®' is a cross between a plumcot (P. armeniaca
x P. domestica) and a plum (P.
it usually has 75% plum genes and 25% apricot genes. Reflecting this,
have smooth skin like a plum. As already mentioned, plumcots are a
plum/apricot hybrid. An aprium® is also a trademark name for
varieties derived from crosses between plumcots (P. armeniaca
x P.domestica) and apricots (P. armeniaca).Because this
in 75% apricot genes and only 25% plum genes, the fruits are scantly
in a very fine fuzz as are apricots.
One of the features of these hybrids is that they are very sweet, and have complex and excellent flavor.
Plants grafted on 'citation' rootstock are semi dwarfed. The only real drawback has been sorting out pollenizers for these very new fruits. 'Dapple Dandy' has been suggested as a pollenizer for some of them, and the ubiquitous 'Santa Rosa' for Dapple Dandy itself.
Dapple Dandy (Plumcot)-pale greenish yellow skin with distinctive red dots. The firm flesh is creamy white streaked with crimson, and is sweet and highly flavored. It is a very useful pollenizer for other apricot-plum hybrids.(US)
Flavorella (Plumcot) Early season.Flavorella is a medium sized, translucent golden yellow skinned fruit, with a slight red blush and very slight fuzz.It is firm, juicy, and with a very good flavor. The tree is spreading and a pollenizer is required.(US)
Flavor Delight (Aprium®)
Flavor King (Pluot®)-Late season.F.K. has large attractive fruit, with yellowy red sweet, perfumed flesh. The moderately spreading tree is mid to late season blooming, an advantage in areas prone to late spring frosts. A pollenizer is required.(US, NZ)
Flavor Queen (Pluot®)-Mid late season. F.Q. is medium to large sized, has yellow skin and sweet, juicy, yellow flesh of excellent flavor.The fruit hold well on the tree, a useful advantage for extending the season. F.Q. blooms early, so needs a pollenizer that also blooms early.(US)
Flavorich (Pluot®) Late season.The black fruit are large, with orange, sweet flesh of excellent flavor.The moderately spreading tree is mid to late season blooming, an advantage in areas prone to late spring frosts. A pollenizer is required.
Flavor Supreme (Pluot®)-red fleshed, early, and with better flavor than early red fleshed plums.(US)
Flor Ziran 'Black Apricot'-(Plumcot)-dark purple skin, tender, juicy, fine grained orange flesh somewhat suffused with red. The tree is vigorous.(US)
Plum Parfait (Plumcot)-Early season. The medium sized fruit are dark yellow heavily blushed with red, the flesh is dark yellow, streaked red at the freestone pit, and with very good flavor.The tree is naturally relatively small (3M/10 feet) and spreading. It has the twin advantages of being self fertile and low chill.(US)
PEAR Pyrus serotina 'Nashi', 'Misunashi', 'Apple Pear',
Pear', 'Water Pear'- These are fruit that look more or less like
but have somewhat pearlike flesh, are extremely juicy, with little
and moderate to high (depending on the variety) sweetness. Some
have rather coarse and gritty flesh, hence the name 'Sand Pear'. These
cultivars are now not much grown, for obvious reasons. They can be
anywhere apples succeed and where there are no late spring frosts to
the blossom. Like the European pear, they are suceptible to fireblight.
Commercial Asian pears can be pretty tasteless. They flower a little
than stone fruit, and just before most European pears, altho' European
pears whose flowering period overlaps will pollinate Asian pears.
Shinseiki is usually recommended as the pollenizer for most cultivars. Early seaon fruit ripen in early to mid summer, mid season are mid summer to late summer, and late season ripen late summer to early autumn. (US, NZ)
Shinsui is early season, small to medium sized, russet brown, juicy, very sweet and moderately gritty. Its best pollenizer is 'Nijisseiki', then 'Shinseiki' or 'Hosui'. The tree is extremely vigorous.(US, NZ)
Kosui is early, with greenish gold skin, medium sized, crisp, very sweet, very juicy and tender fleshed. Kosui seems to maintain it's sweetness over a wide range of growing conditions. Kosui can be cross pollenized by, and will pollenize, 'Nijiseiki' and 'Hosui', but it is poorly compatible with 'Shinsui' and vice versa.'Shinseiki' is also an effective pollenizer. It usually sets very heavy crops. Kosui has rather brittle branches, so it should not be planted in a very windy position. Kosui is relatively suceptible to disease, and in humid areas it is inclined to have some degree of branch die back. (US, NZ)
Hosui is rather a medium to large golden brown mid season variety with prominent lenticels on the skin. It is highly flavored, sweet and juicy, except in areas with cool summers, when it tends to be acidic and with low sugars. The tree is vigorous, medium to large sized with willowy, drooping branches. It flowers heavily. It has limited self fertility, but sets well with 'Nijisseikeiki', 'Shinseiki', and 'Shinsui'. (US, NZ)
Shinseiki ('New Century') is mature mid season, and is a medium sized yellow-green medium to large smooth skinned fruit.It is firm fleshed, crisp and juicy, but fairly mediocre flavored. The tree is upright and moderately vigorous. Pollenizer are 'Shinsui' and 'Kosui'. Shinseiki is a good pollenizer for other cultivars. (US, NZ)
Nijisseiki ('Twentieth Century) is a late season variety. It is medium sized, yellow-green skinned, thin skinned, just sweet but rather flavorless unless left on the tree for as long as possible. 'Kosui', 'Hosui', and 'Shinseiki' and 'Shinsui' will pollenize it. It is one of the most productive varieties of Asian pear. (US, NZ)
Photoat Sierra Gold Nurseries site
Information on cultivars in USA JJJJ and their chilling requirements, in particular, can be found at the Sierra Gold Nurseries page
Fact sheet on Asian Pears in USA - JJJJ a very good overview of cultivars, disease resistance, varietal choice, zone hardiness, and general care.
ASIMINA Asimina triloba 'Papaw', 'Pawpaw', 'Asimoyer'. This relatively small (to about 6metres /20 feet) decidous North American tree is the solitary temperate climate member of a family of tropical and subtropical fruiting trees, the best known of which is the 'cherimoya' or 'custard apple'. The British, Australians, and New Zealanders call the tropical papaya fruit 'pawpaw'. The papaya is no relation whatever of Asimina. To avoid this cultural misunderstanding it is best to simply call this fruit 'Asimina'. The fruit are 75mm-125mm/3-5 inches long, green skinned, and carried in clusters of two to three vaguely stumpy banana shaped fruit. The smooth pulp is browny yellow to almost orange, depending on the variety, with a double row of smooth dark brown roughly lima bean sized seeds.The flavor is variable, according to the seed source, but in the best types it is tropical, intense, and sweet. The friuit are an excellent source of vitamin A and C, and it's mineral content is as good or better than many common fruits such as apple, peach or grape. The fruit ripen in autumn, and is highly productive if the right pollinating insects are present This is definitely a tree to consider, but it does come with some difficulties. The fruit is highly desirable, it is unlikely to be commercially available because of it's short shelf life once ripe, the leaves are long, drooping, and elliptical, giving an almost tropical look, the tree is hardy once established (trees have survived 3 days at minus 28 degrees F unharmed), it does well in shade and tolerates sun; but it tends to send out numerous suckers, which while not vigorous-the tree is slow growing-are annoying. The tree must have some shade for the first 3 or four years of its life. Unless you have one of the few self fertile cultivars, you will need to plant two for cross pollination. In some areas, and in some countries, such as New Zealand, there seems to be an abscence of the correct pollinating insect-the trees flower well, but set few or no fruit.Planting grafted plants, or suckers from known varieties is a good idea, as the quality of the fruit is guarenteed. There are many different cultivars include 'Davis'-excellent flavor, large fruit, productive; 'Sunflower'-good flavor and size, partly self fertile; 'Well's Delight'-very large, excellent flavor.
Asimina - Pawpaw - JJJJ an excert from Purdue Universities' New Crop Proceedings (USA). The information is slanted to commercial potential, but it is rich in nformation on the botany, distribution, nutrtional content, propogation, varieties, and growing conditions for this fruit.
compounds in Pawpaw JJ also
from Purdue, the original research showing activity of a chemical in
(asimina triloba) against cancer cells. Note these were in laboratory
tubes only, not in living organisms, and the cancer killing effect also
damaged mormal body cells, altho' to lesser degree.
AURORABERRY- Looks like a blackberry, it has large, firm black shiny fruit. Flavour is very good, 'perfumy', clean taste, with none of the sulfur and bitter notes that boysenberries, for example have. It is blander than an olallieberry, and can be acidic if it isn't fully ripe. This is a fairly early bramble, as it ripens in early summer. It is a weaker plant than other brambles, which is an advantage in all areas except wet and humid areas where brambles are subject to disease. All brambles need to be tied up on wires, free standing, against a fence or a wall. This doesn't suit every situation, especially as they really need good sun to ripen the fruit and minimise disease. Not unaturally, thorned brambles such as this can be a nuisance in small spaces. Otherwise recommended.
BramblesJJJ - variety notes on boysenberry, youngberry, and other hybrid berries available to the home gardener. It includes new hybrids that the home gardener is unlikey to see. Commercially oriented, and rather brief, but some good pictures of the fruit
BANANA There is a species, Musa basjoo, the Japanese Fibre Banana, being touted as " the world's cold hardiest banana. It is hardy planted in ground to -3 degrees F. and with protective mulching, down to -20 degrees F". It is from Southern Japan, and is usually grown or the fibre in the leaves, rather than the fruit. The fruit are small and seedy, but edible.
Musa basjoo culture An excellent page from a Canadian grower/nurseryman, complete with very good photos of the banana being grown - with protection - outside in British Columbia.
ursinus-The thorny wild blackberry has the most exquisite sweetness
and floral flavor. It is invasive, spreading, trailing, painfully
and unattractive. The cultivated blackberry usually has stout, usually
semi erect, easily managed canes that can be trained to a fence or
very attractive large flowers, is non-invasive, and nearly all are
or entirely thornless; but the fruit, while much larger than it's wild
progenitor, very often lack sweetness and flavor. Black berries start
bearing virtually the year after they are planted. Like most brambles,
they are bird magnets, and realistically, have to be netted.One of the
advantages of the blackberry is that tolerates partial shade. They are
reasonable easy to grow, tolerating most soils, altho sandy soils will
have to be heavily mulched to keep it moist. In wet and humid areas it
can be subject to fungal diseases. Erect growing varieties have the
disease resistance. pruning is easy, immediately after harvest simply
the canes that have just fruited and cut out any new canes that seem
Keep only about 8 new canes a plant. They can then be tied in tiers
your wires or tied against a wall in a fan shape. In the summer the new
canes do need to have their ends cut off at about 2.4M/8 feet, to
flowering laterals for the following spring. These laterals can have
length pruned off (down to about 30cm/12inches) in winter to make them
easier to net, if you want. With many brambles-especially vigorous
types like boysenberry-it is a good idea to pick up the new canes as
grow over spring and early summer and temporararily tie them to a wire
to keep them off the ground and stop tip rooting. With erect and stout
caned blackberries this is not really necessary. Blackberries need
fertilser beyond some nitrogen.
Waldo-is very early, crops reasonably, has very good flavor, and is not too vigorous, but is thorny.(UK)
Ashton cross-is mid season, heavy cropping, very good flavor, but thorny.
Loch Ness-early to mid season, heavy cropping, desirable semi-erect habit thornless traits, flavor good (for a thornless).(UK)
Thornfree-late fruiting, very productive, poor tasting fruit, subject to fungal disease in wet and humid areas. (US, NZ)
Other erect blackberries include Darrow, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Shawnee (US)
Chester Thornless-one of the hardiest blackberries.
BramblesJJJ - variety notes on boysenberry, youngberry, and other hybrid berries available to the home gardener. It includes new hybrids that the home gardener is unlikey to see. Commercially oriented, and rather brief, but some good pictures of the fruit
culture in Canada, Ontario. JJJ
for commercial growers from MAFRA, Ontario, but the basic cultural
information is the same for us homegardeners. Includes an equal amont
the somewhat similar black raspberry.No real variety notes, primarily
and brambles in USA, Oregon. JJJ
page briefly discussing aboout 12 blackberries and hybrids, plus a
discussion on the pros and cons of several pruning systems, including
year bearing'. For commercial growers, but good home garden facts are
ashei, V. australe, V.corymbosum-Fresh blueberries of the most
varieties are a delightful experience; run of the mill varieties are
worth bothering with. But-birds love blueberries-they must be netted,
you will get very little. In addition, they are rigorously demanding in
soil type-either it is a naturally highly acidic soil, or the soil will
have to be extensively amended with peat, acidifying agents such as
and/or acidifying plant material such as pine needles added as a mulch.
Alternatively, container mixes for acid loving plants can be used.
have a fibrous root system, and will not tolerate the soil drying out.
Conversely, the soil needs to be reasonably well drained. Heavy
of peat to either sandy soil or to heavy soil will help fix drying out
in the one case, and poor aeration and drainage in the other.
There are two main types of blueberry-'highbush', V.australe and V.corymbosum; and 'rabbiteye', V.ashei.
The highbush types grow to about 1.8M/6 feet, and are entirely self fertile. The fruit mature from early to mid summer.
Rabbiteye types are taller plants, are more tolerant of heavier and less acid soils, need less winter chill to flower well, and tolerate heat and drought better than the highbush types. Their fruit follows on the highbush types, maturing from around mid through to late summer. These are the types adapted to the warm temperate areas. On the minus side, they are self infertile, so two varieties are needed for cross pollination, the berries are a little smaller, and the flesh texture perhaps a little grainy.
Providing it's somewhat exacting requirements are met, you can expect light crops from your bush in the first few years, building to around 2.25kg/5lbs by the fifth year, and 4 or 5 kgs/approx.10lb when the bush is mature. Pruning is not needed for the first 3 or 4 years, and is simple, a matter of removing about a quarter of the very oldest stems every year. Blueberries have variable autumn colors, depending on the cultivar. Some are yellow, some orange, and some red.Those with the strongest autumn colors have strong landscape value. Blueberries flower early in spring (don't plant them in a frost pocket or you won't get fruit), and the pendant white tubular flowers are very pretty.
Highbush Blueberry Varieties-
Earliblue-Early season. Large berries and good autumn color, rather low yeilds.(US, UK, NZ)
Bluecrop-Early season. Large berries, highly productive, orange and red autumn colors.(US, UK, NZ)
Nui-Early season. Large berries, moderately productive, very large fruit, good flavor, sometimes has a bonus light autumn crop.(NZ)
Stanley-Early to mid season. Medium sized berry, moderate yeilds, excellent flavor.(US, UK, NZ)
Berkley-Mid season. open and spreading bush. Very productive of very large berries. Relatively high chill requirement.(US, UK, NZ)
Herbert-Late season. Smaller bush, heavy cropper, very large fruit, one of the best tasting blueberries, unremarkable autumn colors.(US, UK, NZ)
Colville-late season. Large fruit on a productive, vigorous bush. Holds it's fruit well without dropping them near maturity.(US, UK, NZ)
Rabbiteye Blueberry Varietie-
Climax- produces heavy yeilds of good sized fruit.(US, NZ)
Delite-Mid season. Very vigorous (more than 2M/6ft 6inches), high yeilding and very good flavor.(US, NZ)
Walker-Mid season. In good years it is a particulalry sweet blueberry.(US, NZ)
Woodard-Mid to late season. The bushes are medium sized and rather spreading . Woodard is large (for a rabbiteye, anyway), light blue, and has good flavor. (US, NZ)
- the Highbush blueberry JJJ
good one page overview based on an Oregon State University Extension
- soil and climate requirements, description of the plant, what yield
expect, general care.
Blueberry varieties in New Zealand JJJJThis page at the NZ BerryFed site describes 7 or so mainly NZ bred varieties of blueberries available to commercial growers in New Zealand. There is also good basic cultural information, and photos of some of the fruits. Only a very limited range of berry fruit varieties are available to home gardeners in New Zealand, so many of those mentioned may be unobtainable.
Blueberry growing in Canada JJJJ Written by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs for home gardeners, this page covers all the relevant details of home garden blueberry growing chiefly for highbush and cold climate conditions, but with much useful general cultural information. Soils, fertilizer, varieties, water, pests etc.
Blueberry nutritional requirements JJJ Written by The Hort and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd, this useful page covers the nutrient requirtements, what sort of fertilisers are useful, nutrient disorders, and how to correct them. Commercially oriented, but still good for the home garden.
pruning JJJJ The
behind pruning blueberries and the practices for new and older bushes
explained in this Oregon State University Extension web page.
BLACK CURRANT- see 'Currants'
boysenberry is a raspberry-blackberry hybrid with 'Himalayan Giant'
being one parent. The
boysenberry is acid, but sweetens if left to darken and become plump
turgid, at which point they fall off the vine at a gentle pull.
boysenvberries still have a very slight bitter and sulfurous note
even when fully ripe. They start fruiting in very early summer
have a short picking season. The thornless variety is the best one to
it should properly be described as 'semi-thornless'. One of the virtues
of the boysenberry is that it is drought tolerant, relative to other
fruit, and thrives on lighter free draining soils, where others fail.
boysenberry tolerates a wide range of soils. Boysenberries are not
found in the marketplace as they are very soft when ripe, so if you
to eat fresh fruit you will have to grow them yourself. Boysenberries
a wire or fence to grow on, they need to be sprayed against fungus
unless you have a fairly dry climate, and they must be netted against
if you are to harvest fully vine ripened fruit. Pruning is as for
require winter protection below 0 degrees F.
BramblesJJJ - variety notes on boysenberry, youngberry, and other hybrid berries available to the home gardener. It includes new hybrids that the home gardener is unlikey to see. Commercially oriented, and rather brief, but some good pictures of the fruit
avium-. Sweet cherries are more cold hardy than peaches, but not as
hardy as pears and plums. The varieties 'Windsor', 'Governor Wood', and
'Lyon' are considered to be among the most cold hardy of the sweet
cultivars. They need about 1000 hours of winter chilling .'Bing',
'Lambert', and 'Napoleon' have the longest chilling requirement.
need good drainage, and that will do badly on poorly drained clay
Bird theft is problematical, but cherries are easy care and can be very
productive of premium taste treats. Large trees. Usually need two to
In some areas, they are suceptible to brown rot, which badly damages
fruit. In humid, maritime areas, cracking after rain can be a big
most particularly in the firmer varieties such as 'Bing', rather than
softer types such as 'Van' or 'Stark Gold'. Because cherries mature
in the fruit season, they can also be damaged by hail. Birds are a real
problem, and until a reliable dwarfing rootstock is found, (dwarfing
for cherries are really semi-dwarfing, the trees going to 4.5M/15 feet
plus) the best the home gardener can do is to grow cherries trained as
a fan against a wall, and then net them. This requires a high degree of
skill, effort, and dedication. So most of us will either chose another
fruit, or enjoy the blossoms without high expectations of beating the
to the fruit. 'Ulster', a late fruiting split resistant red cherry is a
relatively small cultivar and may be wwell suited to training, but it
needs another variety as pollenizer. Tangshe -self fertile, fruits very
well, fruit are pleasant but not as good as most other cultivars. With
the exception of 'Stella' and 'Compact Stella', all sweet cherries need
a pollenizer to bear well. Generally, dark colored varieties will
dark varieties, and light colored varieties pollenize light varieties.
Sour (pie) cherries bloom later than sweet cherries and bear heavily
a pollenizer, as well as being more cold hardy. Unhealthy trees can
winter kill of the buds. These may be the only cherries that can
grown in areas with late spring frosts.
Cold hardy cherries-there are some cherry species adapted to continental cold. Their fruit is usually only suitable for making jellies/jams or pies.
Nanking Cherry Prunus tomentosa-small, red, low acid cherries that are edible as a fresh fruit as well as for conserves. A large shrub. There is a selected strain of this species which has best cold tolerance-'Northern Limit'.
Mogolian Cherry Prunus fruiticosa-small, sour cherries on a suckering shrub.
Sandcherry: Prunus besseyi -small black sour fruit. There are selected strains with superior fruit sometimes offered.
Pincherry - Prunus pennsylvanica-Cv.'Jumping Pound'. Sour.
Chokecherry Prunus virginiana Grown as an ornamental or for conserves. Sour.
Cherry cultivars in USA JJJJ Brief notes on the fruit and tree characteristics of 15 cultivars of cherry for USA, from Sierra Gold Nurseries, California, website. Includes a photo of the 'Bing' cultivar.
CHESTNUT- see 'Nut, Chestnut'
CHILEAN CRANBERRY- Myrtus ugni- highly recommended - knee high little shrub that bears heaps of sweet, resinous, aromatic fruit, about blueberry size or less. Nothing quite like it, a late summer treat. Frost hardy, easy to grow, productive. It is never found in the markets and is probably chock full of health promoting substances.
CHOKECHERRY-Aronia sp. A native of northeast USA, this small deciduous shrub is grown commercially in Northern Europe for the health giving (supposedly) properties of the mild and pleasant, somewhat blueberry like berries. The foliage is very ornamental in autumn. Unusual and hard to find, if you are a health freak, this is an easy grow plant. Requires two for cross pollination and berry set.
Berries and autumn foliage JJJ are beautifully illustrated at this page on the Cornell University site. http://www.fvs.cornell.edu/Faculty/php/MarvinPritts/Ornamentals/page8.htm
CRANBERRY- Vaccinium macrocarpon These small wiry stemmed bog plants live in an acid peaty soil and produce oval approximately grape sized sour red fruit. The soil should be prepared as for blueberries but even more acidic organic and wetter. This can be arranged by digging a hole and lining it with plastic to create an artificial bog. Fill the lined hole with peat or a mixture of peat and lime free soil, and plant your cranberry in that. Mulch heavily with peat. You should obtain a yield from a well grown bed of about 0.5kg per square metre/1 Ib per square yard. Cranberries don't need pruning, but their rambling wiry stems may need cutting back every now and then. Cranberries keep very well in the refrigerator- up to two months-so the fruit can be progressively stored as they ripen over summer. Cranberries form a low mat, and so can be incorporated in borders or raised gardens, and to that extent are well suited to small space gardening. Their delicate little pink spring flowers are charming, and the fruit attractive, they require no pollenizer, seem to fruit satisfactorily in warm temperate areas (although their may be cultivar differences), and seem to be unaffected by pests and diseases. The only question that remains is why grow the acid little devils, hen you can buy canned cranberries and cranberry juice quite cheaply?
sheet JJJJJ An
simple, clear, fact sheet aimed at growing cranberries in a home garden
situation. It covers cultivars, soil, making a bed, flowering,
fertilising and more, and has five nice photos illustrating the
of your own cranberry bed. Written for USA conditions, but applicable
all temperate areas.
history JJ An
history of cranberry cultivation since European colonisation of
A good basic paragraph on cranberry culture included.
photos JJ Some nice
of the fruit (and the lingon berry) are at this page at the Cornell
siet (slow load).
Easy to grow, packed full of vitamins, don't take up much space- as
as pollination is good and you throw a net over to keep the birds off,
you'll get heaps.
Black currant (Ribes nigrum)-There is quite a lot going for the black currant. It is a 'natural tonic in a berry' due to it's high vitamin content, it is more tolerant of wet soil than most other berry fruit, they are more adaptable to soil acidity, the bushes are small, they bear heavily in suitable climates (4.5kg /IOlb is normal for a healthy well grown bush), they come into bearing within two years of planting, they are not as attractive to birds as other berry fruit such as raspberries, and they are easy to prune (cut off a third of the shoots every winter at about 50mm/2 inches from the soil level-the oldest shoots). On the down side, they are early bloomers, and therefore subject to damage in frost pockets, they are not particularly attractive looking plants, the fruit are only sweet enough to eat as a fresh fruit if they are planted in ther full sun. They can be affected by a serious disease called 'reversion disease', but this is just bad luck.
BlackcurrantJJJJ This page at the NZ BerryFed site describes 6 or so varieties of black currants available to commercial growers in New Zealand. Only a very limited range of berry fruit varieties are available to home gardeners in New Zealand, so many of those mentioned may be unobtainable
White currant (R.sylvestre)-uncommon, similar to the black, but not! (black, that is). The comments under 'Red Currants' applies equally to white currants.
Red currant (R.rubrum)- Red currants produce a lot of fruit (4.5kg /IOlb is normal for a healthy well grown bush), and unlike blackcurrants, can be pruned into particular shapes, such as cordons (yeilding around 0.5-1kg/1-2lb) or fans. Red currants are not subject to reversion disease. Red currants are easy to prune-in winter cut laterals back to one bud to encourage fruiting spurs, and cut out branches that have been fruiting for three years or so to allow a continuing growth of younger branches. The long 'strigs' of bright red shiny little fruit is attractive in itself, and fan or cordoned bushes have architectural landscape value.
White currant (R.sylvestre)-uncommon, similar to the black, but not! The cultivar 'Blanca' is noted for especially good levels of sugar in the fruit.
of black, red, and white currant fruit JJ
- the citation refers to a page on the Cornell University site
canadensis- These stemmy bushes produce heaps of small black
with a slightly soapy taste, whose main use seems to be to feed the
The big panicles of creamy ethereal flowers are very attractive in
The shrub/bushes have a habit of sending up suckers further out from
base of the plant, especially if the roots are cut at any time.
ElderberriesJJJJ The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs has a very good fact sheet on all aspects of growing elderberries in the home garden, including a photo of the fruit. The pest and disease aspect is particularly strongly covered (North American pests and diseases). While written for a temperate climate, the basic facts are equally applicable to warm temeprate areas.
brief but useful home garden notes from Michigan State University
fruit and flowers JJ are
featured in two first rate photos on this page at the Cornell
uva-crispa. Gooseberies are usually an acid fruit (although when
bush ripened some are very mild and good eating out of hand), and
used for pies (originally they were used in sauces served with
acidity was a counterpoint to the fattiness of the goose). The berries
can be green, greenish yellow, yellow, pink, or red, smooth or with
hairs. You are dealing with a very thorny plant (There are a few
varieties with greatly reduced thorniness). Grown as a bush (preferably
on a single stem), the plant it about 5feet/1.5m high and wide.
will grow well on most soils, provided they are not too wet, and there
is plenty of organic matter incorporated in the soil. Gooseberries need
a lot of potassium, so the fertiliser you use should be high in
or give additional potassium in winter (about 1oz/square yard;
metre) Fruit laden branches can break if grown in a windy
so they either need a bit of shelter, or grow them as cordons.
Single cordons can be grown 12 inches/30cm apart. The birds will eat
gooseberries unless you drape a net over the plants as they ripen. In
areas, bushes yeild about 8lb/3.5kg and will keep fruiting
for 20 years or more; a single cordon yeilds about I-21b/0.5- 1 kg . In
late summer prune all the laterals back to about 5 leaves, but don't
the leaders. In winter cut the main leaders in half at an inward
bud or lateral (this helps overcome the gooseberries tendency to droop)
A particularly devastating fungus called 'American mildew' haas meant
only mildew resistant varieties can be really successfully grown.
Invicta -A small plum sized green gooseberry that is mildew resistant.
Pax-A sweet, virtually thornless mildew resistant gooseberry.
of various goosebery fruit JJ
citation refers to a page on the Cornell University site
American wild grape species JJJ Information on wild USA grapes, mainly from the botanical and winemaking point of view. Interesting.
in temperate areas - JJJJ an
excellent page on pruning grapes in areas subject to spring freeze,
by the Michigan State University Department of Horticulture. Covers the
'Geneva curtain' and 'Hudson River umbrella' modified cordon pruning
grapes in Michigan State JJJJJ
these are the 8 commonest diseases of Michigan State, powdery and downy
mildew are present in all grape growing countries. This very good fact
sheet describes the symptoms, goes thru' the life cycle, and outlines
methods of control. Not only are there links to good photos of the
symptoms, there is also a table of the disease resistance of some
including 4 common table varieties. From Michigan State University
HARDY KIWIFRUIT Actinidia arguta, A.kolomikta, A.melanadra, A.purpurea, A.eriantha and others. 'Tara berries', 'Baby kiwifruit'. There have been many different 'wild', unimproved but still edible, species of kiwifruit introduced to the West from China and Russia over the last fifteen years or so, altho' suprisingly, very few are available. They vary in edibility from 'famine-only food' to very nice, with most species being very nice-sweet, sometimes fragrant, usually soft green fleshed, and pleasant. A.eriantha has astounding levels of vitamin C, but unfortunately is unpalatable, being peppery tasting. However, most species have very good levels of vitamin C. Some species are very cold hardy and thus recommended for temperate areas, but paradoxically, some (especially A.arguta) have exceptionally good bud break in spring-better, in fact, than their much larger warm temperate cousin the 'kiwi', and so are successful in both climatic area. The vines are remarkably free of disease, and the green fruit seem to be ignored by birds-presumably on the basis that they look unripe. Their fruit is generally from cherry to about large grape size, depending on species, variety, and how well pollinated the flower was. The fruit are completely smooth, and the skin is edible, unlike the commercial 'kiwi'. The fruit of A.arguta is sometimes marketed, but is still not readily available. These vines need reasonable drainage and wires to grow along or a pergola to grow over. They do need to be pruned every year, and A.arguta, in particular, becomes a dense mass if it isn't dealt to. Pruning is easy, pruning back to two buds at the base of the current seasons growth when the plant is dormant. A few cultivars are self fertile, but others must have a male plant for cross pollination (the sexes are on different plants). The fruit of self fertile varieties are larger in the prescence of a pollenizer.
'Arctic Beauty Kiwi'..
kolomikta is the hardiest of this group, with some claims that it
withstand -30F when mature.Does best in light shade, which makes it a
valuable plant. After about 4 years, the leaves of some plants may
a natural purple and cream leaf variagation, which is quite attractive.
The A.kolomikta cultivar 'Ananasaya' ('pineapple') comes
bearing early and bears very well.It is overwhelmingly the major
Actinidia kolomikta foliage (picture) JJJJ showing the ornamental purple/pink variagation in mature plants. From Oregon State University USA Landscape site
Actinidia arguta-'Bowerberry', and is sometimes called the 'Tara berry', 'baby kiwi' and 'grape kiwi', and this first name may well end up as the generic name for all the small fruited hardy kiwifruit species. The fruit are one of the largest of the Tara berries. The vines are vigorous, and prefer full sun, altho' they will tolerate some shade, and is very widely adapted altho' it is not regarded as being as freeze tolerant as A.kolomikta. Allow about 3-5M/10-16 feet for the vines to run on. The vine can be tipped and summer pruned to keep it in bound. 'Noel' is said to be particulaly large and productive (NZ), 'Geneva'(CAN) is early maturing.
flowers and vine of Actinidia arguta JJ
photographed at this page on the Cornell University Site.
Actinidia arguta x actinidia species- 'Red Princess' (CAN) is a delicate looking, highly ornamental vine which bears green fruit with a reddish blush and reddish tinge to the flesh. The fruit drop readily as they approach maturity, which is a useful attribute for the home gardener. 'MSU' (CAN) has exceptionally large fruit (2-3 inches/50-75mm long) and is slower to come into bearing than most and not as productive. 'Ken's Red' (NZ CAN) is very similar to an arguta fruit, but with a red blush and dull reddish flesh. 'Issai' (US CAN), (possibly x A.polygama) is said to be self fertile, precocious, and late ripening (this is one of the major commercial cultivars)
? A. chinensis - 'Jia' This is from seed from China, grown at the Pacific Agri-Research Centre at British Columbia, in Canada. It appears to be A. chinensis; but in New Zealand A. chinesis are considered prone to late frost damage, so this variety may be a breakthrough for colder areas. More information is needed.
Kiwifruit Enthusiasts JournalJJ this is a journal devoted to kiwi fruit species. Volume 6, displayed at the NAFEX kiwifruit interest group page, has a very good photograph of a group of Actinidia species fruits, including fruit of A.arguta, A.eriantha, A.melanandra, and others
Kiwifruit species JJJ brief notes on taxonomy of Actinidia, propogation, germplasm resources from the USDA Agriculture Research Service National Clonal Germplasm Repository.
Actinidia species citation J extremely cryptic -of who described the species, when, in what publication, the natural range, and previous names. - 42 odd species and hybrids at the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database. For the extreme enthusiast, not 'garden useful' for most of us.
Hardy kiwifruit JJJJ primarily A.arguta and A.kolomikta, are discussed in good detail in this fact sheet for home gardeners from Ohio State University Extension.
Hardy Kiwifruit varieties JJJJ A page with general information on adaptation and culture, then brief to good notes on four species and 19 cultivars of hardy kiwi. From Tripplebrook Farm in USA, which sells plants of the varieties described. Particulalry useful for cultivars of the Russian A. kolomikta.
Photo-Hardy kiwifruit hybrids JJJJ A lovely photograph of hybrids between Actinidia arguta and various other hardy kiwifruit at North Americas main arguta commercial research site.
in Oregon, USA JJJJ Lots
of information on cultivars - notes on over 16 types. Also links to all
elements of growing and harvesting.
Yellow Kiwifruit in British Columbia, Canada JJJJ A page on 'Jia', an Actinidia chinensis, yellow fleshed variety.
Actinidia Arguta in Canada JJJ A page on the general requirements for arguta and other hardy kiwi in Canada, with details on structures, varieties, and commercial properties. From the Pacific Agri - Food Research Centre of Canada. Commercially oriented, but useful. Good photos of several cultivars.
Hardy kiwifruit in USA JJJJ a very good, detailed fact sheet covering all aspects of growing in the home garden, with particular accent on zone hardiness in continental USA
Hardy Kiwifruit Fact Sheet JJJJ California Rare Fruit Growers very good review of all the hardy kiwi species and cultivars and their culture.
in UK J a brief
fact sheet on kiwifruit in UK and where to see kiwi species at Kew
HILDABERRY A cross between the tayberry and the boysenberry. Early season. The berry is very large, red, and the flavor has been described as 'good', whatever that means. The plants are thorny and vigorous. We have found no other details on this bramble, but suppose it is grown the same way as a blackberry
JAPANESE RAISIN TREE Hovenia dulcis-fast growing handsome and graceful small to medium tree; bears strange nibblie fruiting bodies on the tips of the branches, which when partly dry, taste for all the world like raisins! Weird. Quite good autumn colours. Quite a good landscape tree, but the fruit have novelty value only really. Most people taste them, find them acceptable, but don't bother with them again.
KIWIFRUIT, HARDY Go to 'hardy kiwifruit'.
raspberry/blackberry hybrid. A
large dusty maroon red berry that ripens about 10 days before
It bears heavily, and is quite well adapted to cool summer areas. It is
quite acid in flavor, and not something you would any a lot of as a
fruit. Trailling and thorny, it is best as a canning/bottling
but even then you have to add a lot of sugar, which defeats the purpose
The selection LY 654 is thornless.
Grow as for Blackberry
MAGNOLIA VINE Schizandra chinensis - a hardy deciduous vine (a relative of the magnolia) growing to about 6M/20 feet that produces very attractive red berries which are tart but aromatic.The pink flowers are pleasantly fragrant. Sweetened, the berries used for juice and preserves. The berries are said to be high in vitamin C, and shizandrin, a stimulating and supposedly healthful compound.
bramble is a cross between a blackberry and the Olallie
berry from Marion County, Oregon, USA. It is a bright black, medium
to large sized fruit. It fruits at the same time as boysenberry.
It's advantages over the boysenberry are that it is more attractive
it has better flavor, the seeds are much smaller than boysenberies
intrusive seeds, and the plants are probably a bit hardier.
The plant itself is very vigorous and very thorny, and the strong canes seem elatively disease resistant. Marionberries need a wire or fence to grow on, they need to be sprayed against fungus diseases unless you have a fairly dry climate, and they must be netted against birds if you are to harvest fully vine ripened fruit. Pruning is as for blackberry.
aestivalis "Applehaw'- These hardy trees produce fruit in spring.
trees are extremely adaptable to soil type, and can stand both
flooding and drought. They are also relatively disease resistant. While
they tolerate freezes to minus 40F, they flower very early and the
are liable to be frosted. The fruit are usually red, carried in
and about an inch/25mm in diameter. The flavor is politely described as
'wild', but they are palatable.
'Super Spur' produces prodigous quatities of fruit on a heavily spurring tree-a well established tree may produce as much as 80 gallons!
'Texas Star' has intense red berries and is a late blooming variety.
'Royalty' is also lateblooming and it's with showy white flowers are over an inch/25mm in diameter.
'Gem' is late blooming and has a concentrated fruit ripening.
Turkey apple-the largest fruit of the mayhaws, and the fruit mature in autumn, not spring.
MEDLAR Mespilus germanica- This unusual fruit is the size of a small apple. It has dry brown skin and contains firm flesh and some furry pips. The fruit are inedible straight off the tree-they have to be picked and left to become soft-a process known as 'bletting'. When the flesh has become soft, it is a mid brownish color, and tastes exactly of compote of apples/stewed apples. If you blett them for too long, they rot. As the fruit are ripe about the same time as apples, there seems little point in growing it, except the small (3-6M/10-20 feet) tree is austere, slow growing, deciduous, with attractive white flowers, and it will puzzle all who see it. It is relatively indifferent to soil and position in the garden, and seems almost unaffected by pests and diseases.
White Mulberry (Morus alba), Black Mulberry (M.nigra),
White Mulberry - The berries are white, pinkish, or blackish purple 25-50mm/1-2 inches long. Some varieties are sweet, others are insipid. The tree is fast growing, with large, light green, smooth and shiny leave. The fruit of the best cultivars is OK, especially if cooked, but it will have to be netted from the birds, which love them. They have to be fully ripened on the tree, otherwise they are rather dry, and certainly tasteless. To be nettable, the trees need to be heavily pruned each year, which doesn't faze them, as fruit are carried on new growth.
Black Mulberry-The fruits are very jicy, sweet, and stain when they fall from the tree. Paradoxically, while it is by far the best mulberry, it is also a nuisance from the point of view of the staining fruit. A very large deciduous tree with dark green, lobed leaves that are downy underneath. Because it is large and vigorous, it is hard to contain.
Red Mulberry -The native American mulberry, most often it is often used as a rootstock for the black mulberry (the black mulberry is difficult to propogate from cuttings and may be incompatible with the white mulberry). The fruit is edible.
NECTARINE Prunus persica- Nectarine flowers are a bit more susceptible to frost injury than peaches, otherwise the comments that apply to peaches apply to nectarines-the nectarine is a smooth skinned, fuzzless peach. There are, of course, connoisseur nectarine varieties, as there are connoisseur peach, just not so many.
Nectarine cultivars, in USA JJJJ Brief notes on the fruit and tree characteristics of 11 cultivars of nectarine for USA, with particular reference to Californian climatic conditions, so you may need to espalier these varieties against a wall and cover them against frost damage. From Sierra Gold Nurseries, California, website. Includes a photo of the 'Fantasia' cultivar.
ALMOND Prunus amygdalus- almonds are the first spring
In the temperate zone, their blossoms are usually destroyed by frost so
they are not a practical proposition-unless you grow a dwarf form in a
large tub that can be wheeled into a sheltered area. There is no
to home grown almonds over fresh commercial ones, so almonds have no
in the urban food garden.
Almond cultivars in USA JJJJ Brief notes on the nut type and tree characteristics of 17 cultivars of almond for USA, from Sierra Nurseries, California, website.
CHESTNUT Castanea sativa, C.crenata, C.x sativa Chestnuts
in early-mid autumn, and are usually regarded as too large for the
garden. Grafted trees start to bear nuts when less than head high, so
may be possible to keep them small with severe pruning. That said, the
flavor of chestnuts is so close to the sweet potato (Ipoemea batatas),
that it is probably better to use the space for another food bearing
and simply buy sweet potato, which are easier to prepare, and much
Besides, the racemes of inconspicuous flowers smell musty.
C.sativa-sweet or Spainish chestnut.
culture in Australia JJJJ
very good overview of growing chestnuts in all aspects, both Eropean
Chinese, by the NSW Department of Agriculture. Covers everything in
sensible detail. Intended for commercial growers, but still very useful
for us home gardeners. There are notes on 9 Australian varieties.
Chestnut cultivars for
USA - JJJ brief
16 cultivars of Chinese and hybrid cultivars that are blight and gall
resistant, and the characteristics of the nut and tree. At Englands
USA JJJ A fact
the Northern Nut Growers Association covering all aspects of growing
Chestnuts JJJ American
native chestnuts were almost destroyed by an introduced blight. This
is devoted to helping the community find and grow blight resistant
of this valuable timber and nut tree.
Chestnuts in New
A very good fact sheet on the history, and culture of chestnuts
in New Zealand. A publication of the New Zealand Chestnut Council, it
therefore commeercially oriented, but the basic growing and varietal
are very useful. Useful for all countries.
HAZEL Corylus avellana 'Filbert', 'Fillbasket'. The hazel
a superb tasting nut, an ideal hominid food, a graceful small bushy
(it can be trained as a standard), tolerates light shade, and a
ideal home garden food source except that it suckers like crazy from
base of the tree. Hazels need a lot of winter chill, altho,
because they flower in winter they can be damaged by severe frost, so
plant in a frost pocket. Once the tiny female flowers have set, they
resistant to freezing temperatures again. Two different cultivars are
for cross pollination.
The major problem is a disease called 'Eastern Filbert Blight'. The major commercial pollinators are suceptible to this disease, so only resistant cultivars should be grown. Trouble is, there are not many, altho further resistant cultivars are being bred right now.
'Grand Traverse' is known to be resistant.
Hazel Nut culture in Australia JJJJ A very good general overview of hazel growing from the NSW Department of Agriculture. It covers everything you would expect, from site to fertisers to prunng, and briefy discusses particular problems such as suckering and drought. It includes a couple of nice pictures of the nuts and a mature tree.
PECAN Carya illinoisensis-Most commercial pecan varieties
only be grown in southern New Mexico. Pecan varieties grown in the
part of the U.S., such as 'Major' and 'Peruque', and trees selected by
the Northern Nutgrowers Association such as Fritz, Lucas, and others
have limited success. The pecan is a very big tree, and it usually
cross pollination. It is not really a practical proposition for the
of temperate food gardeners, unless you are a plant experimenter with a
very big lot and who likes to try to push the boundaries.
Pecan growing in USA, North Carolina JJJJ A very good page on varieties, culture, and insect pests of pecan in North Carolina. As North Carolina is regarded as at rather much at the northern limit for pecans, the information may have relevance to other cool climate or short season areas. Produced by the North Carolina State University Co-operative Extension
WALNUT Juglans regia Most English walnut varieties are
winter hardy but they break dormancy relatively early in spring when
probability of frosts is high. And new growth carrying the
female flowers can be killed by below freezing temperatures. Therefore,
late flowering (late leafing out) cultivars, plus good cold air
is essential to get nuts.
Proven late leafing cultivars are 'Hansen', and 'Somers'. Walnuts need well drained soil, and adequate soil moisture in summer. Walnuts are very large trees, and should be planted at least 7.5M/25 feet from the house to avoid leaves in the guttering, excessive shading, and damage to paving from roots. To get the maximum number of nuts fruit well you usually need two different cultivars, altho' most single trees will still bear acceptably in the home garden. A grafted tree will start bearing nuts in about the fifth year.Cultivars page (description of varieties for home production, plus links to web sites with variety notes)
OLALLIE BERRY This bramble is a cross between a black Loganberry and a Youngberry. It is not very cold hardy, and will winter kill in the colder parts of the temperate zoneThe berries are black, long and narrow, firm and sweet with wild blackberry overtones at full maturity. The plants are highly productive, vigorous and thorny. Culture is as for blackberry.
persica-the peach is less hardy than apples and pears, and blooms
to a month earlier than the apple. This means that its blossom
gets hit by frost. It is possible to grow peaches by fan training them
against a wall and providing frost protection with plastic covered
but it is not really worth the effort involved. Better to buy them at
local supermarket, unless you are in a favored microclimate. Even then,
late spring frosts can damage the crop in some years.If you really want
to grow your own peaches, you should be aware that, late frost aside,
peach does best where there is a hot and dry summer climate. In humid
areas they are subject to fungal diseases, chiefly leaf curl, which
defoliation, and brown rot, which rots the fruit just at or before
A single copper spray at leaf drop largely takes care of leaf curl, but
preventing brown rot requires some fairly staunch fungicides applied
few weeks of the season, and applied thoroughly. Removing infected
also helps keep the infective spore load down. Peaches really need
free draining soil. Most peach varieties are self fruitful. However, if
you are planting 'J. H. Hale', 'Stark Honeydew Hale', or 'Stark Hale
Giant', you need to plant another variety to assure adequate
The dwarf peaches make spraying more feasible, and make it easier to
spring blosson from frost, but the fruit quality doesn't really match
mainstream cultivars. There are definite strong landscape values from
highly ornamental pink spring blossoms, so long as it is not frosted,
there are some cultivars that have exceptional connoisseur eating
which, because they are too soft, or too small etc, will never appear
the supermarkets. Peaches come into bearing quickly, within 3 years of
planting. Peaches do, however, need extensive pruning every year,
where they are being wall trained. They do best in dry summer areas,
are relatively short lived in cooler and wet or humid summer areas.
The peach fruits quickly from seed, and there have been vast numbers of varieties developed over the years. It is a relatively short lived tree, for a variety of reasons, except in dry climates. Therefore a vast number of cultivars have also been abandoned or superceded over the years. Seek out a knowledgeable specialist nursery person or a authoratative book for advice on cultivars.
Peach cultivars, clingstone, in USA JJJJ Brief notes on the fruit and tree characteristics of 17 cultivars of clingstone peach for USA, with particular reference to Californian climatic conditions, so you may need to espalier these varieties against a wall and cover them against frost damage. From Sierra Gold Nurseries, California, website. Includes a photo of the 'Andross' cultivar.
Peach cultivars, free stone, in USA JJJJ Brief notes on the fruit and tree characteristics of 35 cultivars of freestone peach for USA, including some older and less well known favorites, with particular reference to Californian climatic conditions-note the caveat above. From Sierra Gold Nurseries, California, website. Includes a photo of the 'Sierra Lady' cultivar.
Peach & Nectarine growing in USA, North Carolina JJJJA very good, detailed page on everything abpout peach culture in North Carolina, with particular reference to cultivar chilling requirements. Brief notes on 27 cultivars. Written for commercial orcharding, but the principles remain the same for us home gardeners. From the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, NC State University.
communis Most pears aren't as hardy as apples, so they can't be
in the most hard winter parts of the temperate zone. The most winter
varieties are Anjou and Clapp's Favorite. Pears are relatively tolerant
of poor drainage. Pears do well even in drier, hot inland climatic
In some countries, particularly USA, dry summer weather is essential to
control the spread of fireblight, a bactarial disease whose spread is
by humid weather. Oregon 18 and Old Home are highly resistant to
In contrast, most of the common dessert pear cultivars (Bartlett,
Bosc, Beurré d'Anjou, Doyenné du Comice, Packham's
and Winter Nelis) and rootstocks (Quince A and C) are highly
Fireblight is present in New Zealand, but is not a problem, for
poorly understood. Fireblight is effectively not present in Australia.
Pears grafted on dwarfing rootstocks such as quince rootstock reach
2-3M/6-10ft. Grafted onto pear seedlings they can grow anything from
ft 4inches-26ft 6inches. Unlike apples, which are ripe when they
look ripe, pears are difficult to pick at exactly the ripe stage:
too soon they are poor quality, picked too late and they go soft in the
middle. Most high quality cultivars are available commercially at the
and given the need to spray, the space could probably be used more
by an apple tree.
The pear is very amenable to training into cordons and espaliers and other such architectural landscape forms, and when well done makes a magnificent spring show of white blossom.
Pears are self infertile, and must have another suitable variety as a pollinator. Plant pears in pairs, you might say.
Beurre Bosc is pollenized by William Bon Chretian and Winter Nelis. It has excellent connoisseur quality.
Doyen du Comice is pollenized by William Bon Chretian and Winter Nelis plus Beurre Bosc. A good cultivar for areas with cool summers and mild (low chill) winters. A premier connoisseur pear when grown in conditions that suit it.
Louise bon de Jersey is pollenized by Conference
Packham's Triumph is pollenized by William bon Chretien;
Bartlett/William bon Chretien is pollenized by Buerre Bosc, Clapp's Favorite, and Winter Nelis;A good cultivar for areas with cool summers and mild (low chill) winter
Winter Nelis is a small late season pear, and it will store for several months without refrigeration without breaking down. Winter Nelis is pollenized by Buerre Bosc and William Bon Chretien.
Pear cultivars in USA JJJ Notes on the fruit and tree characteristics of 7 cultivars of pear for USA and Canada, with notes on their chilling requirements, from Sierra Gold Nurseries, California, website. Includes a photo of the famous 'Bartlett' cultivar
cultivars in New Zealand JJ
notes on the fruit and pollenizer requirements of 14 cultivars of
pears for New Zealand home gardeners. A Hub fact sheet.
plates of Pear Cultivars JJJJ
Color plates from the book 'The Pears of New York' by U. P. Hedrick,
by the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in 1921, and scanned in
by the US Department of Agriculture National Clonal Germplasm
at Corvallis, Oregon. Older varieties only illustrated, but done
domestica, P.salicina, P.insititia- The 'common plum' of Europe
includes some of the most excellent connoisseur varieties there are; as
well as many mediocre or worse. Certain European plums are also used
drying into the dried plums we call 'prunes' (from the name of the
'Prunus' ). European plums are about as hardy as pears. The
plums (P.salicinia) are not Japanese, they originate from China.
'Japanese' plums need less chilling than European plums and bloom very
early in spring, which makes them poorly suited for the temperate zone-
except for microclimates and transitional areas where early blossom may
escape significant frost damage. They are also less cold hardy in
than European plums, although there is a great deal of variation
varieties in cold tolerance-'Burbank', 'Abundance' and 'First' being as
hardy as the European plum, and 'Kelsey' not being even as hardy as a
Damsons (P.insititia), are somewhat hardier than the European
The fruit are usually small to medium sized, often tart but the
reducing the longer it hangs on the tree. Some varieties are not tart
all, but sweet and pleasant. Damsons are noted for their adaptability
extreme productivity. There are also some species of plum native to
America (P.americana, P.munsoniana) that are hardy and with good
fruit, but the trees are often either very large, or small and untidy.
Japanese plums bloom earlier than European plums, and for this reason
will not usually pollenize each other. 'Stanley', a major European
is self fruitful. 'Bluefre' and 'Stanley' are the most common
for European plums. 'Redheart' is a useful pollenizer for Japanese
'Santa Rosa' (one of the most widely planted Japanese plums and a major
commercial cultivar), and 'Methley' are self fruitful.
Details of plum cultivars. The Hub's brief notes on 59 plum cultivars (European, prune, Japanese, cold hardy), and links to plum sites.
Plums in New Zealand
QUINCE Cydonia oblonga- The quince isn't as hardy as the apple and the pear, so it may be limited to a protected garden area in those parts of the temperate zones with less severe winters. It flowers late in spring, so usually misses late spring frosts. Quinces seem adapted to both humid and hot dry areas. They are self fertile, adaptable as to soil, have beautiful quite large pink spring flowers, and bear heavily when well established. The fragrant yellow fruit are the size of a large lemon, but can't be eaten fresh. They are only useful for cooking. In addition, in humid areas they are subject to leaf spot diseases. And they can sucker from the base quite persistantly, which can be annoying. Unless you want to cook with quinces, use the space for something else.
idaeus- For practical purposes, there are two main groups of
fruiting, and autumn fruiting. Summer fruiting black raspberries
are a native North American species with small fruit. Purple raspberry
cultivars are derived from crosses of red and black raspberries.
raspberries need substantial chill, whereas American cultivars (derived
from a cross of European and American native red raspberry) need less
Raspberries are very much worth growing. Well grown, they produce a
deal of fruit. And the fully cane ripened fruit has the highest
qualities. The flavor and aroma of raspberries is intense and
liked. A soft, fully ripe raspberry is a fruit without compare.
But they require more work than a lot of other fruits. True, they are usually grown in rows, and can therefore be fitted into awkward spaces. And they will take a little shade. But the canes of vigorous varieties of summer raspberries flop all over the place and scratch you with their tiny little sharp stem prickles if you don't tie them up. So you need a wall with a wire, or a free standing wire to tie them to. Purple raspberries have particularly long canes, and if you don't tie them up, the tips will take root where they touch the ground. Red raspberries sucker like crazy. True, some suckers are needed for next years crop, but many suckers appear at quite some distance from the plant. If they appear in the lawn, they can be mowed. But if they appear anywhere where you need to spray with herbicide, you can kiss your raspberries goodbye.The only way to prevent suckers spreading is to bury tin or some other barrier material 60cm/2 feet in the ground around the edge of the row. Some cultivars sucker a lot, others relatively little. The other caveat with raspberries is that they are prone to root rot, or rather, fungal infection of the roots-even on well drained soil. Again, some are more prone to root disease than others. The only thing you can do is plant in ground that hasn't had tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, or peppers in it, and provide good drainage and a lot of organic material and mulch. Having edged, added organic material, fertilised regularly through the growing season, mulched, tied up the canes for this summers crop, removed superfluous suckers, then you can expect heavy flowering and a good crop. So long as you net the row to keep the birds from stealing it. But it's all worth it.
Autumn raspberries are pruned to near ground level in winter, and the new season growth flowers and fruits in the following autumn. Heritage is the best autumn raspberry for warm area.
Amethyst purple raspberry does well in warm temperate conditions. It has slightly more acid fruit than most raspberries, but is very vigorous-if stout prickled-and reliable.
ROWANSorbus americana, S.aucuparia. A small, upright ornamental garden tree with slightly bitter red or orange fruit, white flowers, and attractive dark green pinnate leaves. The American 'mountain Ash' S.americana, has generally far more bitter fruit than the European mountain ash, S.aucuparia. The trees are better pruned to keep their size down if you want easy access. Swedish plant breeders are developing smaller, less bitter varieties specifically for fruit production. The rowan is a genuinely useful ornamental shade, foliage and bright berry tree with attractive bark and narrow uprigright form, as well as a berry tree. The fruit aren't marvellous, but hopefully better varieties are to come. The varieties 'Rabina' and 'Shipova' are said to be good fresh eating fruits.
alnifolia 'Juneberry', 'Service berry', 'Shadbush'. A very winter
tall shrub that produces small fairly pleasant if unremarkable berries
for fresh eating or use in pemmican or preserves. Self fertile.
Saskatoon culture JJJ A fact sheet on all the elements of the culture of Saskatoons in Canada. Brief varietal notes as well.
There is a photo
of the fruit, as well as notes, on Prof. M Reiger's saskatoon pageJJ
and flowers JJ
as very nice photos on this page on the Cornell University site.
22 varieties are described in detail, with links to a page on
history of the saskatoon, and also to suppliers.
brief notes on 7 varieties, and several quite good photos of the
fruit of some cultivars. At a commercial nursery site.
x ananassa- Strawberries are an excellent choice for the home
gardener, so long as the plants are replaced after two crops, they are
covered against birds, and a flavorsome variety is available to grow.
highly colored fruit of the supermarket look fantastic, but they often
lack sweetness and flavor and are very disappointing.Growing the same
varieties at home brings little improvement in flavor or sweetness, if
any. The best strategy is to try to find a cultivar known for it's
such as 'Captain Cook'. These are not always as productive, and the
may be smaller, and in some cases much softer, but the flavor and
is a revelation. Unfortuneately, such varieties are now very difficult
to find. Strawberries need fertile soil, free drainage (they are very
to root disease), and constant evenly moist soil. Pull the first
off to allow the plant to make good leaf growth to sustain a good crop.
Strawberries get leaf spotting diseases, but as long the plants are
fed, kept moist, and replaced after several years, it is not worth
If there is a great deal of rain at fruiting, some or all of the fruit
will be affected with the grey mould fungus.You can do preventative
spraying, but most years the damage is within acceptable limits, so you
can usually live with it.
Strawberries in the home garden JJJ A very good basic fact sheet on all aspects of strawberry growing at home -varieties, soils, weeding, mulching, fertiliser, and so on. Produced by the North Carolina State University Co-operative Extension of USA and therefore reflecting local climatic conditions, it is nevertheless reasonably universally applicable.
Strawberry varieties for Canada, Ontario. JJJ A page by MAF Ontario/Guelph University with tabular information on 22 varieties, mainly for commercial cultivation, but a good list of early, mid, and late season varieties and their strengths and weaknesses.
Strawberry diseases-leaf. JJJJJ An excellent page of the 6 major leaf diseases of strawberries. The photographs are excellent, the notes are concise, to the point, practical and well written. Written by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Canada. Most of the diseases mentioned exist in all Western temperate countries.
Early season. A cross between the blackberry 'Aurora'and a Raspberry.
fruit are long conical, large and dark red with very good flavor. Some
people consider it the best of the raspberry-blackberry hybrids. The
are Long, thorny, and moderately vigorous .Grow as for blackberry.
A picture of Tayberry is at the NZ Berryfruit growers site.
WINEBERRY Rubus phoenicolasius-'Japanese Wineberry'. A species from eastern Asia that has masses of very small shiny mid red berries. The berries have little flavor, but are pleasant. Their main use is to annoy visitors by saying "I bet you don't know what these are". They pick very easily, but the 'plug' is large and the fruit small, so they have a large central cavity when picked. The stems are packed with soft spine like prickles, which are no real problem. The vines are stout and vigorous, but easily trained. The plant itself has reddish stems, giving it good winter landscape values. Birds adore this fruit, so it has to be netted. It is also easily spread by birds.
BERRY Rubus hybrid. Early to mid season. The Youngberry is
cross between the Phenomonal berry (very similar to the loganberry) and
the dewberry. The fruit are wine-red to black, very shiny, and smaller
and rounder than an Olallie.The flavor is sweet, mild, and is much more
likely to be acceptably edible even if it is picked a little immature,
as different from boysenberry and blackberry.The plants are moderately
vigorous. There is a thornless version. Culture is as for blackberry.
BramblesJJJ - variety notes on boysenberry, youngberry, and other hybrid berries available to the home gardener. It includes new hybrids that the home gardener is unlikey to see. Commercially oriented, and rather brief, but some good pictures of the fruit