When it comes to the fruits of one’s labors, growing apples, pears, berries, and nuts can seem like a daunting and complicated process. Marauding birds, microscopic fungi, sudden frosts, and devastating drought are problems that can plague any home gardener, but fruit growers seem to have a more complex range of problems to conquer. Beyond comprehensive yet straightforward information about basic cultural techniques regarding planting, pollination, and propagation, Deardorff and Wadsworth offer photographic snapshots that help growers recognize common problems, from environmental disorders to water-related mismanagement. Plant portraits of everything from almonds to watermelons provide in-depth profiles of a crop’s maintenance and garden uses, while extensive problem-solving guides furnish expert guidance on symptoms, diagnosis, and solutions for common and exotic plant maladies. Stressing organic techniques, the authors devote an entire chapter to nutrition, light, water, and pest management techniques that can be administered without the use of harmful chemicals. Both hobby and professional fruit growers may find this an essential resource. –Carol Haggas
“Beyond comprehensive yet straight forward information about basic cultural techniques regarding planting, pollination, and propagation, Deardorff and Wadsworth offer photographic snapshots that help growers recognize common problems, from environmental disorders to water-related mismanagement. . . . Both hobby and professional fruit growers may find this an essential resource.” —Booklist
“You can grow tasty, blemish-free fruits and nuts with much less work than you may think. . . . Well-organized and concise.” —American Gardener
“What’s Wrong With My Fruit Garden? offers help for all kinds of fruit crises. What impressed us most is that the authors take an entirely organic approach.” —Sunset
From the Back Cover
Chances are you’re going to need help—and this book provides it. You’ll find:
- How to create the best possible growing conditions.
- Detailed portraits of all kinds of fruit, from familiar to exotic, with information on growth habit; temperature, soil, light, and water requirements; and tips on planting and care.
- Illustrated problem-solving charts that enable you to identify at a glance what’s ailing your plant.
- The most effective organic solutions, including how to cope with and eliminate specific pests and diseases.
With its clear, easy-to-follow advice and helpful diagnostic photos, What’s Wrong With My Fruit Garden? will guide you along the path to successful, abundant harvests.
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The quest for the most delectable, wholesome fruits and nuts has taken humankind to every part of the globe. When our ancestors traversed the savannah and spread outward, we initiated a long and successful survival strategy: hunting and gathering the incredible bounty of the natural world. Thousands of years later, we learned to save the seeds of our most precious plants, replanting them, and then returning to the same locations each season. Eventually we settled in one place and began to tend the plants that had become our benefactors.
The plants that feed us best are the ones we continue to tend with great care. In turn our care has become their most successful survival strategy. Apples from the mountains of Central Asia now grow worldwide, tended by their human caretakers throughout North America, New Zealand, Chile, and elsewhere. Oranges, walnuts, grapes, and blueberries thrive with an enormous entourage of people caring for their every need, because they have made themselves especially mouthwatering and sustaining for us.
Have you ever thought about the apparent intelligence of these resourceful plants on which we depend? We propagate them and ensure their pollination. We feed and water them, and tend them when they are ill. We have become tribes of caregivers, devoted to meeting all their requirements. Our service to our plant partners is a privilege and a gift. What better way to repay the kindness of nature, and to connect with the abundance of the natural world?
The reward for tending your own fruit garden goes beyond stewardship of the green world. It helps us too. There is an expanding body of evidence that indicates homegrown fruit has higher nutrient values and better flavor. The more we learn about the importance of a diet rich in antioxidants, the more we know it just makes sense to grow our own fruits and nuts. As anyone who has shopped for organic produce knows, it’s expensive, but over time cultivating it yourself will save you money. Even if you have only a small yard or balcony, given enough sunlight, you can raise fruit at home.
There are a few key factors to take into account while preparing for that bountiful harvest. Right from the start you need to know about temperature, soil, light, and water needs for plants you want to grow. With few exceptions, fruits and nuts are perennials. You commit to these plants for years, so choosing the right plant, putting it in the right place, and selecting the best cultivar for your situation and taste is really important. For instance, if you live in the subtropics, the right type of plant might be a banana and a good cultivar would be ‘Dwarf Cavendish,’ the easiest to grow in a small home garden.
Take some time to research pest- and disease-resistant plants that are available in your region. Some heirloom varieties and modern hybrids carry resistance in their genes. For example, both ‘Liberty’ and ‘Chehalis’ apple cultivars are resistant to apple scab, a common and serious fungal disease of apples worldwide. To find pest- or disease-resistant cultivars, look at plant labels and catalog descriptions. If they do not mention resistance, assume the plant is susceptible. Experienced neighbors or nearby fruit growers, extension agents, or master gardeners can give you local knowledge about who’s succeeding with which cultivars. This allows you to choose cultivars that are best suited to your location and likely to remain healthy.
When choosing a cultivar, local knowledge is invaluable. Talk to experienced neighbors, your county extension agent or master gardener organization, or local fruit clubs to determine which cultivars do best in your climate.