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If you wanted to eat fresh fruit all year round what would you plant?

 
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That’s a current goal of mine. I was wondering if anyone else is working on it and how they are doing. I’m in zone 8b so I’ve really got a lot of options.

So far I’ve got:
Jan-a Murcot tangerine, Meyer lemon and limequat
Early Summer- strawberries
June/July- blackberry, Sam Huston peach and Anna apple
August- Barlet pear
I forgot to write down- 3 different figs, some blueberries, raspberries and seedlings of most everything in the grocery store/ neighbors trees
 
master gardener
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If course, the devil is in the details ...  how much fruit.   For the winter, I would favor strawberries in a high tunnel in your area during the winter.
 
pollinator
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Mexicola avacados and citrus for winter in zone 8b. Strawberries for early spring, Blue and blackberries, Figs, mulberries, pears and peaches in summer, pomegranates. Persimmons into fall and early winter.
 So much can grow in 8b.
 
Dave Luke
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John- I know the trees always keep you guessing if there will be fruit. Your idea about the tunnel sounds neat but our winters lately have been in the 80s with overnight freezing back to 80 so I would worry about cooking them.
Ralph-I have seedlings of most of those but untill they are big enough to go in the yard they don’t count. I’ve just gotten into trees and am so exited to try all of those especially the avadocos . They’re just so expensive. All of the trees I’ve got so far have been under 20 bucks and I’m still worried about killing them. Mabey when I have a bit more experience.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Dave,

I agree. I almost expanded that post to comment that most of the time the covering would need to be rolled up or removed.  It would be useful only for the occasional dip or wind protection.
 
gardener
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Here in zone 8a, we plant a lot of storage fruits that carry until spring or so. Storage apples, pears (asian especially but also traditional european), quince, persimmon, and medlar. Silverberry in spring, and rhubarb. Then this carries you into summer fruits. Then in fall there's the typical late season plums, apples, pears, etc, and it starts over again
 
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Without some kind of boundary this question doesn't make a lot of sense. If you can plant anything you want, then plant what you like to eat and as much variety as you can and care to. If the only concern is having fresh fruit year round, and you're limited in any way on what or how many plants you can grow, then grow apples. You can plant one tree and graft several varieties into it so that you'll have regular access to fruit. You can get varieties that fruit as early as June, and you can get varieties that hold good fruit into January and February (weather permitting), and you can get varieties that store in good condition for the four months in between. There isn't really anything that's going to produce fruit before that (in the northern hemisphere). Haskaps or strawberries might gain you a few weeks, maybe, but won't be as productive. There's a reason why early homesteaders relied on apples for food and alcohol.

If you don't want to eat apples for 12 months a year, then we're back to my previous statement: grow whatever you like. I'm growing a large variety, and that variety ensures that something fresh will be available most months of the year without much effort or planning on my part. Grafting is a great way to extend the harvest from a single tree, regardless of species; simply graft multiple varieties that ripen at different times. Planting one tree in full sun and one in part shade is another way to extend the harvest of a particular variety, as the one that gets less sun will ripen more slowly. Fruits don't ripen on a set schedule. That means you can't plant fruit according to some desired schedule and expect them to stick to that schedule from year to year with changing climates, weather patterns, access to sunlight, protection from wind, etc. But we can manipulate many of the relevant factors (sunlight, temerpature, etc.) to extend our harvest.

Fruits from high tunnels produce so few nutrients that you might as well eat cardboard, in my opinion. I don't remember the exact numbers, but you can get them from Jo Robinson's Eating on the Wild Side, which tracks how the nutritional quality of food has declined with each new "innovation" that's designed to produce more food, or to produce food out of season. Many of the most important nutrients in food are produced in response to environmental stressors like sunlight, cold, wind, predation, etc. The filtered light of a greenhouse creates fruits that are all calories and no nutrition, which means they'll make you fat at the same time that they make you malnourished. You're much better off eating whatever's in season, even if that something isn't fruit: rhubarb, asparagus, hostas, hop shoots, bamboo shoots, greens, tree flowers, tree sap, sunkchokes/other overwintered roots and tubers, etc. It isn't just that we have traditionally eaten those foods when we did because that's all there was to eat, though we did, but we also ate them in season because they were specialized by evolution to produce the nutrients we needed under the environmental conditions that exist at the time of year they're available. Lycopene protects us from the sun, and lycopene producing fruits ripen when the sun is at its strongest. Gastronomically, we may enjoy eating (really shitty) tomatoes during winter, but nutritionally it makes no sense. We don't need lycopene in winter; we aren't being bombarded by strong sun. We can produce tomatoes in winter but there are much more appropriate (and better tasting) things that we could eat instead at that time of year (i.e. root crops and greens are at their sweetest in response to the cold.)
 
gardener
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silverberry and goumi will help fill in the springtime gap.
 
pollinator
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Being in Hawaii, year around fruit is no problem.  My homestead farm supports plenty —- banana, papaya,  jackfruit, lilikoi, avocado, eggfruit, citrus, guavas, loquat, persimmon, jaboticoba, siranam cherry, poha, ground cherry, strawberry, raspberry, pineapple, sapote, low chill apples, low chill peach, coconut. Plus monstera and thimbleberry which we don’t eat. (I don’t think I’ve missed any on the list.) With my excess I can trade with others growing at lower elevations and get rambutan, mango, lychee, longan, tamarind, Brazilian cherry. I could grow blueberries and grapes but they are a lot of work and high disease problems, so I don’t bother. There are other tropical fruits that I could get but don’t because we aren’t particularly enamored by them.......cherimoya, bilimba, mangosteen, starfruit, star apple, abiu, and more. Noni grows here but I just use it to feed to the chickens.

Some of these fruits produce year around. Others are seasonal. The one fruit that we never, never are without is banana. I have dozens of large clumps, so even when things are producing slowly, one stalk will have bananas somewhere on the farm. This is the one fruit we eat daily.

The guavas, thimbleberry, and loquat are the only ones that grow “wild” on my place. All the others were planted.
 
pollinator
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I envy people that have growing seasons that allow ANY kind of food production year round.  Food storage is, to me, the most cumbersome, work-like, boring, time-consuming part of the process of feeding oneself here in WI, but if you want to eat fruits and vegetables for more than a few months a year, it is a necessity.  

Su ba, I especially envy you.  I visited Maui for a week once, and I truly believe Hawaii is heaven on earth.  I've been lots of places, none compare with Hawaii.
 
pollinator
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Here apples and pears and then greenhouse strawberries, (outside strawberries are not around until mid June) but you would still be out of luck between March and May
 
Dave Luke
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Mathew-
I’m sorry I wasn’t clear, this mostly just a for fun idea and I was wondering if anyone else was doing the same. I am also planting veggies, but to walk outside anytime of year and pluck something off the tree is something else. Plus everybody in my family loves fruit.
 
Dave Luke
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Su ba- That is an awesome list! I’m really jealous of those coconuts.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Dave Luke wrote:Mathew-
I’m sorry I wasn’t clear, this mostly just a for fun idea and I was wondering if anyone else was doing the same. I am also planting veggies, but to walk outside anytime of year and pluck something off the tree is something else. Plus everybody in my family loves fruit.



Oh, for sure. I get it. I'm missing my fresh fruit right now. I guess the point I was really trying to make us that nature doesn't follow our tightly tuned schedules. What you plant isn't as nearly important as where you plant it and how you manage it, both on the plant and after you pick it.

It's hard to get new fruit before June. There are definitely some things that hold fruit into winter fairly well if you're looking for stuff that you go outside and pick rather than pick and bring inside to store. For apple varieties, I'd check out Skillcult on YouTube... holding fruit through winter is one thing he's selecting and breeding for. Persimmons are another one that will hold fruit even through freezes. There aren't a lot of fresh eating citrus that would work outside in such a climate, but bringing plants inside during the winter is a possible alternative. It really all comes down to what concessions you want to make. I will eventually have a greenhouse on our south wall that will capture waste heat from our Rocket Mass Heater, and I'm planning to experiment with mangoes, jackfruit, avocadoes, papaya, and citrus because I enjoy those things. But at the end of the day, it's because I can, and not because I think there's a benefit to doing so. It's basically junk food, but I'm growing it to be junk food. Because fruit is delicious.
 
pollinator
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I'd have to move. :p
 
Su Ba
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Elle, that’s what we did. I’m originally from New Jersey.
 
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Locally, this is possible. I haven't got there yet myself (still flatting, so perennial fruits are whatever the landlord has), but between my garden, farmers, and foraging, I'm able to keep myself in fresh fruit year-round:

Winter:
- June: apple, 'Fuyu' persimmon, 'Hayward' kiwifruit, pomegranite, red cherry guava, lemon
- July: 'Hayward' kiwifruit, grapefruit, mandarin, lemon
- August: avocado, 'Naval' orange, mandarin, lemon

Spring:
- September: avocado, 'Naval' orange, mandarin, lemon
- October: avocado, cherry (early), cherimoya, mandarin, early loquat, lemon
- November: avocado, loquat, strawberry, currant, lemon

Summer:
- December: avocado, loquat, strawberry, raspberry, plum, blueberry, lemon
- January: avocado, apple, peach, plum, nectarine, apricot, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry
- February: avocado, apple, passionfruit, fig (breba crop), grape, peach

Autumn:
- March: apple, pear, fig, passionfruit, feijoa, blueberry, grape, peach, strawberry (autumn varieties), kiwiberry, red kiwifruit, cranberry, lemon
- April: apple, pear, feijoa, cherry guava, chilean guava, fig, kiwiberry, gold kiwifruit, cranberry, lemon
- May: apple, feijoa, persimmon, 'Hayward' (green) kiwifruit, lemon


It's autumn now, and just getting on feijoa season (one of the best seasons!). A local saying amongst younger folks is "friends don't let friends buy feijoas"--you nearly always know someone who has an overproductive tree! These plants produce heaps of fruit, even in droughty conditions. Here in NZ, they are a very popular fruit; we grow more of them than anyone else in the world, despite them being native to Brazil/Columbia. They apparently grow well on the west coast of the US up through Portland, so do check them out if you haven't heard of them. I believe they are marketed in the US under the name 'pineapple guava'. Delicious!
 
pollinator
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Great lists, I'm in 8b as well and I'm looking forward to the point where we have fresh year round fruit on the property. We are adding citrus this year, Meyer lemon and some kind of mandarin.

We love feijoa (pineapple guava). I had planted some here, but they didn't get enough water. Hopefully, I can get some more this year. The deer don't like them, so that's great, but the birds love to eat the blossoms.
 
M Broussard
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Great lists, I'm in 8b as well and I'm looking forward to the point where we have fresh year round fruit on the property. We are adding citrus this year, Meyer lemon and some kind of mandarin.

We love feijoa (pineapple guava). I had planted some here, but they didn't get enough water. Hopefully, I can get some more this year. The deer don't like them, so that's great, but the birds love to eat the blossoms.



Stacy--that's interesting to hear. I've seen them growing with zero irrigation in Christchurch, which only gets 59cm (23in) of rain per annum. It looks like parts of Southern Oregon do get somewhat less than this, though! I wonder where between 47cm (16in) and 59cm the critical water point is. They are certainly not water-hungry plants.

As for the birds eating the blossoms--many folks here think this as well, but feijoa is actually bird-pollinated. Unless you see the birds actually ripping bits off, they are very likely doing good work for you! Here, introduced starlings and house sparrows have learned to pollinate feijoa (many of our native birds will do it as well, as they are nectar-feeders, like tui), which produces copious amounts of nectar to attract them. Bumble bees can also do the job, but they're a bit less efficient than birds are.
 
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Skandi said

  you would still be out of luck between March and May  

 That's when the non fruit rhubarb comes in!
I would struggle to get fruit year round here: although very mild, we just don't get the warmth in summer for top fruit.  I've got some early ripening apples, cherries, plums and damsons, but even after ten years they still don't produce much.  However berries and currants do really well from about July, the cooler temperatures bring out the flavours and they like the plentiful moisture.  I was hoping that Myrtus ugni, murtillo would do well for me, but it is just too late ripening.  I'm trying to find warmer spots outside, but have just planted some in the (poly)tunnel and am more optimistic with those.  I nearly got an apricot in the tunnel last year so fingers crossed this year.
I also use Yacon tubers as a fruit over winter.  It is a bit similar in taste to pears so can be used cooked in puddings like those.
 
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