Growing Pies

A special package arrived today via the seed company: two small Top Hat blueberry bushes, the final plants in my “growing pies” project. This summer I have set my heart on producing enough fruit for several homemade pies without a large expansive garden. Here’s the problem: Our town home has a patio, but no yard for gardening. The community garden we utilize does not allow perennials. There is also a problem with my pie crust abilities, but we’ll worry about that later. I’ve decided to try four types of “pie” plants, all in containers:

Garden Huckleberry (Solanum melanocerasum) and Sunberry (Solanum burbankii)
I purchased these from the Seed Savers Exchange rack at Eggplant Urban Farm Supply. Both are in the nightshade family (poisonous if eaten before ripe) and produce a small bluish-black berry perfect for pies and preserves. Everything I have read indicates they are grown in a similar fashion as tomatoes, which should be suitable for a patio pot. Each plant is supposed to produce enough for one pie. Started the seedlings about 10 days ago and they are just stretching 3 inches high.

Ground Cherry (Physalis pruinosa)
These came as a bonus packet in our larger seed order, so I thought why not? My dad has doubts about their utility and cautions that it took him many years to remove them from his garden because the plants easily re-seed themselves. I already have the seedlings transplanted into their container and ready to head outside with warmer weather.

And today’s special delivery: Top Hat Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum)
These low bush blueberries are hearty for our area and grow only 1 1/2 to 2 feet high. When I opened the box I found two small plants that will likely take more than one growing season to reach their full production. They are primarily ornamental, however the best option I could scope out for the patio. I’ve even seen them grown as Bonsai.

I’ll plan to give an update as the plants progress and will definitely document the pies. For now, anxiously awaiting more signs of spring!


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