As we become more distant from our farmers and food producers, it makes more sense to start growing our own edibles in our gardens. In this post, we hope to help those of you in San Diego County who want to add fruit to your edible garden.

There is a school of thought that encourages a variety of fruit trees in the backyard setting by stating from the get go that the trees should be kept to the size that is convenient for the gardener via root ball size restriction and pruning. This is a more active approach, but it is very appealing (ha!) in that it provides for a longer season of produce.

In a typical setting, we will be restricted as to the number of types and varieties of trees, so for this reason care must be taken over the choices. They need to be either good producers, very pest and disease resistant or be pretty to look at. Using this as a guide, we would recommend  the following:

  • Apples – you will need to look for ‘Low Chill’ varieties such as ‘Anna’ and ‘Rubinette’
  • Avocado – for small space cultivation look for a tree that has a type A and type B variety grafted on to one rootstock. Good choices would include ‘Holiday’ (type A), or ‘Wertz’ (type A).
  • Citrus is typically grafted onto different rootstock to shorten the time to fruiting. A dwarf rootstock reduces the overall size of the tree, so is a good choice for backyards. Citrus varieties to consider include:
    • Grapefruit – ‘Redblush’, ‘Rio Red’ or ‘Cocktail’
    • Kumquat – ‘Meiwa’ or ‘Nagami’
    • Lemon – ‘Sungold’, ‘Eureka’ or ‘Variegated Pink’
    • Lime – ‘Bearss’ or ‘Mexican’ (also known as ‘key lime’)
    • Mandarin – ‘Encore’, ‘Pixie’, or ‘Mediterranean’
    • Sweet Orange – ‘Shamouti’, ‘Robertson’ or ‘Valencia’
  • Fig – ‘Genoa’, ‘Mission’, or ‘Panachee’
  • Peach and Nectarine – again, low chill varieties are important so:
    • Peach –  ‘August Pride’, ‘Bonita’ or ‘Flordaprince’
    • Nectarine – ‘Arctic Star’, ‘Double Delight’ or ‘Southern Belle’
  • Pear – needs a mate to ensure pollination, so typically choices are ‘Hood’ and ‘Flordahome’
  • Persimmon – also needs a mate to pollinate, so chose two from ‘Fuyu’, ‘Gosho’, ‘Chocolate’ or ‘Nishimura Wase’
  • Plum and prune – ‘Damson’, ‘Beauty’, ‘Burgandy’,  or ‘Catalinia’
  • Pomegranate – ‘Wonderful’, ‘Eversweet’, ‘Granada’, ‘Red Silk’ or ‘White’

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Diane Downey and Sheri Menelli specialize in earth-friendly landscaping practices, including vegetable gardening, rainwater capture, soil health, native plants, and efficient irrigation. Diane is a professional landscape designer with over 10 years’ experience, and Sheri is a certified permaculture designer with a six-year-old food forest in her backyard. Combined, they have over two decades of teaching experience. Their classes are taught to the public in the classroom, in the field, and via one-on-one garden coaching sessions.
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