The Q&A Archives: Tired Of Buying Fruit For Canning And I Want To Grow My Own

Question: I recently took an interest in canning and very much love of baking. I live in northeastern Pennsylvania and would love to have my own grape vine, strawberries, blueberries, and ruhbarb plants. Can I have any of the above in the climate that I live in. I'm tired of buying what I want to can and bake with. Also, my Aunt loves Elderberry Jam. What is elderberry, can I grow that and do you sell it? I'd love to be able to make it for her. Can you please tell me which varieties of the fruit mentioned would be the best for me and do you sell it? I can't seem to find ruhbarb or elderberry in any of your searches.

Answer: Happily, you can grow all of these fruits in your area. Burpee offers rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries and grapes in the current catalog. However, you will need to contact a fruit specialist such as Raintree ( ) for the elderberries.

In general, fruit growing requires a location in full sun with rich soil that is evenly moist and yet well drained. Most plantings take at least several years to become established and bear heavily with the exception of strawberries. Blueberries require special attention to soil preparation because they need a very acid soil with a high humus content. Since thse are long term plantings it is well worth the trouble to plant them in a favorable location with properly prepared soil.

Prior to planting, you might wish to consult with your county extension (784-6660) as to how to test your soil and how best to prepare it, and which amendments if any might be needed, based on the test results. They may also be able to suggest varieties that do particularly well in your local growing conditions or that are particularly well suited to the types of preserving and cooking you have in mind.

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