Thursday, April 28, 2011

Growing Fruit in the Garden

Local, homegrown fruit could just possibly be my most favorite thing in the entire world. I have been trying for years to add more fruit to my garden space. I've had some successes and some colossal failures. But I refuse to give up.

1. Cantaloupes

I have had tremendous success with growing cantaloupes. The sweetest, most tasty cantaloupe I have ever eaten was from my garden. But I'm not sure I am going to grow it this year until I have a better plan of growing the melons. The plants take up so much space and grew out of my box and spilled into the yard. So I need to do a little research to figure out how to grow vertically. Have any of you had success with growing cantaloupes vertically?

2. Watermelons

Two years ago, I grew watermelon and I made the terrible mistake of harvesting the melon too early.

I cried. Needless to say I was a little gun shy last year. Just like the cantaloupe, the plant was enormous and I lack the space, so I have to figure out a way to grow vertically.

3. Strawberries

I go to the local U-Pick strawberry patch every year. Local, fresh from the vine, ripe strawberries are divine. We love strawberry season so much that I decided to try to grow strawberries at home. Because of my lack of space I decided to try one of the Topsy Turvy hanging strawberry planters.

I don't have a picture, maybe I was too annoyed to think to take a picture, but this was a FAIL. My neighbor's didn't survive either. The plants dried up. I watered faithfully, but the water seemed to just flush out the sides and didn't really soak in. Honestly, I'm not sure what happened, but I am still trying to figure out how to incorporate strawberries into my garden.

4. Blueberries

This will be my 3rd year with blueberries, although my two bushes have been very stingy with the berries. I know they need A LOT of sun, so hopefully they are getting what they need where they are located. I am noticing a lot of flowers on one bush this week, so I better cover them with a net or the hungry birds will take them.

5. Raspberries

I bought these plants at a yard sale last year. But unfortunately, not one single berry last year. Of course, the volunteer pumpkin plant that took over the box where I have the raspberries planted didn't help. This year, I am keeping all vine plants away from the raspberries and hopefully, they will give me some fruit.

The raspberries are in the back corner. You can see a few canes poking out between the pumpkin and cantaloupe vines.

6. Rhubarb

Technically, rhubarb is a vegetable, but I intend to use it in pies and cobblers, so I'm including it in my post about fruit. I planted it last summer and you aren't supposed to harvest or eat the first year. So I have high hopes for this year. I just read online that I am supposed to cut off the flower that is growing in the middle of the plant to encourage leaf growth. But so far, so good here.

I guess I have had more failures than successes, but I am not giving up on fruit.
Do you grow fruit in your garden? Do you have any advice for me and other gardeners out there? Let us know in the comments. Also, if you are a blogger and have a post about fruit in your garden, please leave a link to your post in the comments.

This post is linked to Tuesday's Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.

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  1. Hi! I just wanted to encourage you and let you know that raspberries take a couple of years before you will see any fruit. My raspberries were slow to start but now we get a great yield from the canes. Also, depending on the kind you have, the berries grow on last year's canes. It is on a 2 yr. cycle. Be prepared, because they WILL take over your space as they spread underneath the ground! Happy Gardening! :)

  2. I haven't tried fruit yet, but I am really want to! Our neighbors have a few ratty raspberry bushes they don't care for and I'd gladly take them, lol. Strawberries are on my list to grow next spring, that is for sure!

    I have always struggled with growing summer squash and broccoli though. Broccoli because it gets caterpillars and the squash always seems to wither. This year we are growing 14 other plants, and I'm skipping those two. :)

  3. Queen of the House - thanks for the encouragement. I need to go check out your jam recipe. I can't wait until I have enough berries to make my own.

    Leslie - I usually don't have trouble growing broccoli and squashes, but I have a terrible time growing peppers.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. We've got raspberry bushes that we transplanted from a friend's yard and we even go berries from them last year (we were shocked)! I'd say, just let them do their own thing. I'm sure every type is different, but we planted ours in the back of our yard and there are weeds and all sorts of things, but they just happily grow and they're back again this year. We also planted two fruit trees last year - an apple and a plum, so we'll see if we get anything. Fingers crossed!! :-)

  5. This is an excellent post--good information. I am in a cool-ish climate, and it takes a lot of work to grow warm-weather loving melons here. But one idea is to take the vine and circle it around the crown of the plant, and carefully hold down the vine with a gardening staple, like the kind used for holding soaker hoses in place in the dirt. It might help to keep the vine more in place rather than spread. Although you will have to leave some room because the melons will need room to grow. Another tip I remember reading is that if you grow melons on a trellis, you can support the fruit, because they get heavy, with old clean pantyhose tied around them and then to the trellis. I've had good luck growing strawberries in containers and on a hayrack planted that we hung on a fence, because we have lots of slugs here who eat the berries before we can get to them.

  6. stopping by from an Oregon Cottage, your rhubarb looks good. Mine is not that big of a plant, and has never flowered. There is always hope I guess (that it will get that big!).

  7. Hi, I came over from An Oregon Cottage. You might try lifting your melons off the ground and putting them on a coffee can or dark plate. The heat from the sun will help them ripen sooner.

    We just found vine borers in our zucchini - - we're trying to keep them from destroying all our plants.

  8. Ah, the lure of fruit- I grow lots with only some success. I managed to kill most of the raspberries we planted and strawberries do great the first couple of years and then need refreshing, which I can't get the hang of. I think we might have our first good crop in awhile this year. Don't get me started on the trees... :-)

    Thanks for sharing!
    An Oregon Cottage

  9. I like your post. I had some success with strawberries in a topsy turvy last year. My melon didn't do very well last year. I have a blueberry bush that I planted last year. I'm hoping it fruits this year. I also planted a raspberry cane in a pot last year. I hope to have a few berries. Otherwise, I look forward to any advice you have. I'm still trying to get the hang of growing veggies. =0)

  10. Hi,

    I recently bought a blueberry tree and wasn't sure where to plant it. I have a south facing backyard. Also last year I started a vegetable garden that is very close to the house on the south west side. Should I plant the blueberry plant away from this vegetable patch? I heard blueberry does not do well with soil where tomatoes have been planted.


  11. hi BJ - I don't know the answer to whether blueberries can be planted near on in an old tomato bed. I have read that they like very acidic soil and that you need two plants to polinate. Zour best bet is to google or head to your local nursery and ask them. Thanks for reading and commenting.


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