About Me

About Me

I grew up on the west coast on an acre full of fruit trees and small fruit. I have fond memories of rushing home after school, tossing my backpack in the front door and then racing into the backyard to try and beat my siblings to that days ripest blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. My parents planted grapes, plums, cherries, apples and pears but in retrospect it is clear that they did not know what they were doing. Varieties were clearly simply what was available at the local nursery and not necessarily appropriate for our wet, West-coast weather. Cherries suffered horribly from brown rot. A variety of green grape would ripen only 1 year in 3 despite our zone 8b weather. We would race to eat pears from the tree as they rooted from inside out and then drop creating a wasp heaven and a kid nightmare. Not once do I have a memory of any of the trees or vines being pruned.

And yet, despite that we still had more fruit than we could eat. Starting with sour Rhubarb freshly cut and dipped in sugar starting in late march all the way to throwing Concord grapes as high as we could during Halloween and catching them in our mouths. Between those dates we gorged ourselves on strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, then plums, apples, cherries (any that survived the fungus and birds) and pears.

I always knew when I had my own property I wanted to try and replicate this experience wherever I ended up.

Well in 2012 we purchased our first house in Quebec, Canada just north of Ottawa. Our growing zone is 4a/b (USDA 3a/b) and the coldest so far I have seen our winters get down to was -38C (-36F). Our summers can be on the opposite end with a couple weeks at +35C (95F). Last frost is usually early May but can be as late as 3rd week of May. First frost is usually during the first two weeks of October but can be during the second week of September.

My property is one acre in size and has the backyard facing due south with excellent south and western sun exposure. Wind is predominately from the west and the north. Beggars can’t be choosers and so my soil is not what you would consider ideal for growing. It is very heavy clay with poor drainage. The terrain is quite flat and standing water can collect in numerous areas during heavy rains and can remain for weeks during late winter and early spring.

So follow along as I go about learning how to cold climate garden with the goal of fruit abundance.

Frozen North Fruit

Cold climate fruit growing experiments North of the 45th parallel