Savor sweet fig fruits with a trio of varieties hand-picked by growers. The varieties are heirloom types that are hard to come by in traditional market outlets. Use fruits to make jams, garnish salads or fill sandwiches.
Strawberry fans take notice—there’s a new berry on the block. ‘Flavorfest’ brings breeding breakthroughs in terms of high yields, big berries, excellent flavor and good disease resistance. This berry comes out of the USDA breeding program and is a replacement for ‘Chandler.’ It’s a mid-season (June bearing) strawberry with a long harvest season. Well-suited for Mid-Atlantic and Northeast gardeners.
Bushel and Berry ‘Jelly Bean’ Blueberry (Vaccinium ‘Jelly Bean’)
Meet a blueberry bush that can easily pull double duty in the landscape as a hedge or walkway plant. Berries ripen in midsummer and offer an intensely sweet flavor similar to blueberry jelly. Leaves feature traditional blueberry coloring with red tints developing through summer into fall. Plants grow 1 to 2 feet tall and adapt easily to containers.
‘Tarpan’ strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) effortlessly combines beauty with function. Pink flowers fade to medium size berries that are juicy sweet. Expect to pick fruit all summer long. Plants adapt well to containers, but you can also grow them successfully in the ground, using the runners to form a productive berry patch.
A tropical plant, miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) hails from West Africa. Red fruits are about the size of a gumdrop and appear in summer in non-tropical regions. The miracle is that after eating the fruit, sour and bitter flavors taste sweet. Pair it with lemons or limes to transform the tart flavor. Plants don’t tolerate cold temps. In non-tropical regions, grow it in a container you can overwinter indoors.
Hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) is an easy-growing vine that bears tasty bite-size fruit. The flavor resembles a pineapple and offers less tartness than kiwi you buy at the grocery store. Kiwis require a male and female plant to produce fruit. Baker Creek sells ‘Hardy Male’ as the pollinator for ‘Ananasnaja’ (‘Anna’ for short). Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.
‘Prime Ark Freedom’ Blackberry
From the University of Arkansas comes this amazing new blackberry that breaks all the rules. All canes are thornless, and new canes form fruit the first year, a true breeding breakthrough. You can expect up to two crops from plants each growing season in most locations. Berries are large—three fill an average man’s palm.
‘Joel’ Bush Cherry
This petite cherry (Prunus japonica x Prunus jacquemontii) is the handiwork of a University of New Hampshire breeding program. Pink flowers blanket plants in spring, fading to tart cherries that ripen in late summer. The cherries resemble Montmorency in terms of size and flavor. Plants are self-fertile and grow to 4 feet tall, an easy size to cover with netting to keep birds from gobbling your crop.
‘PF Lucky 13’ Flamin’ Fury Peach
Freestone fruits cover this peach tree (Prunus persica ‘PF Lucky 13’), which ripens roughly one week after popular ‘Redhaven.’ You’ll harvest large peaches packed with juice and top-notch flavor. Fruits hold well on the tree up to 10 days after reaching maturity, continuing to increase in size. Trees have good resistance to bacterial spot disease.
Sweet Dakota Rose Watermelon
At last, a watermelon for cool region gardeners with short growing seasons! A North Dakota farmer developed this beauty that yields classic striped melons in the 8- to 15- pound range. Fruits have few seeds and are sunburn resistant. The thick rind makes it a good keeper.
A grafted mango, ‘Pickering’ (Mangifera indica) flowers and fruits sooner than traditional mangoes, yielding full-size fruits that are flavorful and not fibrous. Referred to as a condo mango due to its short size, you can expect this naturally dwarf plant to grow to 4 feet tall in northern regions and 6 feet in warmest zones. It produces well planted into the ground or containers.
Include exotic tastes in your garden by growing dragon fruit (Hylocereus). This is a night-blooming cactus with spectacular flowers that give rise to beautiful, nutritious fruit. Dragon fruit has pink skin and red flesh with a flavor described as a cross between a kiwi and pear. Small black seeds are edible.
Colonnade ‘Maypole’ Apple
Everyone has room for growing apples when they plant a ‘Maypole’ apple (Malus ‘Maypole’). Marketed as a Colonnade tree, this apple has a strongly upright, columnar form with a total spread of 2 feet. These apples are an excellent choice for cooking and jelly making. Watch for pink flowers in spring.
This dainty alpine strawberry (Fragaria vesca) is known for small fruit with big flavor. ‘Alexandria’ plants produce few to no runners, so all plant energy heads into berry and leaf production. Expect to harvest from summer to fall.