Saturday, April 30, 2016
Summer of Fruit 2016
We bought a house in a new suburb, one of those skinny two-storey houses that is pretty close to the houses on either side. Essentially it's a detached townhouse without the condo life, which means the yard is very small compared to the houses we grew up in. In total, maybe 2000 square feet of yard, most of which is shaded by the house and garage. And a large portion of that in the front is on the other side of the sidewalk, a "city owned boulevard".
However, I've been able to make pretty good use of the small, shady space. We have two 4x10 raised beds in the back yard, which provides more than enough garden space for vegetables. The edible plants don't stop there though. In the front, we have a tiny apple tree that I actually fit into the back seat of my Ford Focus in 2014, and shockingly produced 30ish apples last summer already. There are four haskap bushes in the front (still young and small, but doing pretty well for being in mostly shade), raspberries at one side of the house, a saskatoon bush in the back next to the deck, and strawberries in a few different places (including some wild strawberry plants I bought this year). I have a rhubarb that I have moved twice now so it hasn't produced anything but is still alive and kicking, and is hopefully in its permanent spot now so it can actually get to growing.
This year I learned that the city is okay with planting on the boulevard, just as long as it isn't trees or shrubs - essentially I now have way more full-sun garden space than I realized I had! The grass isn't doing so well there so I think I'm going to try and kill a larger patch of it and start a garlic garden - I grew about four heads of garlic last year and they were so easy to grow, I replanted all the cloves last year and they're huge already (April 30). Garlic needs to be planted in the fall to establish its roots before the snow falls (like other spring bulbs), so a spot on the boulevard where it would be definitely covered in a blanket of shoveled snow all winter is perfect for such a plant. I also moved the rhubarb to the boulevard last weekend, as the spot I had it in was arguably too shady and also too small for a plant that gets so big.
The most exciting thing this summer is that I finally ordered a couple of hardy kiwi plants! I've wanted to plant these for years, but the only time I ever found them in Saskatoon was the first summer we were in our house and we didn't have any yard yet so I couldn't plant things. I found them at Home Depot and still regret not just overwintering them in pots and planting them the next year, but I assumed if they were available one year, they'd be there the next. And of course they weren't. So I ordered from a nursery in Quebec which hardens off all of its plants before selling, and I'm looking forward to hopefully being able to harvest little kiwis from my own yard in a few years.
(Source - Green Barn Farms)
Other than the apples last year, most of the other fruit plants were just establishing roots so I only got a couple of berries here and there. I'm hoping to increase that to a few handfuls this year. Not quite the summer of fruit but slowly getting there.