Growing Plentiful Fruit

2:46:00 PM

Bush cherries
One of the most satisfying things in life has to be picking ripe, juicy fruit right from the backyard. My children learn early how to hunt for ripe strawberries, cherries and plums. This year my three year old boy has probably gained more of his nutrition from foraging in the garden than he has at regular family meals. And you know what? I think that is marvelous!






I try to keep fruit growing simple. I start by selecting fruit that grows well in my area. There are so many hundreds of types of fruits and varieties to grow that I will not attempt to cover those here. Most fruit nursery catalogs are a wealth of information on what will grow well for you. I personally buy from, and can recommend the following nurseries:


Bush cherries
Raintree Nursery sells most every variety of every fruit you might like to grow. Mail order.

Stark Bros is another mail order nursery with a very good selection, including multi-variety grafted trees.

Phoenix Tears Nursery is a local mail order nursery for goji berry plants. Lots of good information on the website for growing and using goji berries and leaves.

Glover Nursery is a local source for a good variety of fruit plants.




Tiny Fig tree in center, Rhubarb to back left
Fruit trees need a few regular maintenance processes to bear fruit and remain healthy.



Pears




Pruning: I winter prune for shape and summer prune to check vigor. I use the Dave Wilson Nursery methods of pruning. They do not sell directly to the public, but their website contains a wealth of information on fruit varieties, fruit growing and pruning (including videos). This is the pruning method I follow.

http://www.davewilson.com//home-gardens/growing-fruits-and-nuts/introduction-home-fruit-growing

They have a YouTube channel with several videos to teach you how to prune. I highly recommend this method for the home orchard. It allows you to have more trees in your back yard because the size is kept in check and you get an abundant yield of fruit. I believe it is more harmful to fruit trees to not prune them, than to try your hand at it, even if you are unsure at first. Watch the videos, then go and prune!

https://www.youtube.com/user/DaveWilsonTrees
Apricots


Spraying: I am a minimalist about spraying my fruit trees. I would rather use other methods to encourage a balanced ecosystem around my trees than spray. I do use homemade dormant oil spray in the early spring.

Here is the link for the homemade spray: 
http://www.nwedible.com/2014/01/to-do-in-the-nw-edible-garden-january-2014.html

Here is the link from the USU Extension office that explains when to use the spray. http://extension.usu.edu/htm/faq/faq_q=798

Only spray the branches of the tree and the top of the trunk, not the lower trunk. This is because the beneficial insects will overwinter on the lower trunk. 
We want to keep those.
Plums (not thinned enough this year)

Thinning: To get full sized, healthy fruit, you need to thin the dime sized baby fruit. Every tree tries to grow more than it can support. If you leave the fruit unthinned, two things will happen: first, your fruit will be very small with the same sized pit, second, the fruit will over bear and may not bear any fruit the next year. Apple trees are notorious for doing this. A four finger width between each fruit is about right. Don't be surprised if you are thinning out up to 2/3 of the fruit. It is ok! You will actually have a better yield this way.
Plums (not thinned enough this year)


Watering: Fruit trees do best with deep, infrequent watering. I use drip hoses for this, in circular lines around the base, from 6 inches out from the trunk to the edge of the branch line (where the branches reach to). I water the trees every 10-14 days very well, a long, deep soak. 



This is an inventory and map of the fruit I grow in the backyard of my 1/3 acre lot:



Trees:

Apple, multi variety including Gravenstein, Fuji, Granny Smith, Red Delicious
Apricot, Goldcot
Fig, Brown Turkey
Nectarine
Pear
Peach, Garden Gold Miniature
Pear, multi variety grafted
Pear, Asian Drippin' Honey
Plum, multi variety grafted tree
Pomegranate, Eversweet
Quince, Aromatnaya Russian

Asian Pear

Shrubs:

Blackberry, Ouachita
Currant, Golden
Goji Berry, Phoenix Tears
Honeyberry, Honey Sweet, Wild Honey
Jostaberry
Raspberry
Serviceberry, Smokey



Vines:

Grapes, Einset, Concord, green table grape
Kiwi, Issai Hardy

Cantaloupe

Small Fruit:

Rhubarb, Crimson Red, Chipman's Canada Red, Victoria
Strawberry, Alpine Yellow Wonder
Strawberry, June bearing, Everbearing

Apricots
Rhubarb







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2 comments

  1. So you said that you water your trees every 10-14 days, how long do you water them for? Does it depend on the month (like in July you water longer), or how much rain there is, or do you have a set time?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the question. I did gloss over those details, didn't I? I usually do not begin watering the fruit trees in my yard until June, as the ground still holds enough deep moisture from winter and spring. The trees are circled from 6 inches out from the trunk to the edge of the branches with in-line drip hose that emits 1 gallon per hour every 12 inches. I water until the ground is moist a foot deep, which does vary with the weather. I do space the days closer in July and August (closer to 10 days), or whenever we get many high 90-100 degree days in a row. I also use wood mulch and ground covering plants under each tree to conserve moisture.

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