Grow More Food with Perennial Fruit and Nut Bushes, Vines and Trees

Grow More Food with Perennial Fruit and Nut Bushes, Vines and Trees

This time of year I love going out into the garden to check on my perennials to see which ones are beginning to show signs of life.  It is a bit of a passion of mine to add to my urban orchard.

This brings me to today’s subject.  Earlier in the Urban Gardening Series I touched on how to plan and start your annual crops but purposely left out perennials. With the inspiration of spring that has me thinking about perennials I thought I would touch on planning for perennials in your small space or urban garden. 

Perennials are defined as plants that live for more than two years separating them from annuals or biannual plans that you grow and harvest within a year or two.  In the context of your garden they are crops that you plant once and they keep producing year after year.

0:05 Introduction
0:07 Defined perennials
0:51 Food Forest Perennials
1:16 Perennial crops that pay for themselves
2:03 Planning for perennials
2:27 Hardiness Zone
3:18 General growth patterns of perennials: Bush Tree and Vines
3:41 Perennial fruiting bushes
4:10 Perennial fruiting vines
5:21 Perennial fruiting trees
6:40 Finding areas for fruit trees, bushes and vines.
7:30 How do they Pollinate
7:57 Methods to grow more perennials in smaller areas
8:08 Growing fruit bearing perennials in pots or containers
9:12 Growing Espalier trees to produce more food in smaller spaces

list of perennials in my garden and status of production: (31 currently)

Apple Trees: light production expected full production when tree is 5-7 years old
Honey Crisp
Combination Apple Tree 7 Varieties

Espalier Apple Tree: expected full production year 3
Honey Crisp

Asparagus: expected full production year 2 from 3 year old roots
Millennium (green)
Purple Asparagus
Ravel (white)

Blue Berries: Light production year 2
North Land
North Country
North Blue
Cherry Tree: expected production 5-7 years

Fig: Expected production year 2
Magnolia Breba (container) (lower growth)
Violet De Bordeaux Breba Fig (container) (upright growth)

Goji Berry: expected production year 3 from seed

Grapes: expected full production year 4-5
Heirloom Grandpa Legaree
Heirloom Grandpa Lampi
Frontenac Gris
Pixie Dwarf Vine (Container)

Honey Berries: expected full production year 3
Berry Blue
Indigo gem (container)
Tundra (container)

Raspberries (unknown varieties) Full production year 2
Two Red and one Yellow variety

Rhubarb: Full production year 2
Arctic Rhubarb from Kay Garvin via Dad

Strawberries: Full production year 2

Future additions to my orchard:

Apple Tree: Grafting
Mike’s Apple

Pear Tree:
Paul’s Pear

Lingon Berries

Moroccan Mint

Fruit and Nut Trees of Alberta Facebook Page

Related Episodes

Urban Gardening Series Playlist

How to Grow an Espalier Fruit or Nut Tree

Growing Perennials in Zone 3 Alberta Canada


  1. axe609 on June 30, 2021 at 1:47 am

    Awesome. Having jus bought my property I am going to invest more into my perennials this year than my gardens. I bought some northern Pecan nd Hazelnut But have found no information on when to plant them. Any ideas? Do I have to wait for the last frost or can I start them now? Same with my blueberries, I know you can plant them early but they have leaves starting and ass the trees are not leafing yet I am not sure. Thanks for the great videos!

  2. Rick Schulte on June 30, 2021 at 1:50 am

    thank you sir, for your quick response!!!😅😂

  3. Alex ario on June 30, 2021 at 1:53 am

    Such deep breaths.

  4. terapiu on June 30, 2021 at 1:54 am

    Hello again Stephen, I have some new questions 😛
    First: Is it ok if I cut young fruit trees now (they have leaves and so on) ? I mean for example I have a apricot tree that I planted in march or so and it is a bit tall (about 1.3m), after seeing some info (on your channel and others) about pruning from height to get a low branching tree (bush like) I thought I should trim mine also…
    Another question: Is it late to plant fruit trees now and what would happen if I did ?! (temps are around 20+ daytime, 5-10 at night)


  5. Jefferdaughter on June 30, 2021 at 1:56 am

    For clarity, in addition to trees, woody shrubs, and vines, some perennial vegetables are ‘herbaceous’.  This includes plants like rhubarb that do not develop woody stems.  Other herbaceous perennials include asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes (aka ‘sunchokes’), and artichokes, where they are hardy.  Some less familiar perennial vegetables that were once more popular are once again being more widely planted, like Good King Henry, and sea kale.Other herbaceous perennials that are not thought of as vegetables by most gardeners in North America offer the opportunity to expand our edible opportunities into the ornamental garden.  Daylilies (shoots, buds, flowers, and roots), hosta (young leaves of thinner leaf types are tender, and make great ‘wraps’; flavor varies with cultivar), Eastern redbud  trees(flowers, young leaves & young pods), and ground elder; the variegated type is often called ‘snow-on-the-mountain (a useful potherb, meaning cooked).  No rule against growing food in the front yard will rule out any of these familiar ornamentals!    Three of them are herbaceous perennials.

  6. Adam Craig Outdoors on June 30, 2021 at 1:56 am

    i have been clearing an area on my property so i can plant some fruit trees. hoping for 5 or 6 apple trees and a couple plum or pear. hope yours do well.

    Thanks for the video.

  7. Michael Todd on June 30, 2021 at 1:58 am

    Go Permaculture man. Food Forest. You have to much yard.

  8. zzChickiezz on June 30, 2021 at 1:58 am

    Hi! I live 3 hours south of you 😉 and am hoping to have some epic gardening happening on my property, one question I have is how to keep those raspberry bushes contained? I had a row at my old place and they quickly took over the entire backyard (10 x 6). I tried putting a few of those bushes in large planters at my new house but only 1 survived and it hasn’t produced anything (it’s been 2 years).
    Thanks for your videos!!

  9. Matt T on June 30, 2021 at 1:59 am

    Thanks for the video. I was wondering which direction your corner garden faces and which zone you’re in

  10. Ron Tropics on June 30, 2021 at 1:59 am

    Great video. I got grapes, two apple trees and raspberries. I’d love to try honey berries!

  11. Gavin Nupp on June 30, 2021 at 2:00 am

    you should get some Pawpaws

  12. S1iznc1d3 on June 30, 2021 at 2:03 am

    Informative video. It’s a shame u have all that yard space doing nothing and your forced to grow veg in a small square area.

  13. TRUE NORTH on June 30, 2021 at 2:07 am

    Nice little corner , looks fun .. grow on ..
    Peace bro.👍👍👍👍👍☘☘☘☘☘☘☘

  14. Jacob Spranger on June 30, 2021 at 2:08 am

    Try to buy plants in the fall when they are 50-75% off

  15. Muhammad Salman on June 30, 2021 at 2:09 am

    What best flower preferably fragrant can survive in calgary wet soil and part sun

  16. petluverz on June 30, 2021 at 2:09 am

    Excellent video Stephen!

  17. Etienne Lajoie on June 30, 2021 at 2:12 am

    Very nice perennial list! How’s the lingon berries going? do they produce a lot? Did you know that white asparagus are actually green ones that you cover so they do not produce chlorophyll? Since your a fan of hardy fruit crops like me, do you know about the Green Barn Nursery? They are located near my house and they have all fruit crops you can grow in Canada.

  18. melovescoffee on June 30, 2021 at 2:12 am

    Ohh it’s a honeyberry, i forgot what i planted in my berry cage as an understory. It’s a nice looking plant too! My new garden area is beginning to look like something. I will be planting more perennials there too. I would like to have a chestnut and a walnut. Hard to beat those hops, 10 yo vines, saplings and brambles but getting there. Bleeh, i feel so tiny against that thick mass. It’s like snow white’s overgrown castle garden’s evil twin out there. Ohh no, she choked on an apple, i mean the other princess. Looking fit, Stephen! (if you don’t mind me saying) Have a great day!

  19. Tarifin Sikder on June 30, 2021 at 2:12 am

    Hi there great video quick question I live in Montreal zone 5b if I plant blueberries in pots can I leave them out in the garden without bringing them into a unheated garage during the winter as I don’t have space please let me know I appreciate you taking the time for the questions and happy gardening for 2017

  20. wipeoutxl on June 30, 2021 at 2:14 am

    its funny how you say produce "PRAW-DUCE", we saw it "PRO-DUCE"

  21. The Cárdenas-Bills on June 30, 2021 at 2:15 am

    I have just discovered your channel while searching for advice for gardening in Zone 4 Vermont… This is so helpful! I love your approach to gardening and your creative problem solving. Definitely inspiring for a new homeowner 🙂

  22. In the garden with Grandpa and Grandma on June 30, 2021 at 2:16 am

    Great info my friend. Now if I could grow room I would be okay 🙂


  23. Grow With Kit on June 30, 2021 at 2:17 am

    Fruit bushes are my favourite

  24. stilgottheblues on June 30, 2021 at 2:18 am

    I live in Winnipeg. Which perennial are best for Winnipeg’s cold?

  25. Mark Thieme on June 30, 2021 at 2:18 am

    nice I have plans on adding two esplilary tree’s, and just got two nanking cherry bushes for my bday 🙂 thanks for sharing thumbs up 🙂 (Amber)

  26. Douglas Anderson on June 30, 2021 at 2:18 am

    Thanks for the video. Perennials can also help in spreading your garden out of your backyard. Even the grumpiest HOA can hardly argue with a beautiful flowering tree in the front yard and oh yeah I get nectarines. Tuck some grapes on an alley fence or along the fenceline with the neighbor who thinks gardens are messy and let a few grapes get ‘stolen’. Before you know it you’ll see non-gardeners becoming converts.

  27. Lalagartitita on June 30, 2021 at 2:26 am

    Have you ever thought of making your growing area bigger? you have a looot of space left that you could use.

  28. Elyse Joseph on June 30, 2021 at 2:26 am

    Very thorough my friend and you’re right, I’m in zone 4 and my last frost date is the 30th of May!

  29. Dooby Cook on June 30, 2021 at 2:26 am

    I love this video. It came just in time for what I have planned next in my own zone 7 garden. I have 4 Honey berries going in. I am also planning a pear tree and some type of nut tree. Your idea of planting a stake and monitoring the sunlight is awesome. Thanks again for being such a great inspiration.

  30. Midwest Workshop & Garden on June 30, 2021 at 2:28 am

    My five-year plan for the garden includes the addition of gooseberries, currants, strawberries, blueberries, two rows of grapevines, two apple trees, and one pear tree. It’s going to be an ambitious transformation of my side yard!

    I love this video series, by the way. So glad you decided to do it!

  31. Sow and Farm on June 30, 2021 at 2:30 am

    Thank you for sharing 😊

  32. The Professional on June 30, 2021 at 2:32 am


  33. Faisal Khan on June 30, 2021 at 2:32 am

    Thanks for the Very rich and clear video.

  34. Pontiacfan88 on June 30, 2021 at 2:32 am

    Nice video. I’m starting some cherry trees this year!

  35. Jerry Devorss on June 30, 2021 at 2:37 am

    continuing my comment from your last vid you said you would love to grow sweet cherries well some of these tart cherries are sweet if ripe and are hardy to zone 2b " Carmine Jewel’ is a hybrid cherry developed and released from a breeding
    program in Canada. Original breeding work was done by Dr. Les Kerr in
    the 1940s and later by the University of Saskatchewan. The hybrid cross
    between pie cherries (P. cerasus) and dwarf ground cherry (P. fruiticosa) is the parentage for this very cold hardy bush cherry" these are now a whole bunch of verities called the "romance series" some tend to be sweeter than others but was fun looking into just the same.

  36. Andrew Lockwood on June 30, 2021 at 2:38 am

    Personally, I grow a lot of red raspberries, although this year I managed to increase my numbers of black raspberries and blackberries, not to mention add in some new varieties, including yellow raspberries. I’ve also added grapes, blueberries, red currants and gooseberries, to say nothing about roses chrysanthemums and I have plans to add in arctic/hardy kiwi and strawberries, to say nothing about the possibility of apple and pear threes.

  37. Anna O'Dell on June 30, 2021 at 2:39 am

    Hey I’ve been looking into honeyberry trees. Any varieties you’ve had luck with?

  38. Deborah Maldonado on June 30, 2021 at 2:40 am

    Is anyone in zone 4 but at altitude (~8900 ft above sea level)?

  39. Conrad Cardinal on June 30, 2021 at 2:40 am

    I agree that moving perennials should be avoided if possible. When I bought my cherry tree, a friend of mine bought one at the same time. A few years later they moved and brought it with them, and my tree has greatly surpassed theirs ever since. Theirs finally started showing growth that was normal for my tree about three years later.

    Another great video Stephen, I`m hoping to greatly expand my raspberry patch (maybe into a sort of hedge) and get some new perennial berries in the yard this year as well, so it was a well timed video too.

  40. Jefferdaughter on June 30, 2021 at 2:40 am

    Dwarfing root stock is useful for keeping apple, and other fruit, trees small enough to fit very limited spaces.  However, dwarfing root stock can be less hardy than standard root stock, which allows the grafted tree to have the vigor to attain its full size.  Standard root stocks are much more wind resistant.  In windy sites, trees grafted onto dwarf root stocks may need to be staked forever to keep them from blowing over.*Pruning in summer will keep a standard (full-size) fruit tree whatever size you want: dwarf, or semi-dwarf’, *  but gives the tree the advantage of hardier roots that are more resistant to wind and other challenges.  Generally speaking, pruning in winter encourages growth, while pruning in summer reduced size (but encourages branching).Dwarf and extra dwarf root stocks are good choices for espalier, and very small, well sheltered yards, if the hardiness and soil is compatible with the needs of the rootstock.Thanks for taking the time to make and share these interesting videos!

  41. MN Gardener on June 30, 2021 at 2:40 am

    Great video. Greetings from ND.

  42. palmtreeleebythesea on June 30, 2021 at 2:41 am

    great urban garden video, so helpful enlightening thanks

  43. Rie Man on June 30, 2021 at 2:41 am

    I thought I would add another reason it is wise to have perennial fruit and/or nut trees in your garden. Although I am young enough now to actively work in my garden I can see I might not be as capable some years into the future. Having my fruit trees will still be a way I can enjoy what I have planted years from now. I also have planted several espalier trees so I won’t need to get up on ladders and the clean up will be easy. My espalier trees have different varieties of apples and pears so I can enjoy longer seasons without be overwhelmed with more of a particular fruit than I need.

  44. mary smith on June 30, 2021 at 2:42 am

    how long do I wake to see if a bare root plant survived?  How many weeks or months

  45. B Cook on June 30, 2021 at 2:43 am

    Do you recommend cutting produce off plants until they become established, or allow the fruit to mature and keep fertilizing/mulching with compost? For plants like asparagus, should I allow it to go to see the first year or cut those to force more energy towards roots?

  46. Coastal Gardener on June 30, 2021 at 2:43 am

    goji berries have some crazy thorns on them, I planted them from tiny pots I ordered and got fruit the first year in zone 10a. Once in got cool it got powdery mildew bad. The fruit need to be left on the Bush a week after they turn red to sweeten.

  47. Alex ario on June 30, 2021 at 2:45 am

    Such deep breaths.

  48. OYR Frugal & Sustainable Organic Gardening on June 30, 2021 at 2:45 am

    Nice selection of edible perennials, Stephen!

  49. Rick Schulte on June 30, 2021 at 2:47 am

    steve, thank you again for the info. can help me on how to prune gogi berries?. mine two years old I have starts coming out from the bottom. did some small pruning last year, but could use some more help. sincerely Rick

  50. HillCountryHick on June 30, 2021 at 2:47 am

    Nice! The espalier apple is an elegant touch to your yard.

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