I am SO excited...I finally ordered my fruit trees & berry bushes last week! I’ve been meaning to do this since we moved here, so it’s been a long time coming.
I was planning on ordering two apple trees, but then couldn’t resist and ended up ordering 3. It took a long time to settle on the varieties that I would be growing - a couple of months of umming and ahhing to be exact. There are just so many factors to take into account including taste (of course!), hardiness, pollination & storage potential. In the end I settled on Honeycrisp, Granny Smith & Haralson, all of which will be on semi-dwarfing root stock.
I purchased the trees from Mori Essex in the Niagara region. In addition, I also purchased a nectarine tree from them - AC Harovin Rouge - a disease resistant, hardy, freestone variety. My first choice was actually a variety called Fantasia, which this nursery also sells. However, I'm already pushing the hardiness limit with the Granny Smith - it's a zone 6* apple and I'm in zone 5. However, I'm only a few km away from what is technically zone 6 and many orchards in my area grow Granny Smith apples successfully, so I figured I would give it a try. As I've mentioned before, hardiness zones don't follow a street map! For now, however, having one borderline hardy tree to worry about is more than enough.
Also included with my apple & nectarine tree order was a blackberry (Black Satin - a thornless variety) and red raspberry canes (Heritage - an everbearing variety that produces a summer & fall crop).
Mori Essex is less than a 45 minute drive, so instead of having the trees & canes delivered for a $45 charge, I decided to pick them up instead. You have to choose the pick-up date when you order, so I picked Friday April 17th. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate so that I can get my baby trees & canes into the ground that weekend.
Mori Essex didn't have everything I was looking for, so I had to look elsewhere for the remaining items on my list. I decided to try Lindberg Seeds, a nursery in Manitoba. I’ve never ordered from them before, but they happened to have what I needed and their prices were very reasonable. Many of the local nurseries only sell potted plants in larger sizes that significantly increase the price. For example, blueberry shrubs run about $20+ per pot at a nursery. At Lindberg, they sell bareroot blueberries for $14.49 for two.
My order from Lindberg included the following:
- Blueberries - 1 each of Blue Crop & Blue Ray
- Yellow Raspberries - 5 canes
- Haskap - 3 varieties - Borealis, Tundra and Berry Blue
I know what you're asking right about now - what on earth is a Haskap? Well, I had never heard of them either until I started to do a bit of research on edible berry possibilities for the garden.
A Haskap (also known as a honeyberry) is a honeysuckle (Lonicera Caerulea) that produces small, elongated blue berries. Nutritionally, they really stand out - ounce for ounce, their vitamin C content (50-70mg/100 grams) is comparable to that of oranges and they have more antioxidants than blueberries - that's a pretty powerful nutritional punch!
|Photo Source: Haskap Canada|
Haskaps are said to have a unique taste that is often compared to a combination of blueberry & raspberry although I've read other reviews that say they are more of a raspberry/grape. I have never actually tasted one myself so I hope I'm not disappointed.
|Photo Source: Prairie Plant Systems Inc.|
I don't think I'll be growing these varieties this year as all of the spots in my beds are already spoken for, but both tomato & pepper seeds are good for several years, up to 4 or 5, so I'll be saving them for next years garden.
Going back to my tree & berry purchases - you would think that choosing the varieties would be the hardest part. For me, however, harder still is the next step in the process...deciding where to put these trees & bushes.
I have several options, but just can't seem to settle on the "best" option. I must have changed my mind at least a dozen times already - it's such a big decision, especially when it comes to the trees, and I'm a bit paranoid about making a mistake. I also have to remember that my overall plan is to have at least 2 more apple trees, so I have to take that into account when I position these - apple trees should be planted relatively close together to achieve proper pollination.
I think it will help if I map things out physically - putting a stake at each tree location, standing back, assessing, moving things around - you know what I mean. This will definitely be one of the first things I do once the ground dries out.
Till next time...
*Canadian and USDA hardiness zones are classified differently resulting in our zones usually being shown as 1 zone higher. For example, hardiness zone 6 in Canada would be considered a zone 5 in the US.