Q. Dear Twig: You asked this last week: "Why would you want to grow your own fruit?" You mentioned a good way to learn about it.
A. My friend Miss McGillicuddy grows her own raspberries. She has bags and bags of frozen ones down in the freezer in her basement. Whenever she wants some, even in the middle of winter, maybe to make a raspberry cobbler, she goes downstairs and gets some. Simple. They're free, sweet and good. And in summer, whoa, during raspberry season, she picks them almost every day (she has to, there are so many) and can eat them fresh, if she wants to, till she pops. Which make, as I see it, some pretty good reasons to grow your own fruit or to try.
How to learn about it? Find gobs of helpful books at your library or bookstore. And also try this new one. It's called Midwest Home Fruit Production Guide. It's a fact-filled, fruit-filled, fruity fruitipedia. The place I work for, Ohio State, just published it. You can read about it here: http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~news/story.php?id=5023. You can buy it online here ($9.50): http://estore.osu-extension.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=2174. And if you're one of the first five readers to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, you'll win a free copy of it. Go!
P.S. More good reasons: It's fun. Good exercise. And cuts your food bill with fresh, healthy food.
P.P.S. Frugal ("FROO-guhl") means thrifty, inexpensive, economical. Frugivorous ("froo-JIV-ah-russ") means fruit-eating.
Another good way to learn more: Find a ton of fact sheets on fruit growing at http://ohioline.osu.edu/. Click the yellow "Yard and Garden" circle. Click the third bullet down: "Fruit." Then pick a fruit and start fruitin'! Learnin'! Both!
Remember, the kinds of fruit you can grow in Ohio and the rest of the Midwest include apples, grapes, pears, plums, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and a big bunch of others.
Our closing words come from three bards: "A crummy commercial?" (Ralphie, "A Christmas Story"). "It's a Major Award!" (The Old Man, "A Christmas Story"). "Tell me what I want, what I really, really want!" (Ralph Wiggum, "The Simpsons").
Good night, good luck.
"Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick" is a weekly feature for children (ages 9+; 4th grade reading level) about science, nature, farming and the environment. Online at http://extension.osu.edu/~news/archive.php?series=science.
Brought to you by your scientific friends at The Ohio State University — specifically, at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) (http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu) and with Ohio State University Extension (http://extension.osu.edu). OARDC and OSU Extension are the research and outreach arms, respectively, of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Written by Kurt Knebusch of OARDC and OSU Extension. For details, to ask Twig a question, and/or to receive the column free by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt at CommTech, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691; email@example.com; (330) 263-3776.