Fruit Basics Knowing and Choosing the Right Fruits for Your Garden

Realistically choosing the type of fruit you can support and grow is important, making the difference between easy success and frustration or failure. Before you get your heart set on a certain kind of fruit you want to grow, do a little research.

Now, you know that fruits come later in a plant's seasonal cycle, right? First the flowers bloom, and then the petals fall as the fruit starts to swell (pollination from the same or an adjacent plant may be necessary — bees often help out). At first small, hard, and green, a fruit expands in size and changes color on the way to becoming juicy and ripe. The seeds or pits are nestled within (except for in the odd case of strawberries), and the flesh of the fruit is actually meant to protect and nourish the seeds, which is why small plants may eventually sprout and grow where unharvested ripe fruit falls to the ground.

Why not just produce seeds? Why go to all this effort? The probable answer is that fruit-producing plants adapted themselves so that birds and animals would eat them and therefore distribute the seed far and wide. Back in the mists of history, food gatherers discovered that the flesh of fruit could also nourish people. The art and science of cultivation led to better fruit size, quality, and flavor. Modern-day fruit varieties are much improved over their wild forbears but require care to achieve a good harvest.

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