Book Review: Fruits & Berries of the Pacific Northwest

May 13, 2011

May 15th usually marks the point where it is safe to plant seeds directly into the ground here in the Pacific Northwest, which means it is safe to plant a garden outdoors. This has led me to do some more reading on growing fruit.

I  picked up the 1988 book Fruits & Berries of the Pacific Northwest by David C. Flaherty and Sue Ellan Harvey because I thought it would be specific to this region and give me more ideas of how to grow various fruit here.

The book starts out by listing varieties. That is to say, the section on apples lists different apple varieties before moving on to different apricot varieties. Each variety is given a paragraph or so to describe the fruit and growth habit. Some fruits only have a paragraph or two to talk about it, and does not get into specifics on breeds. All in all, it covers: 22 apples, 16 apricots, 8 blackberries (but not the two that grow wild), 8 blueberries, 13 sweet cherries, 5 pie cherries, cranberries, currants, gooseberries, 17 table and juice grapes, 9 wine grapes, kiwi, 5 nectarines, 21 peaches, 9 pears, Asian pears, 22 plums, 13 raspberries, and 12 strawberries. The next chapter is on planting and growing, which covers planning, planting, pruning, and pests and diseases, using both pictures and drawings to illustrate each topic. The last chapter is titled “Fruit Industry”, and includes things about early history of the various regions within the Pacific Northwest, the apple industry and issues, and fruit stands. Throughout the book, there are a few pages on “Profiles”, which highlights important people or a specific industry or farm.

This is not a “how-to grow” book despite the last chapters. Instead, I would treat it like catalog of what fruit can grow in this area, and it does distinguish on pickier plants if it is specific to one side of the Cascades or not.  It does have some nice pictures that one who lives here can look at them and say, “That is the Columbia Gorge.”

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