Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cherry, Paw-Paw, Peach, Oh My!

Today we finally have sunshine and warm weather, and I cannot get my mind off of spring planting. I recently checked out Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden by Lee Reich from the library and am feeling thoroughly gung-ho to try and get some more fruit into my yard this year. Currently I have 2 heritage raspberry bushes, 1 sad low-bush wild blueberry, and 2 even sadder gooseberries plants that are in a far too shady area. But forget the berry bushes, I want more! I want FRUIT TREES!

Now, my yard is pretty small -- about a tenth of an acre -- and a good portion is shaded by some big trees growing across the back of the property (and thus stifling my poor gooseberries). Since most trees are going to want sun and will also want a friend to help with pollination, I am thinking that the maximum I can handle is two in the back and two in the front... and that is only if they are not big varieties. In fact, the two in the front need to be downright dwarfish.

My current thinking is to plant two paw-paws in the backyard, near to the fence, so that they create a little bit of natural privacy as they grow. I've been harping on how I want paw-paws ever since I first learned of them a few years ago, so I figure I may as well give them a go.

For the front yard, I am leaning towards some kind of cherry, since they are quite ornamental as well. Reading Lee Reich's book, I got pumped on the Nanking Cherry, which is actually shrub-sized and produces very small cherries that are more on the tart side. However, now I'm thinking I could go for a more traditional sweet cherry, if I could find a good self-pollinating dwarf variety. But does such a thing even exist?

nanking cherry

a more standard cherry -- not sure what variety this is

Should I try to do peach or plum instead? Are apple trees really problem-prone in this area? (I read that somewhere.) So many questions, and the clock is ticking. Anyone have any suggestions?


  1. Thanks for the mention of my book about uncommon fruits. Yes, apples, peaches, and plums are susceptible to pest problems in the eastern portion of the U.S. Why not try pears, including the Asian pears covered in my book. With a small yard, you might also want to integrate fruiting plants into your landscape, something I cover in my book Landscaping with Fruit.

    Lee Reich,

  2. I've spent a bit of my morning doing some Asian pear research and I think you might be onto something! Go figure, the fruit expert has an excellent recommendation. ;)

    Anyway, thanks for the tip! I'll definitely check out that other book and I'll be sure to blog any results, regardless of what I do end up with!