Fruit Growing Varies Widely
One of the first items we accessed as we looked for solid information on growing fruit was an Extension Service page that began with the following: “Fruit growing varies widely by climate.” And it goes on to offer 26 links to fruit growing grouped under four major regional headings. Here’s where you will find that list of links: Click on "Fruit Growing by Region."
We checked through this list and the first one listed, a Cornell publication was the best one. It’s comprehensive and quite interesting.
For example, we learned, “Blueberries, and their cousin the cranberry, are the only commercially produced fruit crops that are native to North America. Wild blueberries grow in all regions of the country except in the High Plains and the desert Southwest.” The series of web pages is called, “Cornell Guide to Growing Fruit At Home,” And you can find it by clicking the following blue title: "Growing Fruit at Home."
Although the Cornell Guide is focused on New York State, there is limited information for other regions. Here’s the content outline.
- Front Matter (including maps)
- Before You Begin
- Tree Fruits
- Currants and Gooseberries
- Hardy Kiwifruit
- More Minor Fruits
- For More Information
And speaking of more information, if you want to broaden your fruit knowledge (or ambition) search for a fruit alphabetical list online. This will give you a wealth of subjects to search. You might also want to think about searching fruit nutrition facts.
The third listing, from Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is likewise comprehensive, though locally oriented. Find it by clicking on: “Fruit Production for the Home Gardener: A Comprehensive Guide.”
Here is the Penn State outline:
- Getting Started
- Pests & Pesticides
- Wildlife Damage
- Pome Fruits
- Stone Fruits
- Growing Strawberries
- Gooseberries & Currants
- Hardy Kiwi
- Nursery Sources of Tree Fruit Plants
- Nursery Sources of Berry Plants
- Additional Info
From this guide we hear, “Quality fruit, similar to what is available in the supermarket, cannot easily be grown without pesticides.” This thought echoed throughout most of the publications on the list. It underscored the difficulty of growing tree fruit—something you should bear in mind if you’re thinking of getting into this.
Most publications on the Extension Service list made a clear distinction between the difficulty of fruit grown on trees and the easier task of growing fruit on bushes.
There were some problems with some of the other links on the Extension Service list. Where links didn’t work as of this writing (early fall 2009) we made a note of it. The links might be fixed by the time you read this.
The final listing in the Northeast section of the list, West Virginia, did not display well on our screen.
North Central Focus
In the North Central section the Illinois link was broken and an error message was displayed. The Indiana link brings up a list of PDF publications available. The Iowa link asks for payment of $3.00 for its publications. The Kansas link also brings up a list of their publications. The Minnesota link brings up a list of publications. And they have some posters for sale—nice looking. But the link to the ‘Order’ page failed. We liked their publication on beekeeping because of the importance of pollination. And their ‘Fruit Tree’ publication has an interesting section on grafting. Of the two links for Ohio, the first brings up a list of short papers. We didn’t look at them all but there was a lot of emphasis on diseases. The second Ohio link brings up a long treatise on pests. (Anybody up for fruit flies?) The South Dakota listing was a very short growing fruit paper.
Focus on the West
Under the ‘West’ heading, Arizona’s two listings divided information between fruit grown at elevation and fruit grown in the low desert.
California’s offerings were extensive. From one of their publications comes this: “For whatever reason the home orchard is a popular endeavor. Some are successes while others fail. When the decision to create a home orchard is based on little more than desire to plant a few trees and anticipate fruit, then failure is the probable outcome. When a home orchard is based on an understanding that it is, in fact, a living expression of genetics interacting with soils, weather, tree spacing, pests, and many other factors, then the outcome should be one of success.”
California’s second listing was comprised of papers about pests organized by pest.
And you’ll have to pay if you want information for the Oregon website.
Focus on the South
The first listing for the ‘South’ is North Carolina. It’s a long listing of publications and some of the links don’t work. The organization isn’t particularly helpful.
Florida’s first website requires you to link first to a category and then to the source. The website loads very slowly.
The second website listed for Florida includes a paper on tree cost analysis, which we found interesting.
The second website also loaded slowly.
Missouri offers a series of papers, and you can’t get out of the website and back to the Extension List easily. We had to click again on the ‘Fruit Growing by Region’ link, which we had thankfully bookmarked.
Tennessee offers a long list of highly specific papers. There’s one publication they ask you to pay for. The Texas link brings up a list of papers on specific fruit growing topics. Each is not very long.And, finally, the broken Virginia link brings up an error message.