Day 9 of Edible November brings us to the Apricot tree. Apricot's like many of our other edibles can double as a ornamental landscape tree. Reaching 20-30 feet at maturity apricots might be the envy of your neighborhood. Their abundant spring flowers will attract pollinators for miles.
If you live in a region that gets late frosts be sure to plant late blooming varieties or plant your trees on the north side of your property. This way your trees wont flower too early and risk being lost with late frosts.
Apricots ripen from July to the end of August. Picked straight off the tree ripe apricots don't have a long shelf life but they sure are delicious eaten under the shade of the very same tree. A great way to preserve the harvest is to dry your apricots ensuring you will be enjoying apricots well into the following growing season.
Hardy Kiwi is the next plant up in our Edible November series. I know what you’re thinking, “Kiwi will never survive my snowy winters”. Yes you are right, but Hardy Kiwi will! The Hardy Kiwi is more like a vine than a tree or shrub. They produce tasty grape to small egg size fruits. Like their name states, they are very hardy growing vigorously from Canada to Florida.
To get fruit from Hardy Kiwi you need both male and female plants. A 1 male to up to 6 female ratio will work for backyard plantings. Ripening in late summer, kids love eating fresh Hardy Kiwis straight from the vine. They will often take 2-3 years to bear fruit but once they do you will get massive amounts! Mature Hardy Kiwi plants regularly yield 50 and sometimes up to 100 pounds of fruit and when picked before fully ripened can be stored for nearly 2 months. Picked fully ripe Hardy Kiwis are a great snack fresh, skin and all.
Hardy Kiwis are also high in Vitamin C, over 5 times higher than oranges. Because of their rapid growth they do require biannual pruning and usually a sturdy trellis/support system. Given the opportunity Hardy Kiwi will climb up a tree or side of a house. Left unmanaged it will most likely kill your tree and damage your house. A simple staking system with a 4X4 post, heavy spring and fall pruning will do the trick. People that complain about an out of control hardy kiwi often planted them in the wrong spot or have failed to prune them twice a year.
Like most homegrown fruit picking Hardy Kiwis make a great adventure for the whole family.
Day one of Edible November is one of the most obvious edible trees. When you think of one of the most common fruit trees you probably are thinking of the Apple Tree!
According to my grandma most everyone used to have an apple tree or two in their backyard. While I know this was a gross overestimate it does seem like more households had an edible tree in their yard just a generation or two ago.
Apples are one of the most popular backyard edible trees around. In additional to bearing a delicious edible fruit in the fall, Apple trees have a beautiful bloom in the spring which means your neighbors will think it is just another flowering ornamental! With so many varieties you should be able to find an apple tree that will thrive and fruit in nearly anywhere in the United States. Apples can be eaten fresh, made into juice, hard cider, apple sauce, or even apple cider vinegar. By picking a few apple trees that bear fruit at different times you can be picking fresh apples from late summer well into the fall.
Big box stores aren't my favorite source of fruit trees but nearly all of them sell apple trees each spring. I even saw a few apple trees in the garden section of my local home improvement store last week. Plant an apple tree or two this fall and you will be picking fresh apples in no time!
Here in the northeast most people think that spring is planting season. I disagree completely. Fall is actually a better time to plant trees and shrubs than spring.
As long as you can source quality trees and plants, fall planted trees will do better than spring planted trees everything. Despite what it looks like to the naked eye, trees are growing in the fall and winter. Yes no leaves or branches are growing but those same trees are working hard growing their root structure.
A fall planted tree will be ready to hit the ground running come spring time. While a spring planted tree will still be recovering from transplant shock. Yes it is hard to source qunaitity plant material in the late fall but if you can I would recommend you do it. I have seen the advantages over and over again throughout the years.
Check back soon for ways to find inexpensive tree sources!
Of course not everything on the farm is all peachy all the time. Unfortunately these apricot seedlings turned out to be DOA (dead on arrival). I wish I would have known that before I wasted an afternoon and planted them all out.
As far as the lesson goes, always make sure you source your plant material from a reputable nursery. These were purchased from a well known mail order nursery and were warrantied for a year. I was definitely bummed they didn't make it, but I did get credit for the trees that didn't make it. I received a bunch of other plants on that same order from the same nursery and they are growing great.
So always go with a reputable nursery that way if there is a issue with some of your plants you have some recourse. It's always sad when trees you plant don't make it but at least this time I figured it out right away so I can still get replacements in the ground this year.