Welcome to a new and improved Tree Pick for 2009.
For the past five years, I have presented ornamental trees from around the world. However, this past year has brought about some very dramatic and life-altering events that are going to affect us all one way or another as we place food on our tables.
So, over the next 12 months, I will bring you a concept that is not new but is very pertinent for today: growing some of your own wholesome foods.
We live in one of the most wonderful climatic Mediterranean plant zones in the world, where the wide spectrum of what we can grow is enormous.
California has historically been known as the “bread-basket” for our nation, yet with the spiraling cost of everything, the prices are going through the roof and we must learn to grow more of what we eat locally.
We can save money, join in the health movement and leave a smaller footprint on our planet through planting an assortment of fruits and veggies right in our backyard.
Trees that bear fruit come from around the world and can range from herbal (bay leaves) and stone-fruits which are deciduous (like peaches and plums) to the exotics like avocado, cherimoya, banana and citrus of all types.
We can grow the larger varieties of trees if we have the space in our yards, or other smaller genetic dwarf types or bushes. “Let’s plant food, not lawns” is my concept.
We can espalier many types against a wall or tied to a chain-link fence and even create a fruiting arbor alley to walk beneath.
We can row crop certain types of fruiting trees as a hedge which can also act as a screening element if desired in the landscape.
Some fruit trees can live for many years in large containers as the French used in their orangeries.
They would grow exotics fruits and plants outside in the warm season and when the weather became inclement they would bring them into custom-built glass houses for the winter.
Why not make your own olive oil, dried apples, fresh orange juice, homemade guacamole, flambé pears with homemade ice cream or enjoy fresh fruit right off the trees?
The glory of this approach is having organic tree-ripened fruits that are more wholesome, without the use of harmful chemicals and available just outside your backdoor.
Fruit trees can be purchased throughout the year, but January is when we have the greatest selection of bare-root trees available.
Fruiting trees can be purchased either bare-root packaged or in containers from five-gallon nursery pots up to mature specimen 48-inch boxed trees complete with fruit.
I will also be approaching the concept of community gardens and bartering your extra bounty while becoming more conscious of what you eat.
Stay tuned, for we have an exciting adventure ahead of us, my friends, with the glory and joy of fruit trees in your garden setting.
Roger Boddaert, a landscape designer and horticultural consultant, can be contacted at (760) 728-4297.
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