Fruit that thrives in the home garden

rosefollyAugust 12, 2008

I posted this on the fruit forum, but thought that folks living here might have some experience I could consult.

What fruit can be grown well with good garden practices but without a heavy chemical intervention in the Willamette Valley or the nearby lower foothills? I'm looking for fruit that will not need constant spraying to battle diseases, but can get by with healthy soil, appropriate fertilization, good mulch and compost, pruning and training, regular garden cleanup, and perhaps 3-4 organic sprayings per year as needed. In other words, what is easily within the reach of an attentive home gardener who does other things besides garden?

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gardengal48

Blueberries, huckleberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, rhubarb and a wide variety of tree fruits. Look for nurseries or garden centers that specialize in fruits selected specifically for your climate and that are disease resistant. It is very possible to grow a large number of fruits without a lot of fuss and a lot of chemicals - I use none on mine. Perfection is something one finds in the grocery, not in the home garden, so tolerance of less than absolutely perfectly photogenic fruit is suggested :-)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 9:49PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Disease-resistant apple tree cultivars are by far the best bet for home orchards.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 12:10AM
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simplicitygardens(z8 pacific N.W.)

In S.E. Portland there are an abundance of Italian prune trees that were planted by imigrants and have survived for years with little intervention. I have one at my place in far N.W. Portland that I do absolutely nothing to and it is fruitful every year. I have heard that established fig and persimmons do very well here as well.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 12:25AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Locally successful cultivars of Asian persimmon are a good choice.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:39AM
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rosefolly

Thanks for the suggestions; very helpful. I think I have a good idea now.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 5:43PM
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mercurygirl(z8 Puget Sound)

In addition to all the previous good advice, I've had good luck with peaches, plums, somewhat with apples, and especially asian pears. Never sprayed a one. Blueberries too! They're some of the most rewarding, least work fruits ever. I have a good crop this year, maybe because of the wet spring. They taste hugely better than anything in the stores, unless the store is next to the field.
Have you checked out Raintree Nursery? It's a good operation, they have a great website with lots of info for growing, plus horticulturists you can consult with.

HTH

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 1:33AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Among bush fruits, blueberries are great, and there are evergreen ones that don't lose their leaves in the winter. Even more productive and more anti-oxidant fruits, easier to harvest but not tasty raw, are Aronia, which ripen fruits all at once in easy to pick clusters. Among apples, Liberty is an excellent disease-resistant cultivar, as well as Freedom. William's Pride is an early red apple that seems to escape codling moth damage in my yard. Pears have been very disease resistant for me but I've had a lot of trouble with all the stone fruits- cherries, plums, apricots, especially peaches. I'm trying persimmons but have nothing to report yet about fruit. A weeping mulberry can yield quite a few small berries and also is very ornamental.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 8:49AM
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mingtea(z9 Tucson)

cherry trees do quite well, and asian pears are definitely happy and healthy in the willamette valley (you get the occasional earwig making a home, but the fruit is usually free of problems). self-fertile kiwi (Actinidia arguta) 'Issai' is a vigorous grower, produces great fruit and is hardy to boot. i definitely agree with blueberries and raspberries being trouble free, and we have so many sweet yellow plums off our tree every year that we give most of them away (to everyone's delight).
you might want to hit up your local farmer's market to see what people are offering. those will all be local fruit that is usually grown organically, and you can see the seasonality in harvest that way, too.

-ming

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 10:33PM
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tallclover(Zone 8 Maritime Pacific NW)

Don't laugh, but peaches if your pick the right variety. I just listed all of the peach leaf curl resistant varieties that I'm growing. Current favorites: Avalon Pride and Indian Free. I use no spray and I would think the heat of Willamette would even get you better peaches than I do in the Puget Sound area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peach Trees: Peach Leaf Curl Resistant Varieties

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 11:41AM
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tallclover(Zone 8 Maritime Pacific NW)

Don't laugh, but peaches if your pick the right variety. I just listed all of the peach leaf curl resistant varieties that I'm growing. Current favorites: Avalon Pride and Indian Free. I use no spray and I would think the heat of Willamette would even get you better peaches than I do in the Puget Sound area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peach Trees: Peach Leaf Curl Resistant Varieties

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 12:11PM
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rosefolly

Thanks, Tallclover, a useful link!

I should clarify that I do not yet live in the Willamette Valley. We are considering a move there, and the gardening possibilities of an area are an important factor in our decision.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 1:27AM
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boizeau(7a)

The Autumn Olive has good fruit and is akin to a Cranberry or Currant, but a bit sweeter. Is also a nitrogen fixer and as a small tree-large shrub, will fit well into a smaller garden. The fruit is rich in Lycopene.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 3:57PM
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toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)

rosefolly,
I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised by all the great berry-growing opportunities in the Northwest. One that others have not mentioned is also a local scourge: Himalayan Blackberries. They're a non-native, invasive that's a huge pain to pull out (or even hold back), but the berries are really tasty. You'll see pedestrians suddenly ducking into bushes during blackberry season. When I first moved here, I admit that I thought that an awful lot of folks had to suddenly answer a call of nature!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 7:22PM
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lounge_trekker(7b Van. Island B.C.)

I'm in Campbell River on Vancouver Island and my blueberries produce well and seem to like morning sun, afternoon mixed shade and sun. I wrap the blackberries around a huge Rhododendron so I can get some berries easily without losing any blood! The star of my fruit trees in terms of production is my yellow plum. I don't know what the variety is but it offers an amazing amount of fruit that eats well and makes a great wine.

I have a Pacific Gold peach tree that does very well in a southwest corner of my building. I dormant spray all my trees and prune the vertical branches off regularly. I have two Van Cherries that produce tasty and plump fruit, but singly. This keeps the number of cherries down. Pears do well here, but sorry, I don't know the variety.

Any tips on fruit trees are welcome by me!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 1:28PM
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oliveoyl3

Anyone having trouble with fruiting currant leaves being eaten by something?

For the past month or so this summer the leaves are steadily being skeletonized though I can't find any slugs or caterpillars on the plant. No other nearby plants have trouble such as bee balm, hybrid musk rose, lemon balm, oregano, thyme, etc. Can't be deer because they'd just strip the entire plant bare without leaving the leaf stems and veins.

Suggestions?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 6:29PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Oregon Champion Gooseberry regularly gets stripped by little green caterpillars, but not currants in my experience.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 7:27PM
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