Our interest in gardening dates back to a community garden that we participated in while living in graduate housing during my graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. From our first plot in 2011 we were blown away by the incredible taste of the vegetables that we grew 25 feet from our apartment. Who knew a tomato could taste like that? In terms of gardening, we learned a fantastic lesson: compost is growing magic! We were truly spoiled; the community provided us with a soil blend that was up to half compost. Man, we ate the tastiest vegetables in the summers of 2011 and 2012!
We moved into our new home in Northern Utah in August 2013. The house we choose had an impressive amount of well designed flower beds and what appeared to be a long unused vegetable garden area that was partially raised, partially tiered into a slope.
In the front there was also a once-used planting circle that had been overrun with grass, so much so that it was part of the lawn. So, in May 2014 we created our first foodscape in Utah. We planted a Heavenly White Nectarine tree, a Harrow Pear tree and two honeyberry bushes. We also planted a D’Anjou Pear in the backyard, since pear trees are not typically self fruitful. We made our purchases at a respected local nursery and spent a bit of time talking with the fruit tree staff (a great resource).
But, we weren’t quite done for the spring planting season. We thought, how about some grape vines? That could be cool. So, we built a small trellis with some wires. It looked great and we were excited by the possibility of fresh seedless table grapes! We planted one green variety, Himrod, and one red variety, Red Reliance. Foodscape planting #2! Stay tuned to see if we underestimated the size requirements for a grape trellis!
By the end of June we were quite pleased with the ornamental value of our foodscapes and excited about the possibility of some day enjoying fresh nectarines, pears, grapes and honeyberries.
Then, I had one more idea: almonds!! By June most nurseries were out of almonds trees. But, a distant nursery had one All-In-One almond left in stock. I was so tantalized by the idea of growing my own almonds that I drove out of my way and bought a tree that was older than ideal. I loaded it up in our Civic and drove it home (it was a bit of a tight fit). Then, we choose a planting site on the west side of a large window, so it would shade the hottest room in our house on hot summer afternoons. Deciduous trees are great for this purpose as they provide shade in the summer but let in light in the winter. Since almond trees thrive in well draining soil, we built a mound of topsoil and composted manure, planted our handsome almond tree, and mulched the whole area!
Foodscape planting number #3! (neglected to take a picture of the mound, tree, and mulch after planting)