Articles in Category: Edible

Edible Figs

on Wednesday, 16 September 2020. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs enjoy well-drained soils and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established. They're also self fertile, and are actually pollinated on the inside of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter. A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back. They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs here at Shooting Star Nursery, and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to several better-known types that perform better in California. Our selection generally includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian, Little Ruby, Stella, and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Desert King; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Peter’s Honey.

 blackjack 2012What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins. Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

Here are a few of the varieties we generally have in stock:

Black Spanish - Dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf
Brown Turkey – Medium-large fruit, sweet purplish/brown skin w/light pink flesh
Chicago Hardy – Medium fruit, brown to violet skin w/strawberry pink flesh, excellent flavor
Desert King - Large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops
Little Ruby – Medium fruit, reddish-brown skin w/ruby flesh, prolific bearer, dwarf variety
Olympian - Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf variety
Peter's Honey - Deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

Edible Figs (Copy)

on Wednesday, 16 September 2020. Posted in Edible, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

Fig trees

figsFigs are native to the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East and thrive in our hot, dry summers. These rich, almost decadent-tasting fruits are also surprisingly undemanding, low-maintenance plants. They’re fast growing, begin bearing fruit at just two years old, and will often bear two crops a year. Few pests (including deer!) bother them. Figs enjoy well-drained soils and only require deep, infrequent watering once they’re established. They're also self fertile, and are actually pollinated on the inside of the fruit by a special wasp.

Here in the Rogue Valley, figs tend to grow more as tall, multi-trunked shrubs than full-sized trees. That’s actually an asset for home gardeners, because it makes their fruit easier to harvest. Plants bear fruit primarily on year-old growth, and are most productive when pruned annually in mid-winter. A harsh winter in the first few years of being planted can cause a fig to have some branch die back. They are quick to rebound from the roots though once warm weather returns. Give them as much heat as possible to enhance their ripening.

figleavesWe carry a good assortment of figs here at Shooting Star Nursery, and always try to carry varieties that are more likely to ripen in our shorter heat season, compared to several better-known types that perform better in California. Our selection generally includes dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like Olympian, Little Ruby, Stella, and Black Jack (perfect for small yards); Pacific Northwest specialties like Desert King; and old favorites like Brown Turkey and Peter’s Honey.

 blackjack 2012What can you do with the abundance of figs you’re already imagining harvesting? That’s where the fun really begins. Figs can be eaten fresh off the tree (make sure they are quite soft before picking), dried, or turned into a variety of tasty jams and preserves. But why stop there? Fire up your broiler or grill and try broiled figs stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Or make your own dolmas!  See what we mean about decadent?

Here are a few of the varieties we generally have in stock:

Black Spanish - Dark purple skin w/sweet amber flesh, reliable & productive, naturally dwarf
Brown Turkey – Medium-large fruit, sweet purplish/brown skin w/light pink flesh
Chicago Hardy – Medium fruit, brown to violet skin w/strawberry pink flesh, excellent flavor
Desert King - Large, green skin w/strawberry flesh, can bear 2 crops
Little Ruby – Medium fruit, reddish-brown skin w/ruby flesh, prolific bearer, dwarf variety
Olympian - Super hardy, purple skin w/red flesh, very sweet, dwarf variety
Peter's Honey - Deliciously sweet, yellow/green skin w/amber flesh, likes hot/protected exposure

Fruiting Shrubs for the Home Garden - Part 2

on Wednesday, 05 February 2020. Posted in Edible, Shrubs

Currants and Gooseberries

Currants and Gooseberries may be less familiar to Rogue Valley gardeners than other kinds of fruiting shrubs, but they’re great additions to your edible landscape – especially if you like to cook! They’re delicious in jams, jellies, and liqueurs, and are also really tasty when included in baked goods like scones and muffins. White currants are the sweetest of this group, followed by black currants; the others are more tart. All are high in Vitamin C, and the red and black varieties are also high in antioxidants and anthocyanins.
 
Shooting Star currently carries the following varieties in bareroot:

Cherry RedCherry Red Currant: Cherry Red bears heavy crops of beautiful, juicy, flavorful red berries. Great for fresh eating, or in tasty jams and jellies. Slightly tart, rich flavor. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

Primus Primus White Currant: Primus is one of the sweetest types of currants. They also bear heavily: one bush can yield 20 pounds of fruit from its long berry clusters. 3’-4’ tall by 4’-6’ wide.

 

CrandallCrandall Black Currant: Wonderful clove-scented yellow flowers in the spring, followed by blue-black fruit in the summer. Crandall has a rich dark flavor, and is sweetest of all black currants. Primarily used in juice, jam, jelly, pies, and liqueurs. 3’-7’ tall by 3’-5’ wide.

 

Captivator‘Captivator’ Gooseberry: Very sweet, 1 inch, teardrop-shaped, red berries in large clusters that can be used in jellies, jams and juice on semi-thornless canes. Can be used fresh or in jam, pies, and desserts. 3’ to 5’ tall and wide.

 

Black JostaberryJostaberry: Jostaberries are a cross between a black currant and two types of gooseberries. Their tangy-sweet flavor has been described as a mix of grape, blueberry, and kiwi-fruit. 3’ to 5’ tall by 3’ to 6’ wide.

 

All currants and gooseberries are upright woody shrubs, and can take a bit of afternoon shade. They prefer well-drained soil, rich in organic material; and will bear on year-old wood. You’ll get a light crop the year you plant them, and they really hit their stride after two or three years.

To learn more about the different varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs avaliable here at Shooting Star Nursery, be sure to take a look at this list of Fruiting Trees and Plants from our website!

And if all this talk about fruiting shrubs has gotten you excited about expanding your edible landscape, be sure to register for our class on Creating a Food Forest on March 7th.

Fruiting Shrubs for the Home Garden - Part 1

on Thursday, 30 January 2020. Posted in Edible, Shrubs

Cane Fruits: Blackberries and Raspberries

Are you hoping to add a bit more variety into your edible landscape this year? Consider adding some fruiting shrubs into the mix! This week, we’ll look at a few types of cane fruits (blackberries and raspberries) that make a great addition to the home garden. Shooting Star carries a good variety of cane fruits, but this week’s article shines a spotlight on a few lesser-known varieties you might like to pick up this winter. 

Cane fruits all have similar cultural requirements. Both do best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, and prefer a minimum of 6 hours of sun a day (full sun is better). With the exception of Babycakes Blackberry and Raspberry Shortcake, most types of fruiting canes grow so tall they need some sort of trellising system that keeps the canes (and fruit) off the ground. All types can use seasonal pruning to maximize productivity.

blackberryCollage

BLACKBERRY

Natchez: One of the first producers of the season. A vigorous, semi-erect plant, with large, elongated, flavorful berries with consistently high yields. Requires trellis support, especially when fruiting. Pinch out growing tips to control vigor. Ripens Early June. 4-5’ tall. 

Triple Crown: A trifecta of flavor, productivity, and vigor, Triple Crown blackberry may outrun any competition as it gets better known. Plants are semi-erect and thornless and do well on trellises. Ripens mid-July to mid-August. Vigorous vines can grow 12-15’ in a season.

Chester: Thornless with semi-trailing habit and large, very sweet, flavorful fruit, even when firm. Begins to ripen just at Triple Crown finishes. Chester is the most winter-hardy thornless blackberry and is very resistant to cane blight. Provide support for the vines. Ripens mid-late summer. 5-10’ tall.

Black Satin: This thornless, heat-tolerant blackberry is a prolific producer of deliciously sweet and juicy, deep blue-black berries. Small, soft pink flowers appear on second-year semi-erect canes in spring, yielding a reliable crop of large blackberries in midsummer. 5-6' tall. Requires support.

babycakes2

Baby Cakes (pictured right): A dwarf, thornless blackberry with a compact habit that is perfect for small spaces and patio containers.  In summer, large, classic, and sweet-tasting berries ripen in a series of colorful sprays of fruit, sometimes twice in one season! 3-4' tall x wide.

Marionberry: Marionberries were developed at OSU, and are named for Marion County, Oregon. They are a cross between a Chehalem blackberry and an olallieberry, with tasty sweet-tart berries with complex flavor. They’re an Oregon favorite, and can be eaten fresh or used in pies, jams, jellies, pancake syrups - even ice cream! 

 

raspberryCollage RASPBERRY 

Fall Gold Raspberry: Very large golden berries of excellent flavor. The berries are too delicate to ship, so you’ll mostly only find them at local grower's markets. Wonderful for eating fresh, highly recommended as a fresh topping for vanilla ice cream! They are especially cold hardy and vigorous variety that is perhaps the tenderest and sweetest raspberry around. Here is a berry that you’ll never see in a supermarket because it’s too fragile to travel much farther than arm’s length. A primocane berry that ripens in fall. 4' tall x 3' wide.

Anne: An everbearing raspberry with the largest and best tasting berries of all the golden yellow raspberries. A moderate to high producer in this area, but bears very sweet, tropical tasting, quarter-sized fruit from summer into late fall - the same time as ‘Heritage’. Requires good drainage and benefits from a trellis. 4-5’ tall. 

Caroline: An ever-bearing red raspberry with large, firm, juicy, berries with classic raspberry flavor and superior quality. Excellent for fresh eating, freezing, and canning. Disease and root-rot resistance. Produces larger and earlier fruits than most everbearing varieties, and is considered a standard for all red-raspberries. Self-fertile. 4-6’ tall x 4’ wide. 

Heritage: An everbearing red raspberry that is considered the #1 fall variety nationwide. Large berries are firm and of excellent quality. It produces a smaller July crop with heavier production in Early September - the same time as the golden yellow ‘Anne’ raspberry. Good vigor and hardy canes that do not need staking or trellising. Rapidly growing to 5-8' tall.

raspberryShortcake

 

Raspberry Shortcake (pictured left): A dwarf,thornless, bush-type berry perfect for the patio garden! Raspberry Shortcake gets about 2’-3’ tall and wide and bears abundant crops of delicious, full-sized fruit.

 

 

 

To learn more about the different varieties of fruiting trees and shrubs available here at Shooting Star Nursery, be sure to take a look at the Fruiting Trees and Plants list from our website!

Exciting Stone Fruit Hybrids

on Thursday, 23 January 2020. Posted in Edible, Trees

Pluerrys, Pluots, and Nectaplums – Oh My!

Flavor Punch PluerryPluerrys, Pluots, and NectaPlums combine the flavors of your favorite stone fruits in new and exciting ways. These hybrid stone fruits have been growing in popularity over the past few years, probably because they are so darned tasty! In fact, all of the varieties carried by Shooting Star are frequent taste-test winners.
 
 In general terms: NectaPlums are nectarine-peach-plum hybrids, Pluerrys are plum-cherry hybrids, pluots are apricot-plum hybrids – just imagine the flavor possibilities! Note: hybrids are the result of cross-pollinating two different varieties of a plant, producing an offspring - or hybrid - that contains some of the traits of each of the parents. Hybrids are the result of a natural process - not to be confused with GMO's!
Spice Zee NectaPlum is the only self-fruitful one of the bunch; the others require a pollinizer in order to set fruit – generally another pluot or a Japanese plum (Santa Rosa, sometimes Burgundy). 

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean taking up more space in your yard with a second tree. Many backyard orchardists are now planting multiple fruit trees – sometimes up to four - in a single hole – which means you could plant a Pluerry, a few Pluots, and a Plum in the same space that one tree would take. In addition to saving space, planting multiple trees in a single hole tends to have a dwarfing effect on all the trees – making them easier to harvest. For more information on this technique, check out Dave Wilson Nursery’s Backyard Orchard Culture article here. Here are some of the varieties Shooting Star currently has available in bareroot.

spicezeeSpice Zee NectaPlum: A white-fleshed, nectarine-peach-plum hybrid. Skin is dark maroon at fruit set, and turns pale pink when ripe. Fully ripe, this fruit is unparalleled in flavor and both nectarine and plum traits are easily detectable. Tremendous purplish pink bloom in the spring, followed by a flourish of red leaves which mature into lush green in mid to late summer. Self-fruitful. Very productive.

 

Flavor Punch Pluerry: Small to medium (golf ball size) fruit with orange-red exterior and bright orange interior. Firm texture with unique sweet tropical punch flavor. Late season harvest, September into October. Requires another Pluerry, Plum or Pluot as pollinizer.

 

sweet treat pluerrySweet Treat Pluerry: This taste-test favorite is a complex interspecific hybrid, predominantly of plum and cherry, combining the sweetness of a cherry with that summer fresh plum zing. Much larger than a cherry, this precocious and prolific variety will hang on the tree for over a month, and the colorful fruit make Sweet Treat a true ornamental. Pollinizer required: Burgundy or Santa Rosa plum, or Flavor King Pluot.

 

flavorqueenFlavor Queen Pluot: Exquisite plum/apricot hybrid with candy-like sweet, wonderfully pleasing flavor. Greenish-yellow skin, amber-orange flesh. Prolonged harvest in mid to late summer. Pollinized by Flavor Supreme Pluot or by a Japanese plum (Burgundy or Santa Rosa).

 

flavorgrenadeFlavor Grenade Pluot: Elongated green fruit with red blush. Crisp texture, explosive flavor. Hangs on the tree for 4-6 weeks. Late summer to early fall harvest. Pollinized by Flavor King Pluot or Santa Rosa plum.

 

flavorkingFlavor King Pluot: Unique plum-apricot hybrid with sensational bouquet and sweet, spicy flavor. Reddish-purple skin, crimson flesh. Harvest mid to late summer. Naturally small tree. Pollinized by Flavor Supreme Pluot or Santa Rosa plum.

 

Geo Pride 2011Geo Pride Pluot: Red-skinned, yellow flesh plum-apricot hybrid. Balanced acid and sugar to predominantly sweet with unique plum-apricot flavor. Medium-sized, very heavy production. Harvest early summer, just ahead of Flavor Queen Pluot. Pollinized by Flavor Supreme Pluot, Santa Rosa plum. Good pollinizer for other plum and Pluot varieties.