Enjoying the “Fruits” of my Labour

For years I’ve been obsessed with growing fabulous, fresh fruit right here in Central Alberta. Not just saskatoons and strawberries – but grapes, plums, cherries, watermelons – yes, even kiwis and apricots. And I want to grow it all in my own backyard. Well, I can’t say I’ve got all those things checked off the list yet, but this year I’ve gotten closer than ever before.

This has been a fantastic season for growing fruit. After starting from scratch 5 years ago, my backyard is now producing all kinds of different delicious fruit. One of my personal favorites has been my Pembina Plums. We had about 5 gallons of these amazing plums this year. So juicy and sweet! I don’t think there is a fruit I enjoy more!

Pembina PlumsThen there are my “Chums” – my Cherry Plums. This is the first year that they have produced, and they are quite a nice little treat.

Manor ChumsThis variety is the “Manor Chum”.¬†They are greenish-purple on the outside, and deep purple on the inside. Very tasty.

Manor Cherry PlumAnother highlight for me this year has been my raspberries. My Wyoming Black Raspberry grew like crazy – so much so that I think I’ll have to cut them right down to the ground this fall! They have almost overgrown the north side of my greenhouse! But they sure produce a lot of raspberries! And they are the perfect compliment to my “Fall Gold” Raspberries. These yellow raspberries are so mild! It’s all the flavor of a raspberry without the ‘raspy-ness’!

Fall Gold and Wyoming Black RaspberriesOf course, my haskaps really started to produce this year. I was amazed at how densely these little berries covered the branches of my little bushes. The kids loved picking these for a little snack. (And I’m excited for when my wife bakes up a batch of haskap berries muffins this winter!

Haskap BerriesMy grapes continue to ripen – I expect to harvest them in a couple of weeks. (My grape syrup from last year has just about run out.)

Valient GrapesMy muskmelons are getting to be a good size too. (Never heard of muskmelons? Think cantaloupe.) They got a late start, but I think they’ll be big enough for a tasty dessert or breakfast in the next days.

MuskmelonAnd finally, another fruit that I’ve highly enjoyed has been my cherries. I believe I had three varieties produce this year – hoping for another two to be mature by next year.

Sour CherriesSo it’s been a pretty great year for fruit. And hopefully next year will be even better! My kiwis have grown like never before (their vines have reached my garage roof), my apricots are coming along nicely, my blueberries are surviving (though not exactly thriving), and my hazelnut tree is slowly making progress. So we shall see what next year brings…

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9 Responses to Enjoying the “Fruits” of my Labour

  1. This all look so yummy! You sure proof it again, that it is possoble to grow delicious fruits here. Awesome pictures, make my mouth watering.

  2. Kristen says:

    Do you have any tips on growing Haskap? We had a ton of blooms but only ended up with a handful of berries. Birds? Lack of bees? Cross pollinators? I’m very new to this. Any tips would be appreciated.

  3. Isaac Day says:

    Do you have your plums and apricots planted in direct sun south facing? I want to plant plums and apricots, but I am worried about early blooming and a cold spring killing the blooms. What did you do?

  4. Crystal says:

    Hi,
    Do you know what is pollinating your Manor chum? Is it the Pembina Plum? I would like to purchase one but am not clear on what I need to cross-pollinate.

    • Dave says:

      Crystal: Sandcherries are the best pollinators for chums. Native plums (not hybrids) like the Canada Plum or American Plum work well also.

  5. Kelly says:

    Where can you buy arctic kiwis in central alberta, please?

  6. anita says:

    Hi , lovely harvest! Amazing! Where can you buy chum trees in Calgary? Also are your raspberries in a greenhouse?

    I have compass plum and Pembina plum, but every year they get this awful bug that curls their leaves and leaves the tree looking ill. and no fruit is produced. Next year i am doing the dormant spray on it. Has this happened to you.

    as well I have arctic kiwi, and everywhere they say they are vigorous growers but mine which is 6 years or so, has not grown at all in all these years. Got a few , like 6 kiwi’s this year lolol

    But it has not grow at all in all these years. doesn’t get the pink leaves and has dead branches, am I supposed to cut those off.

    • Dave says:

      Anita – Hmmm, I have not had bugs in my plum trees. From what I understand, the ‘compass’ plum is actually a chum – a cherry-plum. A possible reason that you’re not getting any fruit is that your two trees flower at different times. The compass plum blooms later than the Pembina and so you might not be getting any pollination. My kiwis seem to be hit-and-miss – it seems to depend on the year. And perhaps your location isn’t ideal? What variety do you have?

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