Nature's Best To You.

Paul's Point of View Blog

First Fruits

June is the month of the first fruits of the season.  Local grown anyway.  Most people would think of strawberries (yum!) but other fruits are available from the home landscape as well:

Tart Cherries:
Here at Johnson's Nursery we sell 'North Star'. It is a spectacular
genetically dwarf cherry. Great fruit for cooking as well as being extremely ornamental (see past posted article for more detail). I have a North Star in my yard. I usually spray my cherry only twice a season for insect control. Once late May and then again mid-June (for plum curculio and cherry fruitworm control). Usually the fruit will start coloring up around June 20th. It is best to cover your tree with netting to protect against birds at the first sign of pink on the fruit. Cherries color quickly so it is imperative to net at that time. Should you not be diligent in this task, you might be surprised how quickly the birds pick your crop for you. My North Star cherries are usually ripe the last week in June.  

These are available in numerous species that are either a tree or a shrub. All produce tasty blueberry-like fruit enjoyed by birds (cedar waxwings) and people. We offer many selections that grow anywhere from 4'-25' tall. Serviceberry (also called juneberry) usually ripens late June. Like many fruits, they seem to bear a heavy crop one year followed by a light crop the following year. See my previously posted article for more details as to species/selections available. Serviceberry fruit is great for jam or eating fresh. I find running serviceberry and all of the Amelanchier x grandiflora types usually to be the sweetest although this can vary season to season.  

My feature plant this article is Haralson apple.  While this variety is well known farther West Minnesota, Dakotas) it is not common here in S.E. Wisconsin.  We have Haralson available this year in #10 containers.  They are on M7 rootstock so will be semi-dwarf growing about 12'-14' tall.

Haralson was introduced in 1922 by the University of Minnesota Ag Experiment Station. Because of Minnesota's harsh climate, many popular apple varieties of the 19th and early 20th century did poorly there or failed to survive.  Instead of giving up on apple growing, the University of Minnesota instituted an excellent breeding program to develop fruit varieties for their climate.  Haralson is but one of many wonderful selections introduced.

The original Haralson is a striped apple that is hard, tart and keeps for an extremely long time.  It is excellent for cooking and prized for fresh use by those who enjoy a very crisp tart apple.  It ripens in late September.

As time went by, several sports (mutations) arose on Haralson.  These sports had a solid red skin color.  One was introduced as 'Haralred' and another as 'Red Haralson'.  Regardless of a selected sport or the original, Haralson apple became the #1 apple in Minnesota for almost 50 years.  It has only been recently passed in popularity by Honeycrisp (another University of Minnesota introduction).

Plant a Haralson apple in your yard this year and find out for yourself what the people in Minnesota have known for a long time.  Being the #1 apple for 50 years is quite an accomplishment.


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