Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grow What You Know?...Maybe Not.

My childhood was spent in upper NY state and later in Ohio.  I have strong childhood memories of picking TONS of wild berries in both states.  Raspberries and blackberries..."Stop the car!" 

Berries grew everywhere... on the sides of country roads...in a patch of woods... beside a cultivated field...freaking everywhere!

I remember our family heading out across the street from our house in NY state and spending hours picking and (sometimes eating hand to mouth) all those ripe, luscious berries.  Free! Thank you Mother Nature! 

Mom would freeze them, jam and jelly them.  Me?  My hands were purple from the things but I remember smothering them in lots of sugar and just a little milk.  Then I'd smash them up with the back of my spoon making a yummy pinkish purple sludge that I could eat all day.  And I did while berries were in season.

As I got older and the country roads and lands between them became "suburbia" I noticed that wild berry patches were few and far between.

That was of the things I noticed when we moved down here.  No berries. Anywhere.

Yesterday I expressed my desire to create a berry patch here in my back yard. 

Well, not so fast.  According to the NC Cooperative Extension Service this berry is very difficult to grow here in the Piedmont. 

Can anyone tell me why?  Yep...too hot.  Sounds like the best berry for this region is Dormanred.  According to the NCCES:

The fruit of Dormanred does not have true red raspberry flavor and aroma, and it has an unpleasant aftertaste.
Hmmph.  Don't even bother then.

It's interesting that all the fruits and veggies that I want to grow are because these are what I grew up eating as a child.

Take apple trees.  SM and I decided to plant some apples this year.  McIntosh was my pick of the litter.  Great eating, sauce and pie apple.

We went to several nurseries.  "You're from up north aren't ya?"  "Only the northerners ask for Mac's."  Almost as good as the "Ya'll ain't from around here aren't ya?"  No Mac's.  They'll order them but they "ain't guarantee-n."

I've been told they grow real well in the mountains and foothills...(alongside the red raspberries I expect.) 

So SM and I planted a Gala and a Fuji.  Little sticks that the bunnies decided to try and eat after nibbling away all my sunflowers.

It'll take another 3-5 before we get any fruit on these puppies.

After raiding that vacant lot with the Granny Smiths' up in Ohio, I'm seriously wanting to add a GS apple to the back yard next year too.

Grow in Your Bioregion  has really got me thinking. 

I need to change my taste buds.  Unless I want to sell the house and move to the hills.  (You bet I would, if I could find a local job to help pay for all this)

Or we could move back up to Ohio.  (Uh, not so fast)

So lets rethink this.  I eat therefore I am.  Maybe if I change what I eat, I'll start craving it more.

Why eat little red potatoes...eat sweet potatoes instead.  Okra?  Ain't happening.  Mustard Greens? Collards?  Maybe.  Throw enough ham/bacon on it.

How about the fruits?  Maybe I should try that Asian Pear.  They do well here I'm told.  Peaches?  All over the place.  Use that patch in the backyard for blueberries instead of raspberries.

Good thing fall is just around the corner so I have time to reconsider next years garden.


  1. Hurray for Galas and Fujis! That's what we ended up planting too. Being a transplanted northerner myself, I could so relate to this post. I am currently trying to nurse along three rhubarb plants (who positively wilt in the heat), just because my grandmother had rhubarb growing in her back yard. I am also trying to grow Caroline Red raspberries, which are supposed to grow well in the Carolinas, though I confess that I didn't water them enough during our summer dry spell. I figure in the end, it will be a matter of developing our own homestead cuisine with what truly does grow well here.

  2. Leigh,

    Keep me updated on the Carolina Reds... I'll have to check those out.

    I know you've got the blueberries already established. (So jealous!!)I think that's where I'm heading next year for sure.

    It sounds like you are a "diverse" eater...ie: you like alot of variety. I never got into rhubarb.

    I'm also watching what happens with your almond. LOVE almonds. Just not educated at all on growing and harvesting them.