Plant Berries, Save Money

Fruit trees and berry plants offer a lot in today's economy.

| March 20, 2009

Interest in backyard fruit growing is experiencing an unprecedented resurgence. "With good reason," says Stella Otto, author of The Backyard Berry Book: A hands-on guide to growing berries, brambles, and vine fruit in the home garden, "considering the current economic climate. Fruit gardening has many aspects that make it such a popular activity."

Saving on the grocery bill is a high priority today. With a small investment in plants, anyone can reap the savings for several years to come. A bundle of 25 strawberry plants, a single currant bush, or a dozen raspberry canes will yield fruit for many jars of jam each year and fresh fruit for freezing and eating. With a little more patience and time to grow, a peach or dwarf apple tree will cost about the equivalent of a single bushel of fruit but will provide 3 to 4 bushels of fruit annually for 10 or more years.

With food contamination an issue, there is a growing (pun intended) interest in eating locally produced food. What could be more local than your own garden where you know – and can control – exactly how your food is raised?

Another benefit of fruit gardening is the exercise it provides. Regular exercise is sometimes tough to fit into our busy lives. But it's easy to get your stretching and bending in over the normal course of tending the fruit garden. Twenty to 30 minutes of attention several times a week will give gardeners both a healthy fruit harvest and a healthy body.

With an eye toward adding to or maintaining a home's value, landscaping has historically been a good investment. Fruit trees and berry bushes give homeowners double the punch for their money. An attractive grape arbor provides an alternative fence or shade over a patio along with the fruit that it will yield. Artistically pruned espaliered fruit trees add a unique touch beyond the satisfaction of fruit to eat.

The economy has couples and families staying home more and looking for something they can enjoy together. "Fruit gardening can bring the generations together easily," says Otto, who also authored the award winning The Backyard Orchardist: A complete guide to growing fruit trees in the home garden. "Many families mark special occasions by planting a 'family' tree," she says. "Why not make it a fruit tree? While the adults share fond memories, the growing children enjoy bringing in the harvest and the stories that may come with it while they also develop healthy eating habits."

Jean Teller_1
4/27/2009 9:59:27 AM

Thank you, Kelly, for letting us know of your personal experience. I completely agree - beautiful trees/shrubs, and fruit too! What could be better?!

4/24/2009 7:33:15 AM

I recently needed to put in a front yard flower bed and also decided, why get regular old boxwoods when I could do double duty and have fruit. So my bushes are currents and my small tree is a dwarf cherry. More folks should think of fruit production with aesthetics.

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