New to GA, need HELP!

pakcltAugust 22, 2012

I am fairly new to GA and I am on the Mayor's committee for starting a Community Garden, because I own a 15 acre organic farm back in Indiana, which grows produce for the poor.

It is my intention to donate some fruit trees and berry plants to the garden, but I don't know what are the best varieties or the best plant sources in my area (Or catalogs online).

Specifically, which is the best tasting, easiest to grow PEACHES and apples, pear, plums, grapes, raspberries, etc. I grew Caroline raspberries back home and they were wonderful, but I don't know if they are good for this area (SE of Atlanta)

I intend to grow Granny Smith apples, but desperately need help on the rest.

Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.


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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Pat, what a wonderful project to tackle! We did this when I lived in Indiana (Goshen), and created a beautiful quilt garden as well as a community garden that us Master Gardeners tended. Most of the produce went to soup kitchens, and some we MG's kept. I would strongly suggest you contact your local Master Gardener's in the Atlanta area and see if they would also be willing to assist you with your project. the Master Gardeners are associated with your local extension office, so you'll have tremendous support, both in picking correct varieties for your area, as well as possibly some manpower.

Here is a link that might be useful: Central Fulton County MG Association

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 3:52PM
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I am a little bit north of you. I am trying a pretty large variety of fruit, but I am probably killing over my share as well. There is an Atlanta fruit Yahoo Group that isn't real active, but you could get some input there. All my plantings are pretty young but my suggestions to you would be Kaki persimmons, Muscadines Grapes, Figs, PawPaws, Jujubes, some cold tolerant pomegranates, some blight resistant pears, Blackberries, Blueberries, and Mulberries. Take a trip up to Ellijay to Mercier Orchards or one of the other orchards there and taste some local grown apples varieties this Fall Johnsons Nursery is located in Ellijay as well and probably our best local option for fruit trees. I am trying Stone fruits and sour cherries do best for me here, but I have some apricots, peaches, plums, pluots as well, just most are young and the verdict is still out on them. My suggestions are what I consider the easiest to grow here. I had some Caroline Raspberries, but my Heritage did better, but my planting are mostly remote at my place in Ellijay remote from my residence by an hour so nothing I have gets the best of care.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:43PM
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Pat: I started fruit orchard here in Atlanta myself with 20 varieties. It is a different world here in the south, especially for a community garden, you need to pick the most disease resistant trees possible. Fire blight is the big problem here on apples and pears, I recommend you purchase apples on dwarf rootstocks G-11 or G-16 which are resistant to fire blight. Cummins Nursery in New York is a good source for those. Dwarf roostocks are great, they only get around 10 feet, easy to maintain and pick.

For apples some recommendations would be:
Goldrush, Williams Pride, Pristine, Redfree and Liberty.

(Granny Smith not recommended here due to fire blight)

Pears: Seckel, Moonglow, Maxine.

Peaches: Redhaven or Challenger

I also recommend a soil sample, you are likely going to
need to add lime to get the ph level up to around 6.5

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 6:04PM
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Thank you for the info. It is greatly appreciated! I will definitely follow up and look into your sources for trees. You are one of the first persons to contact me that actually sounds like they understand what I'm trying to do.

Back in the 70's when I bought my farm, I planted 200 fruit trees, including 64 apple trees, most of which are dwarf and semi dwarf. I intend to buy only dwarf fruit trees, so they won't take over the site. We intend to amend the soil for not only the fruit trees, raspberry plants and all of the raised beds available to residents, etc.

Do you have any tips on grapes? Will seedless varieties grow here?


    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 8:35PM
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You may want to plan a day trip over to Jemison, AL, to see what they are doing at Petals From The Past. Muscadines are in your future...

Here is a link that might be useful: Petals from the Past

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:15AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

I second Cummins as a great source east of the rockies.
Very nice products. Great advice.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:34AM
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Pat, I want to second strudeldog's recommendations to you. No matter how much you like the idea of them or the taste of them, outside of intensive management with regular fungicidal and insecticidal and other sprays, I wouldn't expect peaches, plums, or seedless grapes to ever yield anything edible, and I wouldn't have a lot more hope for raspberries or apples (although the apple varieties NorthGa7A recommended would likely stand a better chance), not with the disease and pest pressures we have in the Southeast. I'm no expert but I've paid attention to what trees in people's yards have produced, and except for fireblight resistant pears -- some of which, like seckels, I could see being very popular in a community garden -- your list looks to be really short on the fruits very likely to succeed. I would strongly recommend going as heavy on the fruits on strudeldog's list as you can bring yourself to do.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 12:42PM
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