Since so much of the installation was in 2008, 2009 was our first big fruit harvest and it kept me busy. Here is the run-down in chronological order:
Strawberries: I spent three weeks in May doing literally nothing but picking and processing strawberries! The harvest was huge and picking of them quite labor intensive. I had to pick every other day in order to keep up. They got turned into strawberry syrup (agave, not sugar sweetened) and canned or got turned into jam. We were making strawberry basil mojitos at La Scala and so they went there too. I turned that idea into strawberry basil jam–yum. This coming year I would like to turn some into pie filling. Planting all the strawberries in 2 of the raised beds was a serendipitous choice. Strawberries spread like wildfire.
Rhubarb: this was the first harvest year so the yield was light. Turned into a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam, a couple of rhubarb cakes, and a pie or two.
Ground Cherries: The plants are in the same family as tomatoes and tomatillos (nightshade family). These plants stay low to the ground and trail a bit. VERY prolific. It produces a small golden-colored “berry” in a paper husk (think tiny tomatillo). They have a great vanilla citrus flavor. Very easy to grow, tedious to pick. Made several pies and froze quite a bit and still left most of them sit there. Still have lots. Will not plant this year.
Raspberries: we had a small spring crop and then they came on heavy late summer all the way to frost. I picked and picked and picked and picked…….. I froze lots, made jam, and we ate plenty fresh. So delicious!
Blackberries–picked a handful only since they were planted fall 2008, but the canes went crazy and I am expecting this year will be a great crop.
Blueberries–planted this spring. Takes 6 years to get a real crop.
Apples–4 trees planted in 2008. All doing fine, but we will need to move them this spring. Much too close together and too close to the garden. Live and learn.
Peaches–2 planted in 2009
Pear—1 planted in 2009.
Our grapes–6 planted in 2008. Only 2 survive. Likely will plant more this year.