The fruits of my labor

Applesauce, blueberries, and blackberries

Applesauce, blueberries, and blackberries

As the summer winds to an end and I have time to reflect on my gardening efforts over the last few months, I’ve come to realize that there are some things I enjoy growing much more than others. At the top of my list of fruits and berries. I’m lucky enough to have enough space for a small orchard as well as for berry plants, primarily strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. I love to eat the fruit, as do the kids, and it is great for preserving. This year I made a large batch of applesauce from Gravenstein apples.  I have two Gravenstein apple trees in my yard.  The trees are pretty young so I don’t get enough fruit to preserve.  We timed a trip to Lake Chelan this year to coincide with the Gravenstein harvest.  We all had a great time at the lake for a few days and then brought home two big boxes of apples for sauce.  For those of you in the Puget Sound area, I highly recommend a late summer trip out that way.  It’s close enough for an easy drive but the climate is totally different and the amount of fruit grown and harvested there is pretty amazing. 

You can also see in the first picture a bowl of blueberries.  We still have blueberries ripening on a late season blueberry bush.  We’ve had ripe blueberries in our yard for over two months now, making this a great year for berries.  We can never get enough blueberries and I plan to put in three new bushes in a spot where we recently removed a huge, overgrown rhododendron. The blackberries above we picked from some wild blackberry patches in our neighborhood.  We have a few raspberries ripening now as well.

Grapes in September

Grapes in September

Our grape vine is also doing very well this year. I can’t remember what variety this is, but the grapes are a nice smaller seedless grape with a light red color.  I’m getting a bit worried that the birds will swoop in and take them all as they did last year, so we are trying to figure out how to protect them with bird netting, which is easier said than done considering that the grapes are growing on a giant pergola. Wish us luck with this!

Yellow Doll watermelon

Yellow Doll watermelon

Although summer was quite warm in the Puget Sound area this year, typically it is not.  Our greenhouse allows us to grow some things that need more heat than we typically have.  Here you can see the Yellow Doll watermelon that we grew.  I’ve never successfully grown a watermelon here before so now I know we can.  The Yellow Doll has a nice taste, but it is seedier than I liked and the vine was prone to mildew problems. I think I’ll try a different variety next year. We also grew a few varieties of cantaloupe which did well.

I’m really looking forwarding to gardening as we transition from summer to fall.  I’m taking a few months off from work and will have plenty of time to spend in the garden.  I can’t wait and will certainly keep everyone posted on our progress.


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6 Responses to The fruits of my labor

  1. Derek says:

    I’m awfully happy about the onions as well…as long as Andrew doesn’t keep pulling them up before they’re ripe!

  2. KitsapFG says:

    Totally agree about the trip to the central Washington area for some good fruit options. I just returned from a quick trip to Spokane to see my parents and I always make a stop at the big produce barn at Thorp on the way home to buy whatever fruit is in season. I particularly try to make a trip in early to mid September to ensure I can get a box or two of fruit for canning. This trip I bought one box of peaches and another one of pears. Central Washington fruit and produce is astounding. Having lived there in for almost 19 years, I appreciate the growing season they have (very warm for very long). Its the only thing I really do miss about living in central Washington actually!

  3. Jason B says:

    we had the same experience with our blueberries this year, extremely long fruiting season. couldn’t tell if the plants had just reached maturity, or if it was something about the heat right at the beginning of their ripening period.

    there are definitely bird nets that will hit that size of covering – I have a friend with a 20 ft. fig tree that he keeps covered year round with netting.

  4. I think we’ll make our end of summer trip out to Chelan a family tradition. We’ve done it two years in a row and are definitely planning to go back next year.

    Jason, we’ve got a big enough net. We just can’t get it over the pergola. The netting sticks to the pergola and vines and the pergola is 30′ long, 13′ deep, and 8′ tall, so even with a ladder it is a real trick to try to get it covered. Glad you had great luck with your blueberries as well.

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