When we started looking in earnest for our retirement property, (it took a couple of years and a lot of frustration) we made a list of things we wanted. Some were negotiable, but some were not.
One non-negotiable was a place for me to garden. We were interested in finding, maybe, an old farm with fruit trees. We wanted the area around the house to be tree-free, as once we got older, it might be difficult to remove them, if necessary, and we didn't want the on-going hassle of cleaning eaves-troughs etc.
Well, both those criteria (as well as many others) were found here. Other than a couple of apple trees, not too close, we have open space around the buildings, bordered by lots and lots of bush and trees. Its wonderful to have a garden that is exposed to the full sun. It makes such a difference in the growth of the plants. (see previous post 'What a frustrated gardener does') It would have been OK with me if there had been established gardens, but I have enjoyed creating them, even if it is hard work.
When we moved up in June of 2017, I searched in vain for any asparagus, rhubarb or horseradish plants. None. As time went on, I've found other flower relics of previous owners, but all overgrown and stunted. (see previous post 'The Rock Garden') There is a large lilac bush which we are working at rejuvenating, and....lots and lots of gnarly old apple trees! (Eleven in the cleared area around the buildings alone!)
I thought about establishing raspberry canes and blueberry bushes, BUT, nature provides free ones! There is an area, many acres large, 13 Km away, where blueberries grow. 2017 was a bumper year, and 2019 was a very good year. I managed to sock away lots in the freezer. Closer to home, there are 3+ areas on the property that produce raspberries. I manage to get enough for several batches of jam. Because they are wild ones, they are a little seedy, but a food mill helps with that. As for blackberries...there are patches of huge canes in several places and in a bumper year for moisture like 2017 was, I was freezing bags of them as I'd filled all my jelly jars. I made jelly well into 2018 from the stash in the freezer. Picking them is no easy feat, as one needs armor...denim coveralls, long sleeved shirts and leather gloves.
And, finally...Apples. We had a taste-testing walk around to all the trees on the property, the first fall we were here. Early the following spring, I spent a lot of time with a ladder and a saw, pruning the old trees as best I could. There was a lot of climbing up and down the ladder to stand back and make pruning decisions. Some of the trees we chose were being choked out by encroaching bush, so there was a lot of chainsawing and dragging away of trees and brush to let the sun in.
So, every year, we have tons of apples. Some are earlier than others, some are yellow-green, and never get rosy, some are rosy cheeked with pink streaks inside. I can them, I freeze them, I make apple butter and I dry them. The fallen apples from the trees in the clearing go into the compost bin, and once layered with fallen leaves, make a super rich, black compost.