Poof! You Are a Scientist: Or Adventures in Beginning Gardening

| 4/3/2014 11:14:00 AM

Tags: beginning gardening, stewardship, fruit growing, Raintree Nursery, Washington,

Young blossoms on a treeThe first thing you need to do to succeed in fruit gardening is to narrow down what you are going to attempt. Start small. What should you grow when you are starting out?

The trick is to ask the right questions. We have learned that the best way to help people is not to answer their questions if they are asking the wrong questions but instead suggest the right question. Here is the most commonly asked wrong question:

“My favorite fruit is <fruit>. What variety of <fruit> has the best flavor?” The better question to ask is: ”Which fruits are the easiest for a beginner in my area to grow and fruit successfully?” The answer, of course, will vary depending on what part of the country you are in and upon your specific conditions.

Now, gentle readers, please know that by next week I am going to start giving you useful info about what to do in your fruit garden. Don't be too put off that I am starting with what not to do and what not to expect.

When you read a gardening catalog, you see wonderful pictures of fruits and vegetables, and you are told that they are “disease resistant” and “easy to grow” and “delicious.” You are led to believe that if you buy these things, you will succeed and that in fact what you purchase is guaranteed to grow. Forget all that. It is not true. Buying plants is not like buying other consumer goods like appliances or clothing. In fact the only thing that is really guaranteed is that you will fail. A lot.

The important thing to understand is that when you plant something you are planting a living thing and all living things die sooner or later, and the less you know when you start, the sooner more things will die. Conversely (fortunately) the more you know, the longer plants will live and the more they will thrive.

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