Plant Of The Month - March
MARVIN'S GARDEN CLUB
Apple, Peach, FIG, Pecan, & Pear
Get your just desserts — Spring is the best time to plant your favorite fruit trees like apples and pears. Foodscaping your garden pays off in shade, flowers and a tasty harvest.
PLANT OF THE MONTH
Apples are native to central Asia, and their wild ancestor is still widespread in the region. Trees grown from seed usually vary greatly from the parent tree, so most of the world’s 7,500 known cultivars are grown from grafts. China accounts for about half of the world’s 94.8 million tons of annual production.
Pears are native to coastal and mildly temperate regions of Europe, north Africa, and Asia. Wood from pear trees is commonly used in the manufacture of woodwind instruments and furniture. There are about 3,000 known varieties grown and consumed around the world.
Peaches are native to eastern China, which is still the largest producer. The species name, Prunus persica, refers to their widespread cultivation in Persia, from where they were imported into Europe. Botanically, peaches and nectarines are the same species, although considered different commercially. They are also closely related to almonds, cherries, apricots, and plums.
Pecans are a relative of hickory, and are one of the most recently domesticated major crops; put under cultivation in the 1880s, the annual harvest in the US totals about 264 million pounds, about 75% of which are grown in Georgia.
Native to the Mediterranean, western Asia, and south Asia, figs have been cultivated since ancient times. The edible species, Ficus carica, is the type species for the genus, meaning the genus ficus is named for it. Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, and Algeria together account for about 64% of the world’s total annual harvest of about 1.26 million tons per year.
Check out our Project Made Easy on fruit trees for growing tips.
Apples will thrive in full sun and loamy, neutral soil. A lot of factors, such as pests, weather and pollination requirements, to name a few, make apples more difficult to grow than other fruits, so they require diligence - contact your local cooperative extension service before taking them on. The reward is oh so sweet.
Pears like loamy, sandy soil that drains well and full sun. You’ll need at least two compatible varieties for cross-pollination to bear fruit. They like some space for good air circulation, so plant standard-size varieties about 20-25 feet apart and dwarf varieties 12-15 feet apart.
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