Fruit trees don't give you that instant return that annuals or even perennials do. They usually take a few years to take off, to grow enough and bud and be able to produce fruit. You can forget about any shade from them for years.
At the end of one whole summer when the only return on your investment is one solitary lemon, it can seem a discouraging enterprise. They can be sensitive and fall victim to either drought or freezing conditions. And aphids.
But the awe-inspiring wonder — especially if you didn't grow up in a tropical climate — of being able to pick your own tangelos, lemons or limes in your own yard in Houston is hard to beat. And although people tend to tuck these trees away in their backyards, they have a certain beauty all their own.
And this time of year, in Houston, is a good time to plant trees.
For the 18th time on Saturday, January 13, Urban Harvest will present its annual fruit tree sale. They bill it as the largest event of its type in the country. Whether it truly is or not, it is impressive and this year it's moving its location to the Houston Community College West Loop Campus, 5601 West Loop South.
What makes this worthwhile is that they aren't trying to shine you on with the kind of fruit trees that may not grow well in Houston's soil. Some will fit in containers while others are made for large areas. And this year there's several new varieties of trees available: coffee, chocolate persimmon and the Marseilles fig.
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And then we come to the moringa "a tropical tree known for its edible leaves that are high in Vitamin C," according to an Urban Harvest press release.
The event, which includes an education pavilion and activities for kids along with food trucks to keep everyone going, is also a fund raiser for Urban Harvest. Money raised goes to educational programs," donation gardens that supply fresh food to soup kitchens and food pantries, and among other things, the Urban Harvest Farmers Market at Eastside.
The event starts at 9 a.m. but anyone who wants to donate $250 to Urban Harvest before December 31, 2017 will get a chance to pick their trees before the sale starts.
The Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday January 13. It is free t attend and the fruit trees start at $12. For more information, visit urbanharvest.org/fruit-tree-sale.