Edible Gardens: A Practical Guide
By Craig Castree, qualified horticulturist and nurseryman.
As a result of Craig’s experience in nurseries and having grown his own food for most of his life, there is not a lot he doesn’t know about edible gardens. Craig also is a volunteer at the Werribee Heritage Park Orchard and is adept at growing, pruning and grafting fruit trees.
Pests and Diseases of Fruit Trees and Shrubs
Growing fruit in your own backyard or home orchard is a real pleasure. The benefits are enormous. You can have access to in-season fruit picked fresh from the tree or shrub, with zero transport miles, rare and unusual varieties with a greater nutritional variety, and delicious fruit flavors all year round. Furthermore, your health will benefit if you get out into the fresh air and sunshine of the garden.
Pests and diseases will inevitably appear at some point in the gardening year, but they need not spoil the enjoyment of growing your own food. There are many useful and chemical-free ways of managing them – including encouraging birds and ladybugs to come and eat the insect pests!
We hope you will enjoy using this book to make your fruit-full garden thrive, and your harvest increase!
Propagating Fruit Plants
Anyone can easily multiply their own rare and heritage fruit trees and shrubs for selling, sharing or growing their own mini-orchard. This handbook shows you how. It covers such topics as propagation by seeds, suckers, layers, cuttings, eye-cuttings, root-cuttings and division.
Cider is a traditional alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of juice from specific apples. It can be brewed at home.
This pleasant – and reputedly health-giving – drink has a long history. It is reported that when the Romans arrived in England in 55 BC, they found the local Kentish villagers drinking a delicious cider-like beverage made from apples. It is unknown how long the English locals had been making this apple drink prior to the arrival of the Romans.
Cider apples are cultivars selected for characteristics that make high quality cider. Early settlers sailed to new lands bringing these special fruits, thus distributing them across the globe. Some of these unique, historic cultivars have survived through the years and been rediscovered by enthusiastic brewers. We list some of them here, along with what is known of their history, description, flavour characteristics and a few sources for trees.
The taste of a tree-ripened, freshly-picked fig, is sublime. Never judge figs on the specimens available in supermarkets, which are often dry and inferior.
A ripe, fresh fig should be tender and slightly soft. When you bite into it, a silky surge of juicy, rich flavour fills your mouth, tasting like jam eaten straight out of the jar – only infinitely more subtle and complex, with overtones of honey and wine. The interior of the fruit is packed with luscious flowerlets lapped in a sweet, glistening syrup. The fruit of the fig tree has been sought out and cultivated by man since ancient times, and is now widely grown throughout the temperate world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant. Hundreds of named fig cultivars now exist, but only a handful are commercially grown. Find out more about the amazing heirloom varieties within these pages.
Of all the deciduous tree fruit varieties, the peach is ranked third in global economic importance after the apple and the pear.
This handbook lists and describes around 230 existing and ‘lost’ heritage peach cultivars, to help you choose those you would prefer to grow. It gives fascinating insights into the world of peaches, and some surprising facts about this delicious queen of fruits including, for each variety, the history, visual description, flavour, flesh characteristics, skin colour, type of pit or stone, chill and pollination requirements, and uses. An indispensable handbook for the peach enthusiast.
Perry is a traditional alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of juice from specific pears. It can be brewed at home. Some call this drink ‘pear cider’. When perry is made from real perry pears it is a refreshing, light and delicate drink, rivalling high quality champagne. Perry pears are cultivars selected for characteristics that make high quality perry. Early settlers sailed to new lands bringing these special fruits, thus distributing them across the globe.
Some of these unique, historic cultivars have survived through the years and been rediscovered by enthusiastic brewers. We list some of them here, along with what is known of their history, description, flavour characteristics and a few sources for trees.
Red-fleshed peaches are far rarer than the white-fleshed or yellow-fleshed types. In some countries they are almost impossible to find. How they spread from China to other parts of the world is an interesting story, partially shrouded in mystery.
Their colour sets these fruits apart – the deep ruby shade of their flesh make them spectacular additions to recipes. Their flavour, too, is unique.
Moreover, red-fleshed peaches have numerous health benefits. Rich in antioxidant anthocyanins and flavonoids, they possess qualities that both heal and protect the human body.