This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

belmont edible yards

Belmont will have a effort this year to encourage edible gardening. The Farmers Market will purchase fruit bushes and trees at wholesale prices and sell at cost at the Market. I am very excited by this.

Our area of Belmont was a pear orchard in the 1800's. Mostly Bartlett's. It seems only proper for the new program to offer this pear, which does well here. Maybe dwarf varieties are available for small yards. Since it needs cross pollination, it would be nice if many yards had these trees.

Ideas for the varieties to offer are: blueberries, raspberries, dwarf pears and lingnon berries. Any other ideas?

I am planning to landscape my front yard this spring. I think it will be fun to incorporate some berry bushes among the shrubs. Also some vegetables. I will have to start working on a plan soon.



Blogger Kalena Michele said...

I can't wait to see what comes of this. Wonderful effort.

January 17, 2010 12:04 AM

Anonymous Kathy M said...

Kiwi plants make a great climbing type of plant along with producing lovely fruit when the plants mature. You will need a male and female plant.

Also any type of combination (one tree with several species of the same type of fruit) dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit trees are fun as well.

Good Luck!

January 17, 2010 4:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to sound like a party pooper, but what about lead and other soil contamination in urban yards? Is that a concern? I know years ago when I worked on a community garden and edible yardscaping project in Portland, ME it became a huge problem, we had to import clean soil and use raised beds only.

January 17, 2010 8:39 AM

Blogger Susan said...

How about some Rhubarb?!

January 17, 2010 9:01 AM

Anonymous Nell Jean said...

I'm always reluctant to try to guess what grows in somebody else's zone. Apples? Peaches and figs are among our stapes, but they're tender. My MIL planted apple trees here which did poorly in 8b. Pears are great.

January 17, 2010 9:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sad to report that a neighbor down my street cut down her peach tree this year. I've been compensating by planting semi-dwarf fruit in the back yard. Hoping to squeeze in two apple trees this year.

If I had a sunny front yard, I would pick blueberries over raspberries (which grow messy). Also eggplants, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, romanesco, swiss chard, and rhubarb are all spectacular plants.

January 17, 2010 6:15 PM

Blogger kathy said...


Lead contamination is a huge problem. I can't eat anything that's grown in my front yard because of lead. I was thinking I could plant edibles anyway for the birds or as ornamental. But this may not be a good idea. Sigh. Such a shame....

I think I remember reading that fruits and vegetables don't really absorb much lead. The bigger problems are working the soil, if children play in it, and dust that gets on the outside of vegetables.

I will remind the Market to recommend that homeowners test their soil before planting edibles.

January 17, 2010 9:16 PM

Blogger Thomas said...

Hi Kathy, please let us locals know when you see the fruit trees and bushes at the farmers market. I live in Methuen but wouldn't mind making a special trip to Belmont for some wholesale trees!

Also, about lead, I read as well that tree fruits do not absorb lead, only their leaves do. Also, it becomes inaccessible to plants at a certain PH level, so it's important to monitor the levels in your garden if you think lead may be a problem.

January 19, 2010 7:48 PM

Anonymous Dawnie (CT) said...

I planted both Caroline and Heritage raspberries last year. The Caroline's did EXTREMELY well! I was still picking them into November.

January 20, 2010 3:37 AM

Anonymous Holly said...

This is so exciting - I live in Arlington and am planning a mini-orchard of 6 fruit trees for the spring. You had me at "sell at cost."

I'm worried about lead too--we just moved into this house and haven't had the soil tested yet.

I'm also worried about managing the bird issue. Advice from seasoned fruit growers on how to keep the birds happy but not greedy?


January 20, 2010 11:29 AM

Anonymous Risa Edelstein said...

It's great to hear that Belmont is encouraging edible gardens (and a reduction of lawn as a result!). You should always test your soil for both lead and heavy metals at UMASS if you are planting anything edible. Info can be found at:
If you find your soil has lead or heavy metals, you can use raised beds filled with new compost and a barrier fabric for your garden.

February 02, 2010 10:36 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Great advice. Thanks for leaving the link for the lead soil test.

February 02, 2010 11:52 PM


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