Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trees for the future

I have been contemplating how best to use some money that I received for my birthday, and what I decided on was to purchase some fruit and nut trees for our property.  Trees in and of themselves aren't really necessary, because our one acre is almost entirely wooded, with native species. We also have two plum trees, one that produces dark purple plums and one that grows plums that are peachy-blush in colour.

I think that fruit and nut trees are a really great investment in a property, and one that I've been waiting to make until I was living in a place that I knew I would want to stay.  The idea of having a fresh harvest of our own organic fruit each year is a beautiful one, and I love the idea of being able to trade or share our bounty with others.  As a result, I've been trying to decide on varieties that are less frequently seen in our area.  Things that are a little unusual will be fun for us to try, and I also think they may be more desirable to trade.  I'd love to see more of a barter economy here on PEI, where we can share and trade our own goods with those of others. (Too bad you aren't living here, Jackie, or I would definitely be trading you fruit for your honey when you get it flowing!) Food security is very important to me too, and a perennial crop of nutritious food that is a source of vitamins and protein and good fats seems like a good idea.

So I found a nursery in Ontario that will ship to us in the spring, and I just submitted my order, which I am really excited about!

It was a little pricey but I think trees are a wonderful way to keep giving back to our family year after year.  So really, it's the birthday gift that I will receive every year, for the rest of our years here on this homestead!

I have been looking for a Canadian supplier of pawpaws, and while there are a few, the other two I contacted didn't respond.  I can't wait to see how these turn out, never having eaten a pawpaw in my life! They're supposed to be like a cross between a banana and a mango with a very tropical scent and taste but they can grow in our zone 5b climate.  They are supposed to be anti-carcinogenic and amazing sources of vitamins and minerals.  I'm intrigued!

Photo of pawpaws on a tree. I also fully intend to sing to my children, particularly the youngest, about being "way down yonder in the pawpaw patch".  If I'm honest, that might be a strong reason for choosing this fruit!

I was also thrilled to find a pecan variety that is hardy in our area.  This is by far our favourite type of nut so I ordered two for what will hopefully one day be a decent crop. We have native hazelnuts in our area but I have never seen the fruit at maturity and I assume they all get devoured by wildlife before most humans have the privilege of tasting them.  So I ordered two hazelnuts as well that I hope to plant near our house and keep under a watchful eye.

Finally, as a treat, I got a small Natalina fig tree to grow in a container. I think that indoor fig trees are beautiful anyway, but if one day I'm blessed enough to taste a fig from my own tree, it will be a truly wonderful thing and a reminder of my time in my beloved Italy.

I also have plans for multi-graft apples and pears, hardy kiwi, and a lot of berry bushes.  I'm not sure how many I can get in this year, but I wanted to start with the trees because you really can't plant them early enough and I'd love to see a little return from them, at least a few of them, in the next five years or so.  I'll update as my darling seedlings arrive!

What are you planting this year to promote food security for your family?


  1. What an excellent way to spend birthday money, and I'm so glad you found the varieties you were wanting. The last time I had a pawpaw was when I lived in Arkansas. Delicious! I hope to get some too, but it won't be this year. I agree they are worth the cost and good trees from a good nursery are worth the price.

  2. I wondered if you had encountered pawpaws, Leigh. I always love to hear about the things that you can forage from the wild, and when I read about different fruits, particularly, I wonder about people like you that have such a different growing season. We are blessed with fruits that grow well up here too, that some more southern climes can't experience quite as locally, like currants so there are certainly blessings in each region. :) I felt that it was worth the initial expense. I just hope that I can keep them alive!!