This past season, the garden was a flurry of activity when it came to fruit. Not only did we have the most bountiful harvest since the trees were planted, but we also made several new additions to the garden. These included 3 apple trees, 1 nectarine tree, 2 blueberry bushes, 2 haskap (aka honeyberry) bushes, 1 row of red raspberry canes, 1 row of yellow raspberry canes and 2 rows of blackberry canes. We were even able to harvest a few small raspberries before the first frost.
The plum & cherry tree are relatively new, both being planted in the summer of 2010. We had a very small plum & cherry harvest in 2013 but in 2014 we ended up with zero fruit. Best guess is that we had a killing frost at some point in the early spring.
This past year we harvested approximately 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of cherries – this is an estimate as in the excitement of it all, I completely forgot to put them on the scale.
|A few had some cracking, but otherwise perfect|
The plums, however, were weighed. And what a harvest it was!
By way of comparison, the last time we harvested plums back in 2013, they weighed in at 726 grams (1.6 lbs) total, with Shiro comprising over 1/2 of the harvest.
|The plums on the right sustained too much Japanese Beetle damage to eat;|
the small one in front of the basket is a French Prune,
my favourite for eating out-of-hand
|Plum jelly packed in 125 ml jars|
|French Prune plums|
|Bowl of strawberries in early July|
Most were eaten fresh, but I did place a few packets in the freezer. Although not as good as fresh, they are still far superior to the tasteless ones at the market which are not worth bothering with at all. Boy, the aroma when I open a packet…just heavenly!
Overall Impressions & Plan for Next Year
I'm calling this past year quite the fruity success, both in terms of harvesting and setting the stage for future harvests.
The strawberry bed will be in it's 3rd year of fruiting this summer, so I should really be starting a new one. But, in the interest of slowing down this year, I have decided to wait until 2017.
One task that I will not be delaying is installing hardware cloth around all of the tree trunks. We have not had much rabbit damage on the trees up until now, but all it takes is one hungry bunny. The new plantings do have those white, plastic guards around the trunks, but they are unlikely to be as effective as metal mesh.
I’m not really sure what to expect from the berry canes in terms of growth habit but suspect that I may have to erect some type of support for them so that they don’t go sprawling all over the place. And I’m hopeful that I’ll be harvesting more than a few berries from them next season.
When it comes to all of the new plantings, my main concern is, of course, that they make it through their first winter ok. We have had a relatively mild winter season so far, although we did have some extremely cold temps this past weekend. But it’s more the up and down temperatures that have me worried – those can wreak havoc on new and old plantings alike. Won't be too much longer until I find out if everything pulled through - and my fingers will be crossed until then.