Posts Tagged ‘City People’

Feb12

City People’s Sale and the Many Cultivars of Blueberries

City People’s bare root tree sale is beginning now and going through March (and with part of the proceeds being given to City Fruit!) So I decided to head over to CP after hearing tales of endless varieties of figs, kiwis, apples, and more. I was especially intrigued by the large selection of blueberry varieties available as I have the unfortunate combination of very little knowledge but plenty of exposure to blueberries (my grandparents had blueberry bushes on their farm and I can still hear my grandma saying, “blueberries are brainberries,” every time I plop one into my mouth). Alison Green from City People’s was kind enough to talk to me a bit about the process of fruit tree purchasing and specifically about all the different varieties of blueberries.City People's Blueberries

The blueberry bushes at City People’s are three years old and have come from various vendors throughout the Northwest, from Vashon Island and Mount Vernon all the way down to Northern California, with a majority of the nurseries located in Southwest Oregon.  Every year nurseries develop new varieties to fit most any gardener’s desires. There are highbush cultivar (at least 6 feet tall called Aurora and Duke) all the way down to 1 foot (Chandler). Some ripen in the summer (Bluecrop and Reka) and some ripen in the fall (Polaris). There’s even one type that grows PINK BLUEBERRIES (Pink Lemonade)! There are many other considerations like color of flowers and fall foliage, sun exposure, soil type, foliage density, water needs, etc. Alison did emphasize that for pollination purposes, it is very important to buy at least two different varieties of blueberries.

Alison also explained to me that blueberries are one of the most popular fruits they sell because, as she described it, they have “tri-seasonal” appeal, meaning that a majority of the year they provide an aesthetic that landscapers appreciate (white or yellow blooms in the spring, green foliage in the summer, and vibrant yellows and oranges in the fall) in addition to providing delicious fruit.

Swansons BlueberriesMy time wandering City People’s made me very excited to purchase new trees for my sister’s farm on Whidbey Island. I’ll certainly have grandma’s words in my ears as I do-her number one daily suggestion for us grandkids when we visited the farm was to “go outside and get dirty!”

Aug14

New to Fruit Trees – Summer Pruning

Pruning copyThis past weekend, I attended City Fruit’s second Sunday series at City People’s Garden Store on summer pruning with Bill Wanless.  The class was packed – over 30 attendees! Clearly, this is a topic of interest.

While my plum tree is too young for summer pruning, here are some tips and tricks to help promote growth and fruit production.

August is the best time for summer pruning. We prune fruit trees in the summer to improve the health of the tree, protect against pests and fungal disease, and produce more fruit or flowers. To make room for more sun and air, consider these cuts during summer pruning:

  • Cutting back new shoots that crowd the larger, more established branches,
  • Removing dead and broken branches,
  • Removing all suckers — branches that are growing from the base of the tree

Don’t prune too much – no more than a quarter of the total leaf surface in any one year. And don’t try to fix a tree in one year; if the tree needs a lot of work, do it over several years. For more guidance, check out this City Fruit video with Ciscoe Morris and Kristen Ramer Liang or this resource sheet.

Catherine Morrison is executive director of City Fruit and new to fruit trees. She planted her first tree, a Hollywood plum, earlier this year.  

Jan30

Support City People’s to support City Fruit

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City People’s Garden Store in Madison Valley is a locally owned and operated community garden store. Since opening in 1988, we have been committed to offering a wide selection of quality plants and organic and natural products to help you grow them. With over 15,000 square feet, the outdoor nursery is an urban oasis!

City People’s strives to give back to our communities who have so generously supported us over the years. Through donations and marketing avenues we support organizations that help us grow healthy communities in the areas of environment and gardening, education and youth programs, and food security.

This winter the Garden Store is concentrating support toward City Fruit through the sale of bare root fruit shrubs and trees.* 10% of the proceeds from the sale of these items through March will go to City Fruit. We will also host City Fruit workshops this month and throughout the year (details below, and on the calendar).

Bare root berries are coming from Peaceful Valley Farm, an organic farm in California; raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, and currants, plus rhubarb, jerusalem artichoke, & asparagus. We are excited about this new organic vendor who use no sprays (including biological sprays), making sure not to harm any critters – especially fragile bees and butterflies.

Bare root trees from Mt Vernon, Washington and Mallala, Oregon include:
Apples – dwarf, columnar, espaliered & 4-way combo varieties
Pears – espaliered & 4-way combos
Cherries – including several dwarf varieties
Hardy Nectarine – dwarf
<& Plums, Figs, Meyer Lemons, Honeyberry, Kiwi, Japanese Pepper, Goumi, Grape and Hops!

City People’s Garden Store’s bare root fruit selection will be arriving the first week of February. Come early for the best selection!

* Buying bare root plants is an affordable way to grow your edible garden as you are buying only the plant and not the soil or the pot.


Don’t forget to check out City People’s Garden Store’s fruit-related talks coming this spring:
Registration is required. To sign up for a workshop, send an email to [email protected] or call the store (206) 324-0737.

Winter Fruit Tree Pruning
Sunday, February 9th, 11 am – noon
Winter fruit tree pruning can improve overall health and appearance and can increase fruit production. This class, co-sponsored by City Fruit, discusses pruning tools, basic biology behind pruning fruit trees, basic cuts and how to stimulate fruit production.

Planting Fruit Trees
Sunday, February 16th, 11 am – noon
Getting your fruit tree off to a healthy start means buying a healthy tree and planting it correctly. Root health is critical for tree health, and this class demonstrates the key considerations in planting a new tree. Bare root trees will be available and a portion of purchases of fruit will go to CityFruit. Instructor Jana Dilley is the Program Manager for the City of Seattle’s reLeaf program and is a certified arborist.

Pollinators — Mason Bees, Honey Bees & Others
Sunday, March 9th, 11 am – noon
Learn why pollinators are critical to fruit production, why mason bees are helpful in the Pacific Northwest rain, and how to encourage pollinators in your yard and orchard. This workshop is co-sponsored by City Fruit.