Getting Fruity

I have a problem.  I want it all and I want it now.  But there is an ancient Chinese proverb to support me in my pressing desires.  “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.  The next best time is now.”  Added to the sense of urgency is winter is slipping away.  Ordinarily I’d be champing at the bit to have this cold and miserable season behind us, so I can get on with the growing season.  However not when it comes to trees.

An orchard isn’t an orchard with out apples

The ideal time to plant trees is now and all the nurseries have all the best trees up for grabs for the quick and the keen.  In order to have what I want I need to act now so they don’t run out of all the cool ones and in an ideal world, so I can plant them before they burst into life for the new season.

The biggest offering from my nectarine tree so far
The nectarine tree made the yummiest fruit

The problem is, I’m not ready for them yet.  Nothing that a hard weekend toiling away won’t fix.  The problem with that solution is there are also several other tasks and chores that need doing before the spring that are also nothing a hard weekend toiling away won’t fix.   But priority needs to be allocated where priority needs to be and at the end of the day if I don’t buy these trees then they’d just be sitting at the nursery in pots waiting for someone to buy them and so here or there, it shouldn’t make much difference.  Although I do prefer the waiting here option.

Grow well little tree
I hope this little tree is doing well

I miss my old orchard.  The oldest trees were 10 years old and the youngest was planted last winter.  But my goodness – the fresh peaches in summer were to die for!  So sweet and juicy.  The quince made amazing jam, the plums were only just starting to come into their own.  There were 30 or so trees, not really chosen with care, but each harvest was well received.  Most found their way into the orchard on a whim while at a garden centre for something else.  The many plums were the result of planting a new one each season in the hope the pollinator combination would finally work and result in a bumper crop.  I think we got it right in the end but never got to see that bumper harvest.

A respectable looking orchard
A respectable looking orchard – I miss it.

This time I want to be more intentional and have spent hours looking into different varieties, what would work well in our climate and conditions. Pollinators needed to match up and flavour and yield was also an influencing factor.  And finally, I want a good spread of fruit through out the year.  I don’t want all the apples ready at the same time but result in a steady supply across the season with the final harvest being good to store.

Damson plums
We would get plenty of damson plums and always made the best damson gin, so a new one is absolutely on the list

You can have too much of a good thing and so the stone fruit will be a bountiful harvest across the summer, not just in January when we are more likely than not away somewhere on holiday.   I’ve also gone towards free stone and not cling stone, because if I’m going to preserve these babies, I want to make it easy on myself.

There is something said to be said for the short but hugely abundant season! Feijoa are too good not to add to the list.

The winter months will be a filled with the yellow sunshine of citrus and the ordinary will be enhanced with tamarillo, feijoa, persimmon, and fig.  The last two I planted late in my old orchard and never saw any fruit.  In our frost-free position, I have high hopes for the tamarillo as back in the swamp I killed a few trying.  I have always wanted to try olives and have been told here would be good for them.   Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

berry fruit
I’ve got the berry fruit covered too – in more ways than one. I want to build a fruit cage.

The old orchard had a do or die philosophy.  And some trees died.  It comes from my greed of wanting to have it all.  I have the space so why not try.  Although there are somethings I will do differently.  For a start the old orchard was ‘down the far end’ which to be honest wasn’t really that far when you only have 3 acres, but far enough for a lacklustre interest to be the predominate attitude, except when bearing fruit.

Peach Jam
There will be more jars of sunshine to brighten up a winters day

The new orchard will be an extension of the garden – just up the back and certainly not out of sight.  The hose may even reach most of the trees if I plan it well.  It will also require a bit more attention in the area of pest control and wind breaks.  There are rabbits and deer here (so I’ve been told.  I’ve seen plenty of rabbits, although not in the garden and I have yet to see the deer.)   Over the last decade the cost of trees has climbed dramatically and are a significant investment when buying them all in go, rather than in dribs and drabs over the years.  So, it is in my best interests to lavish love and care upon them.

pears in a basket
One day soon I’ll have an abundant harvest of goodness again

So, I have my list and now all I need to do is go shopping.   I love this bit.

Come again soon – the garden is still coming along but was momentarily delayed by a rather cold and windy storm.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

12 thoughts on “Getting Fruity

  1. I’ve read your blog for ages, and this is my first comment! It’s a recommendation. Check out these two links for really logical suggestions for how to plan a home orchard. I’ve just gone through the process of planning one for a small urban backyard space and it has been an amazingly helpful and empowering philosophy. and also

  2. Oh, I do hear you about catching these last week’s to plant fruit trees. We are doing exactly the same thing…except we have indeed had our dear trees in pots for (I’m ashamed to admit!) Over 2 years!!! We were offered some well established cherry trees last weekend, so after heaving them out the ground and hauling them home on the trailer, they were duly planted on Monday…just before dark!!! Hope they survive! Now we’re wondering what to do with the large pools we have in the holes prepared for our Apple trees!!! Clay soil is tricky!!! We’ll mound them to plant, but I fear they may still have wet feet!!! Anyway, you’re not alone! Keep going!!! Thanks for bringing another smile to me. Sheena

  3. Oh, I love your enthusiasm, and the planning effort going into your new orchard…I wish now that I’d planted fruit trees 20 years ago, but maybe I’ll put in a few for the deer to snack on…..

    1. Of course! I am thinking of setting up some irrigation around the trees as well as the summer is supposed to be hot and dry and I’d hate to kill them in the first season. : o)

  4. Hello Sarah,
    You have a great selection of fruit trees and by the looks of it they are all providing lots of fruit.
    Well done.

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