This beginner's guide to planning your backyard orchard will provide you with the information you need to get started cultivating your own fruit trees so that you may use the harvest in the kitchen, as well as for preserving, drying, and enjoying the fruit raw.
How to Start a Victory Garden and to create Your Own Tea Garden are two books that can get you off to a good start if you're looking for further inspiration on how to create your own food forest.
"Even if I knew that the world was going to end tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree," she said. “It's worth the risk.”Martin Luther
The amount of fruit that I've been picking from the orchard in my own backyard served as the impetus for me to write this piece on my blog.
I have three apple trees, two pear trees, and two cherry trees, and all of them produce such an abundance of fruit that I can hardly keep up with the task of preserving it.
I consider this to be an issue that I would gladly have.
In addition to their aesthetic value, fruit trees not only contribute to the provision of my dietary needs but also require little in the way of maintenance. Why wouldn't everyone desire a few fruit trees dotted across their yard? They add beauty and texture.
A year ago, the person who lives next door to me purchased an acre of land nearby. On that acre, she intends to plant a food forest and construct a micro home for herself to live in.
Even though she does not reside there permanently yet, she has gotten around to planting the trees in her backyard orchard.
When you buy a house, one of the first things you should plant is an orchard in the backyard because it may take the trees a few years to reach the maturity level where they can provide you with the harvest you desire.
How to Plant Multiple Fruit Trees in a Small Space
I'm going to suppose that you adore all things related to cozy living because you're planning an orchard for your backyard. I started a Facebook group with almost 57,000 people that share the same values and interests called “Creating a Cozy Life.”
In this group, we exchange recipes, photographs of stuff that will blow your mind, and suggestions on ways to improve your life a little bit cozier. Join us now to become a resident of the warm and inviting virtual cabin.
1. Instead of spending time in your yard admiring the lovely trees there, why not put some of that space to better use by growing some of your own food?
There is no better way to ensure your family's health than by giving them freshly selected food.
2. When you plant a fruit tree, you are leaving a legacy for future generations. It's possible that this isn't the only property you own, but the succeeding owners of your home will be able to reap the benefits of your labor just as much as you have.
You will always have a tangible memento of the joyous occasions on which you chose to commemorate with the planting of a fruit tree, such as births, birthdays, anniversaries, and significant life milestones.
3. Once all of your fruit trees have reached their full maturity, you will have enough fruit to preserve to last the entire year.
4. If you want to create a business selling the fruit that you cultivate on fruit trees, you might be interested in reading an article that I wrote on how to start a jelly and jam business.
Now comes the exciting phase, which is choosing which species of trees to put in the ground. You are going to want to pick the sorts of fruit that thrive best in your area.
There are cold-resistant variations as well as low-chill versions. You should also think about the most disease- and pest-resistant varieties of trees that are available.
You can get advice on fruit trees by contacting the garden center in your area and asking for ideas, or you can just ask your neighbors what kinds of fruit trees they have in their yards.
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Your garden zone is going to play a role in the decision-making process about the varieties of trees that you select to plant. You can find your garden zone here on Garden.org. Simply entering your postal code will result in the display of the appropriate zone for you.
Joining a local gardening group is one of my go-to options whenever I want to find out which kinds of plants and trees do particularly well in a given region. If you are tight on time, you may always seek local Facebook gardening communities, and they are more than willing to respond to any inquiries that you might have.
Take into consideration when in the year you would like the fruit to reach full maturity. Will the fruit from all of the trees you plant mature at the same time, or would you prefer it to mature in stages at different times?
Make a list in a spreadsheet of all the different kinds of fruit trees for your backyard that you're interested in growing. Take note of the pattern of the tree's fruit output.
It is important to keep in mind that you will need to find a way to store the harvest from your home orchard. Do you plan to have assistance? In the event that this is not the case, you will need to remember this fact while you take note of the various maturation times.
You will also need to determine how much space each fruit tree would require in your yard. Because of their overall size or the root system they have, certain trees require significantly more room than others.
You have your choice between three trees that range in size from small to medium to large. Your needs and the quantity of space that you have available will both play a role in the decision of the size to choose.
Standard trees need the most room and usually take longer to mature. In comparison to dwarf and semi-dwarf trees, they have a greater lifespan and produce fruit for a longer period of time overall.
Dwarf trees reach maturity considerably more quickly than conventional trees do, making them an excellent choice for areas with limited space. The downside of planting a tree of this size is that it will not produce fruit for as long as other types of trees.
If you have the room, you should also plant some dwarf fruit trees in addition to your larger ones. The reason for this is that it may take longer than you anticipate to harvest fruit from your plantings; consequently, it is best to start enjoying the "fruits of your labor" (pardon the pun) as soon as possible. Smaller trees will allow you to do this while waiting for larger trees to produce fruit.
A standard-sized cherry tree will take four to six years to develop. They require a distance of 35–40 feet between each tree.
Fruit can begin to be produced on dwarf types as early as two years after planting. The recommended distance between trees for dwarf cherry trees is eight to ten feet.
In order for most fruit trees to produce fruit, they need to be exposed to a particular number of hours of cold weather during the winter. It's possible that you could end up with a beautiful tree but no fruit if the winters in your part of the country aren't cold enough to allow the fruit to set. That's why knowing your gardening zone is so crucial.
The planting of heritage trees is experiencing a surge in popularity. The fruit may not have the most appealing appearance, but it has a wonderful flavor. In addition to this, it will be wonderful to have access to fresh fruit that is not commonly sold in supermarkets.
Always be on the lookout for the species of tree that is most suited to your region.
A short while ago, I was looking around on a website that primarily focused on heirloom fruit plants. Simply looking at the several kinds of fig trees that they have for sale was a lot of pleasure.
Before selecting what kinds of fruit trees you need, you might find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions first:
When it comes to planting a backyard orchard, you are going to want to select the most advantageous areas on your property. The amount of light exposure the tree requires, as well as the climate in which you live, should factor into your decision.
What kind of sun exposure is best for your tree—full sun or partial sun?
When deciding where to plant your backyard orchard, it is important to have a good understanding of the moisture content of the soil throughout your entire property.
Most fruit trees don't like moist soil.
You may determine whether the location you have chosen for planting your fruit tree is appropriate by doing a simple test of the soil drainage in that area.
Dig a hole that is roughly 14 inches broad and 14 inches deep, then pour water into it after it is complete. Give the hole some time to drain.
After the hole has been drained, you should refill it with additional water. If the second time around just takes a day or less to drain, then you have found the ideal location for good drainage.
Living outside of Seattle has taught me a few things, one of which is that you should avoid planting trees in areas that are likely to become flooded during the rainy season.
It would have been a mistake for me to plant a tree in the area of my yard where the water collects during the wet season because there were certain spots in my yard where the water run-off naturally attracted to.
You need to put a lot of consideration into the planning of your backyard orchard so that you don't lose any time waiting for your trees to grow, only to be dissatisfied with the results since the site where you planted your tree didn't work out.
You may perform a quick soil test in the fall or the early spring using a straightforward soil testing kit. This will allow you to make an informed decision about where to plant your fruit trees. On Amazon, you'll be able to get your hands on a soil testing kit.
Watch this helpful video to learn how to do a soil test in your backyard.
How to Take a Soil Test | Lawn & Garden Care
Amending your soil might be necessary depending on where you live, and depending on how much transformation is required, this might be a process that takes some time. (Depending on how acidic it is, this process can take years.)
Limestone will need to be combined with soil that already has a high acidity level in order to get the desired level of PH.
If your soil is overly alkaline, you will need to reduce the alkalinity of the soil by adding compost materials or soil conditioners.
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According to Dr. Diana Cochran, an extension fruit specialist at Iowa State University who got interviewed for the article "Living the Country Life Magazine," the thawing and freezing of the soil over the course of the autumn to spring season causes the soil to expand and then contract. This phenomenon occurs throughout the season, and this condition might be harmful to the roots.
To assist in preventing root damage from occurring, cover the root zone of all of your young trees with a layer of mulch that is between 4 and 6 inches thick.
In the winter, fruit trees are especially susceptible to damage by rodents. Wrapping your trees in metal mesh or purchasing commercial tree wrap and placing it 24 inches above the snow depth and 3 inches below the soil can prevent these ravenous insects from consuming your trees.
There is a strategy that allows you to fit a number of fruit trees into a constrained area. You don't plant your fruit trees far apart as commercial farmers do; rather, you put them closer together and prune them frequently to keep the trees at a manageable size.
Watching this video from Dave Wilson Nursery will provide you with additional information regarding the cultivation of backyard orchards.
How To Care For Backyard Orchard Fruit Trees
The final step in the process of planning your miniature backyard orchard has been reached. You won't have to wait much longer before you start canning and preserving this year's harvest.