Fruit tree change of mindset

I’ve been getting hung up lately on “where do I put the fruit trees?” and even “what trees do I want to have?” The south part of the yard is what we see from the house, and I want it to look good and be functional. And the south sun (especially full sun) is extremely limited, so it feels like I need to be very careful about what I plant. And it seems like I need to get the whole thing figured out before I start planting. I’m getting a brain cramp from thinking about it. This is not the fun way to garden.

Well, I found a way around that today: I just decided to throw a bunch of stuff into a different part of the yard, a corner we don’t see except when going in/out the driveway.  This will be a quantity, not necessarily quality or pretty, orchard. Throw in a bunch of stuff, in different varieties, give it the minimum care to get it established, and see what happens. Don’t worry about arranging it for beauty; just make sure it doesn’t take over the powerline cut. Plant enough so I might get some after the critters dine. Just get things in the ground, so five years from now I’m not wishing I’d started five years ago.

Here’s the list of species:

  • Serviceberries (aka saskatoons)
  • Hazelnuts
  • Raspberries
  • Bush cherries
  • Bush apricots
  • Red mulberries
  • Cider apples
  • Hardy pecan
  • English walnut

The areas I’m planting this stuff is pretty shady. Some of this stuff is supposed to have full sun, but you know, I’m not trying to optimize yield. There’s already an apple tree back there, and it was more productive than the entire commercial orchard down the road this year because it’s under the canopy and protected from frost. So what the hell. I’ll toss some stuff in there and see what happens. It’ll be fun. And if I get some fruit from it, great! I’ll sure come out knowing what can handle a laissez-faire gardening style!



  1. angelasguide said,

    February 11, 2013 at 8:47 am

    thank you for this list of ideas.

  2. jj said,

    February 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I like your style 🙂

    One caution, though – raspberries can be really invasive, so you might not want to put them in with all the other stuff, or you could have a bad time trying to get in there to pick your fruit, and they might even choke out your other trees. I am wishing I had planted my raspberries away from the garden, as they have become an invasive weed, and I have problems controlling them.

  3. aimee said,

    February 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    When I was planning my fruit tree orchard, I found a terrific resource, a mail order nursery called “trees of antiquity.” They ship all over the states and they specialize3 in rare and hierloom varieties. But the REALLY cool thing was that I sent an e-mail asking for help choosing varieties suited to my specific site and purpose. I want to grow cider apples in zone 8b, but I live on a high, windy hill and my microclimate is harsh. Also I have some drainage issues and want disease resistant varieties. They were extremely helpful and spent a lot of time talking to me. The trees I bought from them have done very well.

  4. Emily said,

    February 12, 2013 at 9:39 am

    JJ – raspberries will go into raised beds in a different part of the yard to help keep them contained. Aimee – Trees of Antiquity sounds great! We have a couple awesome orchards around here, too – Grandpa’s and Oikos – and that’s where I plan to get my trees.

  5. deendeens said,

    February 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Excellent thoughts. I’m going to check out trees of antiquity! I planted a Black Arkansas apple last fall and I’m looking forward to the results this year. I’m a little concerned because it was in contact with a lot of juglone from discarded walnut hulls (dumping problem on this urban site). . .

  6. March 4, 2013 at 11:13 am

    We only have .6 acres and have 32 apple trees ( 2 each of 16 varieties)

    we also have pears, plums and pie cherries. Ready to try peaches:)

    • Emily said,

      March 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

      I love your arbor! This is very much the kind of thing I want to do in my cider orchard.

  7. Diana Dyer said,

    March 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks, Emily. YOu’ve helped me get past my paralysis by (over) analysis. I definitely want a serviceberry! Will you have a water source or is the rain is what you get part of your laissez-faire gardening style?

    • Emily said,

      March 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Hi, Diana! I’ll water the first year, then turn them loose. 🙂

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