Posts Tagged ‘fruit trees’

Edible Landscaping

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

I attended an excellent workshop at St. Lawrence College in Kingston this weekend.  It was given by Ken Taylor of Windmill Point Farms in Ile Perrot, just west of Montreal.  Ken has been growing and developing fruit and nut trees for the past thirty years.  He specializes in finding and developing varieties that require very little attention , are disease resistant, and that survive our Canadian winters.  He has an incredible wealth of knowledge gained through years of experimenting and self-teaching.

Of the many fruit trees Ken sells, it seems he is keenest on the Asian Pear.  He says he planted  a line of trees 20 years ago at 4 foot spacings, assuming many would die and he would end up with the correct spacing of 10 – 12 feet.  Today, these trees have all survived and produce bumper crops of nearly perfect fruit despite never having been ‘pruned, weeded, watered, fertilized, or sprayed’.  The Asian Pear originated in China and tastes something like a pear-apple cross, they store far better than apples and maintain their crunchy texture and delicious flavour for many months.  The trees tend to be small, manageable for picking, and produce fruit in two years.  Other interesting varieties included a plum that was resistant to black knot disease, an apricot variety developed from a several hundred year old tree he found near Georgian Bay, and a Japanese walnut that is hardy, delicious, and extremely productive.

Windmill Point Farm also sells small fruits and berries, Ken recommended the mulberry tree, black raspberries, several grape varieties,and something called the Albion strawberry, the best everbearing strawberry variety he has ever seen.  He believes, like I do, that many of us can grow a great deal of our own food, and in so doing, significantly change our systems of food production.  He works hard to make it interesting, successful, and easy for all of us first time fruit and nut growers.

Information about the farm is available both at the Windmill Point website and at his nursery website www.greenbarnnursery.ca. All sales are through the nursery.  As well, the spring 2009 edition of Canadian Organic Growers features  an article entitled Forbidden Fruit which is written by Ken Taylor and is on growing pears.