Top Organic Fruit Varieties to Grow in Your Backyard

Organic apricot bloom on a backyard tree

As spring approaches and home gardening is popular for health and sustainability, it’s essential to consider the best organic fruit varieties for your backyard. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is crucial in this selection process. It’s a holistic approach emphasizing prevention, monitoring, and various control methods to minimize pesticide use and its impacts on health and the environment.  

As a master gardener and organic farmer, I aim to empower home gardeners with knowledge for cultivating organic fruits, fostering a deeper connection with nature, and reaping flavorful, nutrient-rich produce. Here are some top organic fruit varieties to consider and why they are the best choices.

1. Strawberries

Children benefit nutritionally from organic strawberries

These delightful berries are perfect for beginners and seasoned gardeners. Organic strawberries are full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber and are delicious and incredibly nutritious. They thrive in pots, hanging baskets, or directly in the ground, making them ideal for small spaces. Strawberries are well-suited for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices due to their resilience against many common pests and diseases. Spokane Master Gardeners provides an informational PDF for planting and growing strawberries.

2. Blueberries

U-pick blueberries at Chelan Ranch in July

Renowned for their high levels of antioxidants, organic blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse. These shrubs prefer acidic soil and sunny spots, perfect for backyard gardens. With proper care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of plump, juicy berries that are great for snacking and fantastic additions to various recipes. An excellent resource for home gardeners comes from Bernadine Strik at Oregon State University. Blueberries are relatively resistant to pests and diseases, further enhancing their suitability for IPM strategies. If you’re in Lake Chelan next summer, put the second week of July on your calendar to U-pick blueberries at Chelan Ranch.

3. Blackberries & Raspberries

organic blackberries

These sweet-tart berries are a favorite among home gardeners due to their easy cultivation and delicious flavor. Whether grown as erect varieties or trailing types supported by trellises, blackberries, and raspberries are relatively low-maintenance and produce abundant fruit. Organic blackberries and raspberries are a healthy addition to any diet and are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also less susceptible to many pests and diseases, making them ideal candidates for IPM. An excellent resource for growing these berry crops comes from Bernadine Strik at Oregon State University.

4. Citrus

Satsuma Tree in backyard in New Orlean

If you live in a warm climate like New Orleans or have a sunny indoor space, consider growing citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and mandarins. These vitamin C-rich fruits flavor dishes and beverages and add ornamental value to your backyard. While citrus trees require protection from frost, they generally have fewer pest and disease issues than other fruit trees, simplifying IPM efforts. Louisianna State University provides more information for growing these beautiful fruits.

5. Figs

In warmer climates, figs are well-suited for backyard cultivation. Fig trees produce sweet, succulent fruit that is delicious, fresh, or dried. Figs are tasty and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them nutritious to your diet. Their hardiness and minimal pest and disease susceptibility make them excellent choices for IPM-focused backyards. Clemson Cooperative Extension offers a helpful fact sheet on growing fig trees.

6. Peaches & Nectarines

organic peaches in backyard in Lake Chelan

Dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties of peaches and nectarines are perfect for backyard orchards, requiring full sun and well-drained soil. These stone fruits reward growers with juicy, aromatic fruit, whether eaten fresh, grilled, or baked into desserts. While they may face some pest and disease pressure, selecting disease-resistant varieties and implementing IPM practices can mitigate these issues effectively. The Home Orchard Society provides a forum for sharing disease-resistant varieties.

7. Plums

organic plums

Plums come in various flavors and colors, making them versatile for backyard orchards. These hardy trees produce abundant, juicy, flavorful fruit fresh, dried, or made into jams and preserves. With proper care and IPM strategies, plum trees can thrive and provide a reliable source of delicious fruit year after year. Prunes are less prone to disease and nutrition problems than other stone fruit kinds, making an excellent backyard choice. For more information about growing plums, visit Washington State University.

8. Grapes

organic grape arbor

Whether trained on trellises or arbors, grapevines are well-suited for backyard cultivation. These sun-loving vines produce clusters of sweet, juicy fruit perfect for eating fresh (chickens love them!) or making into wine, juice, or jelly. While grapes may face some pest and disease challenges, diligent pruning, proper spacing, and other IPM techniques can help maintain healthy vines and minimize issues. The viticulture and enology department at Washington State University provides abundant information on growing backyard grapes.

When selecting fruit varieties for your backyard orchard, consider your climate, soil type, available space, IPM, and personal preferences. Integrated Pest Management is essential for home gardeners because it offers environmentally sustainable, cost-effective, and health-conscious approaches to pest control while promoting biodiversity, preserving beneficial insects, and ensuring the long-term health and productivity of garden ecosystems. Choosing organic fruit varieties with more accessible integrated pest management practices allows you to enjoy a bountiful harvest of flavorful, nutrient-rich produce while minimizing environmental impact. Happy gardening!

If you want to leave the growing and harvesting to the experts, Chelan Ranch Organics offers organic strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and apples. Visit us online to place an order for farm-to-home delivery.