At long last, summer is upon us! With summer comes delicious food offerings from the veggie garden for us to enjoy. One of the many great ways to use your garden veggies is in salads. If you find yourself looking for exciting new salad recipes this time of year, however, you will likely find that many of them involve fruit as well.

Regardless of your fruit preferences, there are many salad options to cater to your taste. Whether it is apples and pears that suit your fancy or perhaps watermelon, there is a salad for that. Should your belly be begging for blueberries or sweet-talking you into strawberries and peaches, there are salad choices to accommodate those tastes as well. Regardless of the fruit you prefer, a salad can be built around it. All you need is the fruit you crave.

Speaking of fruit, it is readily available at your local grocer or farmer's market this time of year. Even the occasional roadside seller can be found with flats of fruit for sale. Though these are valid options for acquiring fruit, it is also possible to grow your own fruits just as you grow your own veggies. Choosing to do this gives you control over the care of the fruits you consume, which is a huge benefit of growing your own food.

If you wish to incorporate fruit trees into your property, creating an orchard is a good place to start. Before doing so, the first step to take is to consult your county extension office to get answers to any questions you might have, such as those pertaining to regulations as to what is grown as well as what is necessary for fruit trees to thrive in your zone. Though many grapes, melons, and berries grow on vines, fruits such as apples, pears, plums, and peaches will require you to plant a tree.

Once you've gotten any pertinent background information from your local extension office, it is time to decide on what to grow and from where to get it. Figure out where you want to place your trees so that they will receive necessary sunlight and have room to grow. Once planted, a tree is not something you will be able to move on a whim and replant elsewhere, so it is important to have a solid plan in place before you begin. Keep in mind that trees will need more room as they mature and grow and plant with that vision in mind.

Also important to consider is pollination requirements. These are unique to different types of trees, so learning about what you plant is vital to the fruit production of your trees. You must know the difference between trees that are self-fertile and those that require a partner for pollination. If there is not another tree present to pollinate a species that requires it, fruit will not grow.

Once you've planned a location for your trees and decided on what and how many to plant, it is time to select a reputable source from which to acquire trees. You want to get healthy trees that will thrive as opposed to those that could be diseased. Do your research before you buy; read online reviews and visit nurseries that promote good and healthy practices. This will ensure that your tree will have the best start possible as opposed to allowing you to get a couple years down the road and having a disease materialize that results in the loss of trees and time invested.

Though it will take some time for trees to begin to produce fruit, the sooner you plant, the sooner there will be delicious fruit for the summer fruit salads you crave. It is also possible to satiate your appetite for fruit with vine grown fruits while trees mature. Whichever fruits you decide to plant to accompany your veggies in delicious dishes, bon appetit!