I've been working on filling out lots of order forms lately... many from our local Conservation Districts. In Michigan, every county has an established Conservation District that is dedicated to protecting our ecosystem. They are primarily funded from federal, state, and local sources, but they also all have Spring and Fall tree sale fundraisers. They sell all sorts of trees and plants - conifers, deciduous, shrubs, fruit trees, berries, native plants, etc. And they have AWESOME prices! I've decided to put in a few orders with our local and nearby county conservation districts this year to expand our home orchard and berry patches. I'm sure I'll also pick up some other trees and bushes from our local nursery, but for now, here is a list of my soon-to-be-added fruit trees...
1 Braeburn Apple Tree:
I LOVE Braeburn apples and just couldn't resist adding one to our orchard, even though we already have at least seven or eight apple trees (that I still haven't figured out all of the varieties... but I know that none of them are Braeburns)
1 Emperor Francis Sweet Cherry Tree ... and... 1 Bing Sweet Cherry Tree:
Since you need two varieties of sweet cherries to pollinate, I selected these two. Emperor Francis was actually my second pick during all of my research into different varieties last summer, so I was pretty excited to see it on the list for Shiawassee County. Bing cherries are so popular and do taste pretty good, too, so I figured I'd get a Bing as my second variety. I'm still hoping to find my top pick (Hedelfingen) somewhere, but these will do for now.
1 Balaton Tart Cherry Tree:
I figured if I was doing the sweet cherries this year, I may as well get a tart cherry tree, as well! Tart cherries are self-pollinating, so I only need one of them. This is a fairly new variety, but its supposed to be even better than the standard tart cherry, Montmorency.
1 Redhaven Peach Tree:
I waited and waited last year for our local nursery to get their stock in, but it was such a late shipment and I didn't feel comfortable planting that late in the season. I was so glad to see these listed as a variety to choose from... and for a third of the price as I would have paid last summer through our local nursery!!
We'll get to pick up the trees on April 16th and April 23rd (two different counties), so perfect timing for planting! And for celebrating Earth Day!! We started a tradition last year that we hope to always continue with Carson of planting a new tree or plant on Earth Day each year. It will be fun to help Carson learn about preserving our ecosystem and helping to beautify the Earth. Hopefully he will develop the same passion I have for this essential cause!
In addition to the trees, I've also ordered some berry bushes from one of the Conservation Districts...
Bluecrop and Blueray Blueberries:
I ordered 5 bushes total, 2 of one and 3 of the other. That should get my blueberry patch going pretty well. I do still want to pick up one or two Jersey bushes, but I'll get those from our local nursery. Now I've got to get on the ball and figure out where we're going to put the blueberries!
I've also submitted an order to Fedco Trees for some things that I see as garden essentials... I'll be splitting some things with some friends at work, since you have to order some in larger bulks. I'll list what I'm getting below.
Purple Passion Asparagus (25 crowns):
I've wanted to start some asparagus for a couple of years now, so I'm very excited to get it going this year finally! This variety is supposed to be sweeter and less stringy, so you can use more of the spear. They say they are tender enough to eat raw in salads, even. Yum!
Borderland Beauty Blackberry (1 plant):
This will add a little variety to my blackberry patch that I started last year with two Darrow plants from the local nursery.
Prelude Raspberry (4 plants):
This is an early variety ready in early July. I'm expanding our raspberries so that we'll have fresh raspberries over a long period of time with different ripening schedules.
Royalty Purple Raspberry (4 plants):
They just sounded too delicious not to order any and add to our raspberry patch. They are described as cohesive fairly firm large berries make outstanding jam and jelly and even better fresh eating. Their distinctive flavor is different from the red raspberries, with a hint of black-raspberry. Now doesn't that just make you want some, too?? :)