Help an Island newbie out.
I’m very new to the valley and have a quarter acre yard in Courtenay near the Puntledge.
I want to plant my front yard in berries (raspberries, blueberries, saskatoons, thimble berries and cherry trees) And the back yard into a fruit and nut orchard (apple, pear, plum, fig, hazelnuts, pecan).
What berry, fruit and nut varieties have folks planted that you feel are WINNERS?
What are your experiences of varieties that you planted that just didn’t work out?
What varieties have you planted that do well through the hot and dry?
Would love to learn from your experiences.
Welcome to the Island, and to the Comox Valley, Erin!
We have raspberries and hazelnuts on our property that I do not know the variety of - they were backyard hand-me-downs, so can’t be of any advice there. We do have TONS of thimbleberries, which are native here. I’m not sure that I would choose to plant them if they didn’t just grow wild on our property. The birds like them, but for us, I find that they are okay to eat as you browse around, but they squash very easily, aren’t very juicy, and you would need to have a huge area given over to them if you wanted enough to do anything with. We actually have a huge area of them because they came up where we left nature to take its course, and I don’t bother much with them because the cultivated fruits are much more productive. They are very weedy so difficult to manage too.
Hope that helps a wee bit!
Welcome to the valley! Just one question…how close are you to the river and forest? We recently moved from Robert Lang and we backed onto the forest and Puntledge River. If you have fruit and berries you will get deer, mink, black bears, birds,rabbits, some raccoons, and of course the odd rat. The mink would take a bite out of 2 or 3 apples a day and leave the rest of the apple…it was infuriating. But it was also fascinating to see wildlife so close. It was a trade off for me but I tell you to let you be aware. Mama and her two bear cubs eating apples one evening was definitely a sight to see! She left after they got their fill with no harm to anyone or anything, but again, it can be intimidating…lol.
Good luck! Nature and gardening…its tricky!
This is an awesome reality check! Thank you!
We are one set of houses away from the park and about a 3 minute walk to the river.
Hmmmm. Will consider these excellent pieces of information.
Thank you for the advise on the thimbleberries!
Plans now changed. Thank you!
Watch the salmon berries too! I planted a small whip in a side woodland garden and it turned into a very large plant with a huge root system that is still producing green tops after I dug up the original plant because it got too big. However, if anyone has bank stability problems, salmon berries would work well!
The salmon berries can make a good hedge though. And the birds love them!
We live just north of Courtenay and have clay soil and lots of sun. We are unable to grow raspberries because we have a fungus in the soil. However, our blueberries, goose berries and black currant are doing very well. We have ‘Duke’ and ‘Blue Crop’ blueberries. I have no idea about which variety of goose berry we have. They were here when we moved in.
Five years ago we planted apple and plum trees with mixed success. The Satsuma plum and Italian plum both got black rot and we took them out. The Nadia plum (plum-cherry hybrid) is doing well, but needs a polinator after the other two plums died. The apples we planted are: Liberty, Akane, King, Melrose and Chehalis - we like the less sweet varieties. The Liberty and King have been good producers, the others less so. The Liberty, Melrose and Chehalis don’t like the winter humidity and their trunks have cracked. That may be due to our clay, poor draining soil. We may have to replace them.
You need several varieties of hazelnut to pollinate each other. We have ‘Jefferson’, ‘Eta’ and ‘Theta’. Jefferson produces large hazelnuts and are my favourite; Eta and Theta produce slightly smaller nuts.They are all disease resistant. We replanted a few years ago with the disease resistant varieties after our original trees succumbed to the blight that went through the Valley.
We have a Texas Overbearing Fig (Ficus carica), which is a smaller variety (8-10 feet) that grows well in a large pot, but may be grown in the ground. It is hardy to -17C, but we roll it into the greenhouse during the winter. It produces well.