Red Deer and District Garden Club Review - Growing Fruit in Northern Gardens

Reviewed by: Ann McNaney

Northern Gardeners have long awaited the publication of a book such as this, filled with topically organized subject matter, gathered by the two authors who have both practical experience and the benefit of current research. The title and content will excite the interest of all gardeners living in zones 1‐4.

The journey through this work begins with a chapter entitled The Basics, always a good place to start. There are ten sub‐headings within the chapter, each a specific area of necessary information for those just starting out in fruit growing. The following are a few of the topics covered: Why plant fruit?; Flowers and Pollination; Soil; Weeds; Pruning; Hardiness zones. More advanced practitioners will also be able to brush‐up on their knowledge.

Common Pests and Diseases are covered in the next chapter and deal with insects, diseases, birds and animals.

The largest portion of the book is taken up with the featured fruits, a chapter devoted to each group. These groups are Tree fruits, Shrub fruits, Cane fruits, Groundcover fruits, Vine fruits and Nuts. Some lists are longer than others due to the limitations of the climate in the north. It should be remembered that some well known fruits are not included for reasons of hardiness. Within the section on Shrub fruits is a relative newcomer to add to our concept of fruit growing, namely Sea Buckthorn, an interesting and informative read.

Whenever this work is picked up, information and inspiration can be found not least of all from the plentiful, colorful pictures. These provide valuable visual information such as shots of structures upon which various fruits may be grown or trained, for example trellising for raspberry canes, or growing fruit in cordons.

The hardiness maps provide fascinating explanations of the shifting zones and the lists of fruit varieties expected to thrive in the north.

The writing style is easy to read and understand and will appeal to all gardeners, providing support and reassurance. It is a practical book with usable lists of varieties. An easy‐to‐navigate work. A dip in and browse reference, or a more prolonged read if that is your desire. This book fits well into the field of fruit growing and is a valuable addition to the information needed by gardeners who wish to grow fruit in a northern climate.

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