Has anyone grown dwarf fruit: favorite gardening plants?

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
In the USA, we have hardiness zones by USDA. I am in 9b. There are a few dwarf plants like blueberries, banana trees, perhaps an avocado plant called Holiday that may survive my ignorance plus location. Most of these dwarfs are self pollinated and can be possibly grown inside with the right south facing window. I haven’t ever tried to grow fruit and wondered if any one on the board had with success. I thought it might be fun and relaxing on a budget to watch something grow besides stress.😉

So anyone attempted dwarfs and if not what did you grow that made you happy? Thanks for any ideas.
 

Tornadic Thoughts

MyPTSD Pro
We're right on the border of 6B and 7A in our 'hood. We have a lot of rocky soil, so digging in it becomes more of a hassle than we care to partake in. We do lasagna gardening/no till gardening, instead, and have a few raised beds.

We also grow in various sized pots between the raised beds and in other strategically placed spots around the house.

There's an old apple tree on the property that my husband can't remember how old it is or what kind they are. I use them for juicing or baking. That is when the deer decide to share with us. lol

There's also a couple really old persimmon trees on the property. Those taste so good!

We won a dwarf peach tree a few years ago, but the tiny peaches are mostly stone and fuzz, no fruit. It's a beautiful little tree, though.

We planted some paw paw trees 2 years ago, but still waiting for them to do their fruiting thang. Strawberries are fun and fruitful to grow, both in containers and in the ground. Ever-bearing return but the June bearing are good for containers.

We also planted several blueberry bushes that do fairly well each year, for the 5 years we've had them. Nothing significant, but enough to munch. We mulch them with pine needles.

Our cherry tomatoes grow like CRAZY each year. Sun gold variety is my favorite - tastes like candy. Mmmmm.... I put a little epsom salt water on them once they start to bloom and they often get as tall as 8 or 9 feet, if not more.

We grow poblano peppers, jalapenos, Italian red peppers, purple bell, yellow bell, and orange bell in pots.

The ground garden space is for corn, peas, string beans, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, many types of greens, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumber, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

The big raised beds are for potatoes, garlic, radishes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and more greens.

The small raised beds are for various herbs. I even grow a real pretty dandelion in a pot that I use for smoothies and juicing. I think it's an Italian variety of dandelion. I keep my peppermint plants in pots or they'll take over the garden.

That's all I can think of. We really don't have a whole lot of method to our madness, we just experiment and hope our efforts pay off. From someone who used to not be able to keep houseplants alive, I say it's a win. lol You've got me wishing even harder for Spring now. 😍
 

Friday

Moderator
I usually keep at least a dwarf lemon, & often also a dwarf orange tree in my city lofts/flats/apartments. I buy them a few years old, so they’re fruiting & have some solid structure to them. I don’t mind structuring fast growing plants (pinching the tops off tomatoes, herbs, etc.; and keeping the baby plants under a fan to thicken them up, etc.) but I really don’t have the patience to do so for trees.

Self pollination means as long as I’m a bit clumsy and knock into them &/or handle them a bit roughly as I’m spinning them about for the light, I don’t HAVE to take a paintbrush to make sure they fruit well... but I often do, anyway. Similarly, I because I’ve always leased/bought places awash with light? And I’m literally placing them in front of my windows? Even up north I rarely have to massage the light ((IE keep a water cooled grow light on a timer for vegetative & fruiting cycles to extend the daylight cycles to where I want it)) but I sometimes do, anyway. It depends on how they do without it.

I’ve tried having dwarf fruit trees/bushes outside at my house up north (blueberries, cherries, etc.) but it was fairly pointless. The wildlife stripped everything but apples bare. I would have to go to a LOT of effort to keep away the birds/raccoons/rodents/insects, still suffer a lot of losses, and it wouldn’t be worth the effort for anything less than a small orchard. I considered building an orangery or greenhouse at one point, and maybe at another time&place? But then & there it wasn’t a good investment of time/money/space.

My best plants are tomato-family (tomato, potato, peppers, etc.), indoors or out, I know their needs best, and they’re all labor intensive so that’s a good thing. Kitchen herbs & strawberries & sprouts (note the container theme ;)), as well as peas, are also generally around... and about 50% of the time I’ll have a shiitake log or three. I’ve been meaning to grow watercress for years & years, but never quite seem to get to it.
 
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Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
@Tornadic Thoughts and @Friday 🙌🙇🏻‍♀️ Amazing to read and obtained some solid information for consideration. I am really impressed having been on a farm once with the forethought and ingenuity that the two of you use.

As I also use to live on the 14th floor, I made use of the patio with a raised 4foot planter (with a side spicket for drainage) and various pots. But now that I moved, I have a tall wooden fenced yard area outside. However, there is a large community of squirrels, finches and a few possums that bounce down my Redwood Trees daily and bury nuts, explore - especially in the raggedy old raised boxes.

So, @Tornadic Thoughts do you net cover your outside items? I have mint but the squirrels act like it is somewhere to play. Doesn’t phase them at all. Actually their lucky...I use to eat them back in the day. Lol

@Friday -do you know about how much your extended grow light sessions run a month (unless that is too personal). I am trying to budget and am counting on the stimulus check to offset some of the expenditures in getting things started. I know my dwarf blueberries be better inside, if I want to eat them.

Down the road or if you both have some already, (and if it is allowed of course)...can you post a few pictures? It is so nice to chat about something that soothes and I am serious about digging in. Thanks.
 

Friday

Moderator
-do you know about how much your extended grow light sessions run a month (unless that is too personal)
It was totally dependent on which type of bulbs I was using (high pressure sodium or hallide, although I hear tell there are now LED ones, I haven’t used those as yet), and what local electricity costs were. However, if I was just adding an hour or two a day, rather than running 24/7? Almost no increase whatsoever. Running 24/7 for vegetative cycles for months at a time is expensive as hell, & not something I’ve ever done for my little trees 🌳 Totally worth it for a boutique agricultural business (or zombie apocalypse ;)) but not for an extra foot of tree growth per annum (when I wanted them small, anyway) or 10% more lemons, ya know? Especially as I mostly considered the lemons bonus. I like the ways the trees made the air feel (not just the extra o2, but the citrus oils, and woodsy-ish-ness), the scent of them year round, & their blossoms in the spring. 🍋 🍊 The fruiting was just bonus.
 
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DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
At my last house I had dwarf apple, 3 varieties, dwarf plum, dwarf pear, blueberries and raspberries. They did much better after I let the chickens free range. I'm now in zone 6a, and have 2 dwarf oranges I keep inside under grow lights. I planted 15 trees on 2 1/2 acres in the last 6 months, and will be getting dwarf fruit trees this year. I'm putting together a geodesic greenhouse for veggie starts since I have such a short growing season.

I use potato bags to grow potatoes and I'm building more raised beds this year. Just need lots of soil.
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
I'm putting together a geodesic greenhouse for veggie starts since I have such a short growing season

Hey Dharma! Concerning your quote- I am not near as knowledgeable as I need to be but it is exciting to have the opportunity of so many gardeners available to offer hope of possibilities! Are you designing the geodesic greenhouse yourself? ( have to look this up btw🤔).

Can you offer what was the name of the dwarf blueberries that you selected? Were you happy with the taste of the berry and was it self pollinated? 15 Trees plus... isn’t that like a little orchard? Do you can, freeze or maybe sell? So darn neat to read everybody’s life connected to Nature. Thanks.
 
I'm growing dwarf lemon/lime, mandarin, orange, cherry and passionfruit. Plus some other stuff, herbs etc.
If you decide to grow in the ground or in a pot prepare ahead of planting with some well rotter manure etc. Dig the soil over. When planting cover the surrounds with straw or similar material to protect against the elements but don't push straw right up against the collar of the tree. Protect it's young leaves from bugs etc especially the first year or so. Deep water rather than light drinks then let them dry out but not to bone dry. Citrus grow their root systems horizontally mostly so feed at the drip line (wherever the branches and leaves extend outwards to). Feed a little but more often. Take note of the roots stock. Make sure it's robust but not aggressive because sometimes nurseries graft to the wrong type and that really can effect how well your citrus will grow.
 

Tornadic Thoughts

MyPTSD Pro
We have bird netting over the blueberry plants, @Recovery4Me - which created an issue with a black rat snake getting trapped in it. We managed to get the netting cut and got the snake in a pillow case to take it to a wildlife center to ensure it was okay, then brought it back to let it loose. I used to run like hell if I'd see a snake. lol

We had a strawberry patch that we put netting around. A neighbor was giving away the screen panels of an old whatchamacallit (I can't remember the name - an outdoor seating thingy that was screened in) and some were damaged, but very usable for our purpose. We took those and made a fence of sorts around the strawberry patch, then used the netting over the top. Made it hard to stand up out there, lol, but we managed. The excess rains ended up pretty much drowning that spot out, so we disassembled it.

Some of the pots we plant in are placed underneath a 4 post wooden grape trellis and fenced in with the rolls of wire fencing, but done in a way that can easily be moved to do the watering and harvesting. That's where the variety of peppers grow. We're overwintering our pepper plants in the basement this year. Didn't even know you could do that, but saw someone say they had great luck with it, so we're trying it. The purposely planted dandelion greens pot and pots of peppermint are alongside the house with no netting or fence. Nothing seems to bother them.

The tomato plants (mostly cherry, plum, and volunteers) are in big black pots in front of the house, in between the herbs/greens raised beds. We've only had a tomato plant be messed with once (only a few came up missing that had ripened - a Cherokee purple variety) since doing that, so we don't bother fencing those in. We use wider gauge fencing to make the trellises with. We also put tomato plants in pots on the front porch of an old abandoned small house next to ours (from the 1800s that my husband's parents originally lived in before building this one). We rigged up some of the rolls of wire fencing to put around those, too, that can easily be moved to do the watering and harvesting.

We also learned to put fencing around the raised beds, or else they become the all-you-can-eat buffet. lol The deer loved eating the sweet potato greens that grew outside of the parameters of the fence. (and the beet greens, and the kale, and the spinach, etc.) Once it came time to harvest the sweet potatoes (that were in their own raised bed), we removed the fence the day before and they ate up every single leaf. lol I eat them, too. Yum! They have damn good taste. :)

The big garden has a fence, too. A bear tore part of it down our first year planting and got into our corn. We're expanding the space this year and making it a much stronger fence. Many of our fencing projects were pieced together with old fencing from the what was left in the workshop and such from his late father, so it wasn't much of an expense. Hoping we can both still function well enough to keep tending to it all in order to stock the freezer, the pantry, and share the extras. Fingers crossed for wellness, mobility, and patience to keep going and growing. I love that you've found joy in growing stuff. It really is therapeutic, as well as frustrating, exhausting, thrilling, and full of surprises. Definitely keeps the brain entertained. Will be glad to share some pics when I dig some up. I'll put them in the photo thread and tag you.

We put an asparagus bed in the side of a small hill when we first moved in. The last 2 yrs we've gotten some decent harvests off of it. We don't have it fenced in and nothing has bothered it.

To start seeds indoors, we have a big black wire shelving unit that has an old workshop metal encased fluorescent light that is on the very top shelf. We use various containers to put the starter pots in underneath that. We keep a fan in there and move it around from side to side every other day to help strengthen them. So far it's worked really well. We got a heated mat to put underneath the containers and that kicked the growth up a notch, for sure.

I also do sprouts indoors, grow some herbs indoors, and purchase trays of microgreens from a friend and harvest them every couple of weeks. I bought the stuff to do my own, but want to support her small business while I can. Our mushroom logs that we purchased from a local farmer produced enough shiitakes for a couple meals, the darn slugs ate the oyster shrooms that were growing, and I lucked out and found a nice sized lion's mane mushroom on a dead tree next to our mountain stream. I was so excited! :) As I sit here awaiting to wake up tomorrow to about 8 or so inches of snow, all this gardening talk makes me want to go do a sun dance. ☀️ Thank you for giving me that to look forward to. :)
 
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