It's been nearly four years since my last post, and there continues to be interest in this blog. An update on the edibles in my coastal landscape seems timely, given that spring is the time for planting and planning. I'll start with some of the hits in this post, then move on to misses in part 2.
As I wrote before, planting raspberries here (and most places in the Northwest) is a no-brainer. Given their high cost at the market and ease of planting-care-harvest, they are great bang for the buck. My 'Saanich' red raspberries continue to produce mightily from one little row, filling the freezer and our bellies in early summer.
We took a big risk in cutting down the long hedge of arborvitae that provided privacy from our very-close neighbor's house, and replacing it with a row of Asian pears 'Kosui' and 'Chojuro.' I'm happy to report they are thriving. We created a support structure of cedar posts and stainless wire on which to train our pears in a style known as "pleaching." For a great guide on this and other pruning methods, check out my favorite book on the topic.
The 'Frost' peach that was planted on the south side of our garage, trained similarly, continues producing boxes of peaches every summer. I don't weigh the harvest, instead counting the fruits, and it's usually 300+ on this single tree. The 3-way espaliered apple on my garden fence produces lots of Liberty apples, and a smaller number of Akane and Melrose. Enough for daily lunches and some processing over a few months in the fall.
Blueberries and strawberries continue producing without much trouble, and the Seascape strawberries have yielded lots of starter plants for friends and neighbors. It was great fun when the little girls next door started their very own strawberry bed from the plants I was digging out of my paths. A female Seaberry has been producing small handfuls the last two seasons (a male plant is required too).
For the first time, my Cascade hops made their way into a batch of homebrew last fall... still a ways to go learning that craft but the plants are doing well over the backyard deck. Climbing right along side them in the deck planters are an ever-changing mix of vining tomatoes, scarlet runner beans and flowering annuals. I'll have to write a separate post on the subject of coastal grapes...
Among the less-vigorous, wait-and-see plantings are the 'Negronne' fig tree, 'Red Pearl' lingonberries, cranberries and a hardy kiwi vine 'Issai.' These have all survived and show some promise but have yet to yield any food. A potted pomegranate in my greenhouse surprised me with tiny fruits last season, though they never fully matured. And for the first time I saw tiny cranberries forming on my creeping plants in the garden. Some other creature got to enjoy them but it was fun to see them at last!