The Fresh Chef: Adding Soft Fruit to the Garden

Adding fruit to your garden, can be surprisingly simple. Don’t worry. Even apartment dwellers can add fruit to their container gardens. And, frankly, I think fruits are a heck of a lot easier to grow than most vegetables. So dig around on the internet and let’s add some fruit.

Last year, through my own clerical error we planted 75 raspberries, 50 strawberries, 16 blueberry bushes, 9 currants, 6 gooseberries, 5 GOLDEN Rings! 4 elderberries and a partridge in a pear tree all in one week.

Okay there wasn’t a partridge in a pear tree… the mini orchard is this spring and it will be 4 ducks not a single partridge. What in tar-nation is a partridge, anyway?!

Sorry. (Ahem)

We planted like mad and even used work lights in the strawberry patch to plant after my husband got home from work at midnight.

Here’s a better way.

1. Know your hardiness zone.

Click here if your unsure.

2. Decide what you want.

Soft fruit:

Strawberries- click here for container gardeners

Cranberries-no bog needed

Lingonberry- no need to travel to “that Swedish store with the blue and yellow sign.” Make your own lingonberry jam .. or chutney to go with pork chops. Oh my!

Blueberries- high bush, like the ones in the store, low bush, sweeter like found in the wild

Huckleberries- close relative of the blueberry

Raspberries – a container post to come on these

Blackberries- there are some thornless choices, dig around

Elderberries – for the jam or winemaker

Gooseberries- thorny, thorny, thorny- delicious. You know how they tell you to plant nasty bushes under your windows to prevent break- ins? These are great. Oh, plus they prefer a little bit of shade.

Currants- oh, what I wouldn’t give for one of those little lemonade flavored white ones right now?!  Partial shade tolerant and very hardy.

Sea Buckthorn- hardy enough for zone 3-9. Super high in Vitamin C. Nobody is getting Scurvy with these around.

Aronias- another super high Vitamin C, super hardy choice

Serviceberries- allegedly taste like blueberries, never tried them. Another high in what? yes, Vitamin C. So when the trains stop shipping you your orange juice…

Goumis- okay, I have no idea what on earth that is except that I believe it is a more southern fruit

Blue Honeysuckle- zones 2-8. Yeah that’s pretty darn hardy.

3.Place your order soon.


I’ve had success with Pense Nursery — a family run farm with super prices, knowledgable and great service. But, they don’t have any of the odder choices.  They lovingly ship the healthiest plants I have ever seen.  This operation is small. Call in the evening to place your order, give them a chance to come in from the fields.  They offer more than is on their site so ASK.

Raintree Nursery– healthy plants, informative catalog plus they have all the fruits on the list and more. I have no clue about the service other than delivery because I never called

Nourse — just the basics, wonderful charts to help you choose, will pleasantly answer all my moronic questions. Someday, I will take a pilgrimage there.

Do you own research, but get your orders in.
Everybody is gardening this year.

4. Just remember to make sure you don’t have them all delivered at the same damn time.

So what do you want in your garden?

Honeybees, anyone?

How about Mason Bees for pollination?


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I use the raspberries not only as food, but as a hedgerow to keep the deer out. Each year I add more. Deer can jump high or long, but not both.
    Raspberries can be trellised like grapes for easier picking. Cornell recently added a nice nearly thornless daughter of the delicious Canby called Encore.

    If you are not interested in lugging 80 pounds of honey around and your just want pollination, look into mason bees. It’s a little late in the season for shipment, but you can put out the little orchard bee home to attract the ones in your neighborhood.

  2. WOW, my brain froze up at “75 raspberries.” Clearly I’ve been thinking too small!!

    I have considered honeybees, but I haven’t gotten serious about it yet. One of these years I’ll probable set up a hive down in the orchard.

    I’ve never heard of Sea Buckthorn but I’m off to look it up now….

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