The fruits of our labor

Well, if the last post was about the cold weather, this is the opposite extreme -- the temperature hit 103°F yesterday! We took the temperature in the shade after 6 p.m. and it was still over 100. This may not sound like much to those of you way down south, but we're in Minnesota, and a few weeks ago, we had snow! Fortunately, we didn't lose any chickens yesterday -- though several other people in the area did -- which was very lucky for us because ours still won't come out of the coop into the run, and as well-ventilated as it is, it was still searingly hot inside yesterday, poor things. I guess they're tough little birds. They'll have to be, in this climate!

I've gotten a lot more planted in the last few weeks, but it seems we're doomed to have no spring at all this year, so I don't think we'll be seeing much in the way of snap or snow peas. For some reason they didn't germinate for weeks after I planted them, and now it's been so hot I can't imagine they'll be producing much. So that's a let-down. But I think we're on track for strawberries in the near future, and we even got the first honeyberries we've ever had on our bushes a few days ago. I've heard lots of people say they aren't palatable for raw eating, but the little ones at least are delicious, in my opinion! They're very tart-sweet and unique; the closest comparison I can make is to tart red currants, but it's different from those, as well. We've planted a lot of fruit for many reasons -- one of which is that it's one of the types of food that tends to have the greatest number of food miles, since so many of the fruits we eat are tropical -- and it's gratifying to keep finding that the fruits that grow here, which you generally can't find at the grocery store, taste just as good or better. To me it's terribly sad that we've not only not cultivated the local fruits and enjoyed them, but in some cases (gooseberries, currants), have actually exterminated them or even banned them from being grown at all.

So far we have planted (not all this year!):
Canadian Chokecherry (x1, may have to get rid of due to black knot >_<)
Northstar Pie Cherry (x2)
Ben Sarek Black Currant (x4)
Red Lake Red Currant (x3)
Honeyberry (x3, 3 different varieties, but I can't recall which)
Gooseberry (x1, can't recall variety)
Mount Royal Plum (x1)
Junebearing Strawberries (4'x8' bed, plus where they've crept out into the yard)
Raspberry (x2, one red and one yellow)
Blackberry (x1, thornless)
Apple (x1, Honeycrisp)
Serviceberry (x1)
Rhubarb (x3)
Hardy Kiwi (x1 so far, need another)
Hazelnut (x2)
Various minimally successful attempts at melons

On my wish list:
Seaberry (I am seriously coveting the ones at Egg|Plant right now...)

Not bad for a tenth of an acre lot that also has to hold our house, garage, chicken coop, and vegetable garden! I also hope to espalier some dwarf apples and more pie cherries along the sides of our house and garage once we replace our siding, and to start propagating some of the things I'm growing so I can help them get re-established in the area. I'd be curious to hear what other fruits people have tried to grow in colder climates, especially those that are less common.

Since the weather this year has been so unaccommodating, I leave you with some pictures from last year about this time, and the hope that things will be looking as nice in the garden this year, soon. ^_^

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