Row by Row Episode 2: Fruit Trees & Perennials on the Homestead

Fruit Trees & Perennials

On this week’s show, Greg and Travis talk about growing fruit trees and perennials on the homestead. They discuss many different types of fruit trees and bushes that they like to grow on their own homestead. These include mulberries, blackberries, blueberries, figs, and muscadines. Many of these fruits require very little maintenance once established. In early spring, mulberries are usually the first to produce fruit. These grow on a tree and look much like blackberries, but they don’t have the larger seeds like blackberries and tend to be a little sweeter. Although wild, thorned blackberries are very prevalent in the south, they prefer growing the thornless varieties. The thornless varieties are not quite as sweet as the wild varieties, but they are larger and much easier to harvest. When growing thornless blackberries, you may want to consider some type of trellising system to contain the plants. Once they become established they are pest, disease, and insect resistant. They guys like to use them to make wine, jam, and pies out of them. Fig trees are also a great addition to any homestead. Greg talks about the fig tree program at Louisiana State University and how new varieties are being developed for improved production and better flavor. Most of the older trees you see are the Brown Turkey variety, but some of the new varieties make larger, more attractive fruits.

Show and Tell Segment

In the show and tell segment, the guys talk about lettuce that they’ve been harvesting from their gardens. They mention the Salanova varieties that are highly acclaimed, although they do tend to have some issues with the bottom beginning to rot if left in the ground too long. However, they seem to be very insect and disease resistant. There are also many varieties such as Adriana which provide a great substitute with a more affordable seed price. The guys have some Blue Belle variety of potatoes that they have harvested from the garden. They have had a bumper crop of potatoes during this growing season. Travis has a Bravo variety of radish that was harvested from his garden. This variety is a purple radish that has a really pretty inside. Greg shows off an eggplant variety that they had started trialing in their demonstration garden at the SunBelt Expo several years ago. Unlike your regular eggplants, this variety is called Ichiban or Japanese eggplant. A more slender eggplant that offers great flavor, Greg uses it mainly for frying. The tool of the week is the new single tine cultivator that works perfectly for close weeding and cultivating in the garden area.

Viewer Questions Segment

In the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about cover crops and squash bugs. They talk about their preferred cover crops and what time of year is ideal for growing each. Greg has become a big advocate for cover crops in the garden because they add many benefits to your soil nutrients and reduce nematode pressure. They like to use cover crops like Broadleaf Mustard, Sunn Hemp, Hairy Vetch, or Crimson Clover. When using cover crops some of them can be invasive so you should incorporate them back into the soil before they reseed in the garden. They also discuss controlling squash bugs with all-natural and organic insecticides. These type of controls require spraying the plants when they are in the young stage and preventing adults from establishing in the population. Neem Oil, Spinosad, and Pyrethrin can all rotated around and used to control the squash bugs in the vegetable garden.

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