Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When a Gardener Can't Manage the Veggies

Someone asked me today about growing blueberries. She plants a veggie garden every Spring, enjoys it for a while, and then leaves for a summer vacation. By the time she gets back, the garden is a mass of weeds and dead veggies. Her new plan is to skip the veggies and just grow some fruit. This is a great idea for her situation.

The good news is that the garden sections of places like Lowe's and Home Depot have pots of blueberries for sale right now, and this is a good time to plant (after the ground is less soggy, of course). UGA recommends that home gardeners choose the rabbiteye types of blueberries, and several varieties are listed, along with planting and other growing information, in the UGA publication Home Garden Blueberries.

Blueberries are among the lowest maintenance fruits available for the home gardener in this area, so anyone who can't manage a vegetable garden but still wants food from the yard should consider growing them. They have few pests, and of those birds are the worst. Most people aren't squeamish about birds the way they might be about some insects, so this problem isn't too horrible. People who don't want birds to eat the berries can use netting to cover the plants.

Another low-maintenance, high-reward fruit for this area is figs. UGA's publication Home Garden Figs includes recommended varieties along with planting and growing information.

Figs are supposed to be much easier to propagate than blueberries, and I am hoping to make new plants from my brown turkey fig this year. Cuttings are supposed to be made after the leaves have dropped in early Fall. My fig bush still has all of its leaves, so the time is not yet right. I have noticed though, around town, that trees are beginning to turn yellow and red, so fig leaf drop should be soon, maybe just a couple of weeks away.

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