Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fruit for the Bay Area?


fruit ripening guide
Originally uploaded by tampermouse
Can blog readers in the greater San Francisco Bay Area offer any suggestions about their favorite fruit trees? I'm looking for dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties, that are productive and not terribly fragile. I've already got lemons, persimmons and an unidentified plum tree.

(Check out this nifty ripening calendar -- click for a larger sized image.)

About the time that we moved, I joined an online discussion group for East Oakland gardeners. And in the past few weeks, I've been meeting with some of my fellow gardeners for swaps. I've gotten bamboo, which is intended for trellises, and last night I traded some of my lemons for baby broccoli plants.

I love this.

Not only do I get to engage in some neighborly-garden-kindness with people who would otherwise be strangers, I also get to gawk at some of the glorious gardens in the posher parts of my neighborhood. There are some huge urban gardens around here.

I really would like to hear what fruit trees work for you. Please leave a comment, and tell me who you are. I'm sad to report that the spam-bots have found this blog, and that I'm having to approve all the comments before they appear on the blog. I'd so much rather be reading garden advice than unsolicited financial advice from strangers with questionable grammar.


Ladyaero said...

We have a satsuma mandarin tree that we love. It is a dwarf tree (I have read that you can even grown them in large pots), has produced really well for us from the very first year (we had to prop the tree when it was tiny, as it had more fruit than it could hold), has flavourful fruit with very few seeds (some completely seedless, most with one or two seeds), is the easy peel variety, can handle a mild freeze without damaging the fruit and is not a water hog. Here's an article I just found about it (though based on a Texas climate):

We just had an apple tree split apart during the January storms (it was original to the house, we think- very old and rotted out in the center) and are looking to replace it...we have lemon, blood orange and satsuma, so we are thinking of an apricot...if you hear of any good varieties of those, I'd love to hear about them!

(Emily from San Jose)

Pica said...

Pomegranates are smallish, have gorgeous blooms, and the fruit's heavenly. They do well up here, I'm assuming they're fine on the coast?

Anonymous said...

Peach trees do NOT need to have a companion tree to be pollinated. Thus, you only have to plant one of them to obtain fruit. (Good to know if you have a small yard.)

Apple trees are not self pollinating- so if you have more space, go for it.

Plant only trees that will give you fruit you 1-want to eat 2-is valuable and you can sell. Fruit that can NOT be preserved eaasily is a pain in the butt. A fruit tree gives a LOT of produce. We like apples cause they can be eaten, cooked, baked, dried, canned, get the idea- get a versatile fruit!

I'm still looking for a money tree, myself. Also we need to get a Colorado blue spruce tree, since snow melt splashed in our front yard has road salt in it, and will kill anything except the blue spruce. Think of how your tree will live all year long before you plant. And always put a $10 tree in a $20 hole.


MommaWriter said...

We have some fantastic Blenheim apricots. Not sure if they come as dwarfs, but they might. We also have a dwarf white peach. Wish I knew exactly what kind, but I don't. Until recently, we had a Santa Rosa plum tree that made fantastic plums, but it was messy. We also have a terrific cherry tree that produces really well every other year. Also not a dwarf, but maybe there are some dwarf cherries out there? My favorite trees are our Meyer Lemon and a red-blush Bartlett pear. The pear tree is small and makes really yummy pears. But it may just be stunted because it's in a rotten place. I second Ladyaero's madarin orange recommendation. My parents have a couple of those as dwarf trees and they're great!

We just planted a 3-variety apple tree. We chose apples for the same reason Annalisa mentioned. It went in in place of the old plum tree...which made so many plums that we couldn't eat them all an couldn't give away enough. They didnt' freeze well and I never quite figured out how to make jam from them. The apricots, however, freeze well and make for amazing jam!

(Mountain View)

Anonymous said...

Be wary with Bamboo, where I'm from it will take over (Like mint)! I've always heard to plant a container and then plant the bamboo in the container... to keep the roots from spreading.


. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

The bamboo is long-dead. Let's hope it isn't some version of Zombie Bamboo, which will re-animate and take over East Oakland.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I wonder if we're warm enough for pomegranates. I love them for mythological reasons. And they're beautiful trees. I wonder if we could figure out what to do with a tree's worth of fruit?

Anonymous said...

A local nursery in San Jose provided us with a 4-in-1 pluot tree that produced fruit the first season--yummy plum/apricot hybrids that don't require cross pollination.


2007 said...

Pomegranates need a Mediterranean climate and do amazingly well in the hot Davis/Sacramento area. We have 2 mature 8 foot trees in our backyard that we ignore and they yield a total of 250-300 fruits a year. I give them to grateful friends and pile them in decorative bowls from October through Xmas. If you really want people to love you, cut them in half and peel them (under water), pile the remainder in cheesecloth and squeeze!

I think Oakland might be a bit cool for them. . . .


Anonymous said...

Blenheim apricot gets my vote for a great fruit to grow in the east bay. If you start it bare root you can cut it down from the start and make it dwarfish. Mine is still pretty large but apparently smaller than a full size tree.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

The community garden at Lake Merritt has pomegranates that seem to bear fruit. Such pretty trees.

Anonymous said...

When I taught overseas, the abandoned orchard next to my school had a perfect pomogranate tree that made perfect fruit. When I had students that needed to get on my good side, I had them sneak next door and bring me back some of that fruit. I would LOVE to have a pomogranate tree here! Think of all your friends on the east coast freezing their butts off and plant something exotic and wonderful! (then you can make jam for us in your new/old kitchen!)

We are supposed to get 1 foot of snow this weekend, so of course Gary and I were outside on ladders screaming bloody murder at each other trying to get plastic tarps to cover our big hole in the barn roof that blew off last week.

Please don't ever get a barn unless you have a lot of insurance and are prepared for heartbreak.


mamakin said...

I don't have fruit trees, just some black raspberry bushes-which will take over if not watched-and some blueberry bushes. I'm not in your area-I'm on Long Island in NY-but I'd imagine that there are areas where you'd like a bush instead of a tree & the blackberries are a big favorite over here.

We also have Korean Dwarf Lilacs. Of course you can't eat them, but as a bush along the walkway or near the front or back steps of the house, it can be something just amazing when it's in bloom. They're small lilac flowers, maybe 3" or so, but they just cover the bush and send a beautiful fragrance throughout the area. We keep ours at about 3 1/2 feet high & just trim in down after it blooms. Everyone talks about it-it's more fragrant than the large version & is covered in blooms for a longer period of time where we find our large lilacs are a bit temperamental under the same conditions.

Good luck with your planting and with your lovely new home!
BJ (Mamakin on Rav)

mamakin said...

Oh, as for thinking your bamboo is dead-keep an eye out. I've got several varieties of bamboo & love sharing with anyone who wants it. It is invasive & we find the best was to keep it where we want it is to watch for it to come up in the spring. They are little pointy things coming up out of the ground. You can knock them over with your foot at that stage-you need an ax when they're bigger lol.

I've given a lot away, as I said, and most often I've been told that they die...or so they thought...then they start up when you least expect it. So if you're mowing over the spot where you planted them, you may be mowing over new growth. If you leave the area alone, you may find that they'll surprise you & come back up. Also check on the species. We have some that only grow well in shade & do die out if they move down the hill into the sunny area. Oddly enough, they're all moving into a side area that's shady and we haven't seen any more coming up in the sunny spots. Smart little buggers!


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