17 backyard fruits – Sweet, fresh and very, very local

Even with a short season, Alberta gardeners grow apples, goji berries (pictured above), stone fruit, even grapes in their backyards. Here are just some of the fruit varieties available at the Prairie Gardens greenhouse right now.

Apples We grow great apples that are hardy enough for the prairies. Red Sparkle, Winter Cheeks, Goodland, September Ruby and Kerr are all productive in my orchard.

Apricots – Manchurian Hardy and beautiful – the first pink blossoms of the season.

Arctic Kiwi Just had a guy come in and tell me his vines produced bushel baskets of these tasty, small – version aka Chinese Gooseberries!

Blueberries Perhaps the world’s favourite berry. You too can grow them, with a little persistence and the right acidic soil location.

Cranberries Why not make your own cranberry sauce this year?

Cherry Plums Sweet purple cherry crossed with a plum. Delicious! And a good pollinator.

Red and Black Currants Great for jams and jellies.

Haskap/Honeyberries This fantastic fruit is amazing like a cross between a blueberry and a huckleberry! Super Hardy – they can withstand -40 degree weather, even the blossoms can take a -7C.  First berry of the season – ready for picking by the end of June, can produce 7 kgs of fruit per bush, and super healthy and chock full of antioxidants.

Goji Berries A high-antioxidant sour devil, with thorny branches.  Best dried in fruit mixes, or throw some in your morning smoothie!

Grapes Yup, that’s right. Grapes in Alberta. And not just Grape Jelly Grapes – like Valiant and Bluebell. Also Wine Grapes like Frontenac and Marechael Foch!

Pineberries The newest rage – white strawberries that taste like pineapples!

Pears There are a few good varieties out there with more being developed!

Plums Pembina is the largest and the best, followed by Brookgold and Brookred. 

Red, Yellow and Black Raspberries Despite all the “exotic” fruit I’ve mentioned, I’m afraid the plain ol’ raspberry is my favourite. Red, yellow, or black – wild or tame… They are delicious!

Rhubarb Homesteader, Strawberry Red, Macdonald, Victoria.

Strawberries Mmmmmm strawberries… perhaps another one of the world’s favourite berries. The best for Alberta gardens are Kent, Honeoye, Tristar and Seascape and Allstar!

Saskatoons Our most delectable native berry in Alberta – my personal fave? Thiessen. Pat’s Fave? Northline.

So there you have it. Proof that you don’t have to live in BC to grow your own fruit. Did I miss some? Let me know at Prairie Gardens on Facebook. Farmer Tam

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