Imagine turning your backyard into an edible garden—fresh stalks of asparagus that go from your garden to the grill. Plump blueberries, black and red raspberries are perfect for baking pies, muffins and scones. Picking juicy apples, cherries, pears and plums right in your own backyard!
Spring is here, and that means it’s time for green thumbs and taste buds to look forward to a garden full of delights. Purdue Extension-Porter County presents their Annual Fruit Tree Sale. The public can pre-order through the Purdue Extension-Porter County office and then pick up their order at the 4-H Building at the Porter County Fairgrounds on Friday, April 6 from 12:00 – 2:00 pm. Pre-order forms are available online or at the Extension office, and pre-orders with payment will be accepted through April 1, 2012 at the Porter County Extension Office, at 155 Indiana Avenue, Ste. 301 in Valparaiso.
If you do not pre-order your trees from Purdue Extension, and would just like to shop at the Annual Tree Sale, the public is invited to the 4-H Building at the Porter County Fairgrounds where Purdue Extension joins RC&D on Saturday, April 7, from 7:30am to 11:00am. Master gardeners from the Porter County Master Gardener Association and Purdue Extension professionals will be on site to give advice and answer questions on how to plant and care for the trees.
This sale features carefully selected tree stock to help beginning and experienced home gardeners plant the perfect edible garden. Gardeners can choose from a variety of flowering ornamentals and fruit trees that are easy to care for, bear delicious fruit and grow well in our USDA hardiness zone.
Choosing the right fruit tree for your yard can be a daunting task if you haven’t done it before. But Lyndsay Ploehn, the Agriculture and Natural Resources educator at Purdue Extension-Porter County, has made it much easier. She selected fruit trees that require a lot less maintenance than orchard stock, such as apple scab resistant trees, and dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties which make harvesting much easier.
So-called self-fruitful trees don’t need pollinator trees to bear fruit. So you can simply buy one–that includes Harglow and Wilson Delicious apricots, Hardired nectarines, and Redhaven peaches. The Harglow apricot tree is compact, disease-resistant and late blooming so it avoids late spring frost. The Hardired nectarine is productive, reliable and carefree. The dwarf Redhaven peach tree produces large, spectacular, award-winning fruit and is perfect for fresh snacks, canning or freezing. Tart cherries are self-fruitful, too, unlike sweet cherries.
Pears, plums, sweet cherries and apple trees need pollinators. Sweet cherries like Stark Gold Sweet, Royalton Sweet and Bing have to be pollinated. Stark Gold Sweet is a golden color, hardy and bird resistant. Some say the Royalton Sweet cherry is rivaled only by Bing; it has the biggest and best fruit, with excellent flavor and crack resistance. For sweet, juicy pears choose from Moonglow and Starking Delicious –both are blight resistant and are good pollinators to each other. Ozark Premier, a giant Japanese plum, is best paired with Starking Delicious plum. It is also disease resistant and is the most consistently heavy –bearing of the dessert plums.
As for apples, the sale will feature a wide variety of dwarf and semi-dwarf to choose from. Golden Delicious, Enterprise, Cortland, Grand Gala, Jonafree, Jonagold, Lodi and Pink Lady trees will be available.
For more information, call the Agriculture and Natural Resources educator, Lyndsay Ploehn, or Beth Shubair, at 219-465-3555. Order forms and more descriptions about all the ornamental and fruit trees that are for sale can be found at: www.extension.purdue.edu/porter under “Spotlight on Porter County” or “Hot Topics”.