Different realities :)


Different folks face different realities, limitations to their ability to garden or grow fruiting trees.
What are yours? If you have a 75 by 100 lot and the house, driveway and the kids’ play area take up most of that,
you might have a tomatoe plant or two along the south side of the house, and that’s what is practical for you.
If you have a bigger lot, but a hoard of teenagers and their friends shooting hoops for the next few years,
it’s now a high traffic playground and no gardens for you.
If you have been in the same house for 30 or 40 years and have a couple of acres, you will probably have some mature standard sized fruit trees and a small vegie patch.
Then, starter homes get sold as families grow and carreers get established, new lots, new ground to break all over again…


My main limitation is time. As much as I like gardening I have to do a lot of other things. I am always very busy in spring in summer and I have this guilty feeling that I spend more time in the garden then with my kids. I have space in the backyard to plant more trees, but I always remind myself that trees do grow and I will need to spend 2-3 times more time to take care of the large tree comparing to the young ones. Instead of buying the new trees I decided to graft more varieties on each of them.


My limitation is my health. My lot is almost same as youth, but no teenagers :grin:. It is all covered with either veggies or fruit trees or berry bushes, with a bit of flowers here and there. But it is located on at least 5 different levels with two concrete staircases going from top to bottom to cover a drop at least 10’ in depth. So, your compost is on upper level, your compost consumers - all over the yard. The most flat part is in the bottom, so dripping irrigation is there. But water shut off is on top near the house. Tool shed is also on top level. So you can imagine how many times you need to run up and down stairs in a gardening day, some times loaded, and no wheelbarrow for me there. Before I considered it as a good fitness training. Now, when my joints are painful (thanks to Lyme I caught 10 years ago) even before I start moving, I try to think ahead and take all I may need with me. As a result - I have tools all over the place waiting for next opportunity to be used.
I was thinking about buying a bigger and flatter place to leave in rural location, but first - I have to leave where good (and stable!) internet connection is, as I make my living working from home as software engineer, and all affordable and nice places usually lack that feature. Second, after the tons of soil I literally moved to my beds by hands and all the trees I just planted moving feels very unfair. Somehow, the idea that whole bottom level will become a junk forest again as it was when I bought the place and all my hand-raised trees will be pulled out of the front yard to make space for boring smooth as a knee lawn makes me very sad.


My limitation is also physical, as my joints keep getting worse

Otherwise, I’m retired now with all the time I need to garden, enough space to grow all I need, and a number of trees of mature bearing age.

But I know the point is coming when I’ll have to pull up stakes and move to a more forgiving location


I have limitations with space and kids, but I think my main limitation is climate. I get so exasperated with my climate-the hot and humid South. I can’t think of a single fruit (or vegetable) that grow best in heat and humidity. Instead, all it does is create tremendous insect and disease pressure. And I’m not wam enough in 8a to really grow tropical or citrus fruit. So it’s the worst of all worlds.

You constantly have to make compromises. If you want the very best tasting stuff, you often have to baby the heck out of it-and even that might not be enough. Sure, there are things with resistance to this or that but that often just gives them the edge to stay alive-you still need to do a lot of work. And they often produce crops that, while admittedly better than the supermarket, don’t have that wow factor, which is the reason most people grow their own.

So far the crops that I’ve found here that are set it and forget it are peas, carrots, and radishes. Lettuces, blueberries and figs are reasonably easy, although some of them do have occasional problems. With the exception of blueberries and figs, what those crops all have in common is that they mature in the early spring/late fall, when disease and bug pressure is minor. (I’m pretty sure other early spring/late fall crops would be good too–turnips, beets, etc, but I haven’t grown them.). It’s beyond frustrating that if you miss say, a single spray of fungicide on your tomatoes, you’re going to get early blight. Or septoria. Or bacterial speck. Or whatever.

I used to live in PA, and while that had its own challenges, it was nothing like this. It seems the second you set a plant in the ground, its main aim from then on is to die on you.

I am exaggerating a bit b/c I’m frustrated right now, but sheesh. Just had to get that off my chest before I go back to looking at the positives of living here.


When we first married, Hubby worked away from home and I had 31 sows and 400 weaner pigs. Then we started a family.
Gardening? Nope, no time. Then one spring I put in 2 pear trees, dig hole, plop in tree, backfill, water and hope for the best.
I figured I could at least mow around them :slight_smile:
In a while, we put in three raspberry bushes, no time to look after any more, just that one package.
They grew, and we have a nice big patch of them now.
Hubby got an easier job, closer to home, less physical, more time home. We put in rhubarb and asparagus. Kid went to school, and so did I…no more pigs.

Life changes over time, grin.


Our yard is very steep, so I could relate to galinas, plus it is very sandy here, so I had to constantly water. Then I bought a 7-acre parcel of partly tillable land 13 miles away. Things grow great there, but so do the grass and thistles! ! It is too hillocky to use a lawnmower. I have to plant everything in cages to protect from the critters. Now I can’t keep up with everything, but I love it. Retired, kids all out of home, just old and creaky!


I had back surgery in August, and I have not yet come anywhere near to my pre surgery baseline. I am retiring in a couple months, although I wanted to work several more years. I used to think nothing of dragging things everywhere, pushing and pulling carts, leaning over, but now its so hard. My husband bought an old cushman which is like a heavy duty and very simplified version of a golf cart with a back bed. It was in terrible shape, brakes didnt work, and one tire locked up He worked and worked on it, and now I drive it around almost every day to move dirt, plants, tools, etc. I really feel for you and your steps. I could not possibly manage that situation. Fiber optic cable is making its way across my rural county complements of some communication grant. Not to me yet, but I’m hopeful. Hope an opportunity to meet your needs comes your way. and yes, life is not fair. I planted an entire bottom with multiple fruit trees, etc, surrounded by an electric fence I put in–in a previous life. No support, no help, pretty much laughed at. When I moved out to a different situation, i tried to dig up every tree I could and replant. Some had fruit at about 3 years and still 7 years later in their new location, nothing. I’m trying to remain optimistic and not think about all the work I did, and everything I left behind. Take care Galina!


You raise a good idea with grafting vs new trees (my weakness) Thanks for laying it out so well.


I am not sure how I missed this thread for all these years!!!
I know @galinas, @northwoodswis4 and
@Itilton have regularly posted. I have not seen @Antmary or @jocelyn or @VSOP much recently.


Main limitation for me is time. I work (as does my wife), and have kids.


My main limitation is $ and location.

If I had all the money in the world, I would not need it all…I would only need enough to purchase everything I wanted for making the surrounding land wonderful. I doubt I could even spend a million in my lifetime, it simply is not a big enough space.

So besides money problems, the issue is location. I am allowed by the property owners and management to plant things in the dirt area, not to extend into the grass (which is too bad as it is very poorly cared for grass) on the north facing, south facing, and west facing sides of my lot. Ideas, creativity, I have plenty! However, there are some issues with the location:

Somebody chose a fast growing and horrid tree that is growing too close to the building and likely will destroy the building. That tree gives too much shade, and has roots and sprouts that sprawl about 20 feet! That thing needs carefully removed, but I doubt they will until it causes some major damage to foundation or pipes, and then I doubt they will pay to have it done properly to remove the roots totally.

The other location issue is in Hazel Dell, WA there is a “belt” of rocks with hard clay that meanders right through this area. It likely is due to a nearby creek, I think, which maybe in long ago Native American days was wider. So there really is no “topsoil” here to speak of. Any nutrients are likely locked into the clay. When I try to use a shovel and finally get a few inches down, I hit a huge rock, often it is about 5 lbs and 6 inches across. It makes for nice decorations once I remove them. However, plants do not like to grow through huge rocks, and it is hard to guess where a rock will be.

I got a hand tiller device I really like now and I am using it to loosen up the top one to two inches of LAVA ROCKS that were added by first apartment managers here and got into the soil. When I planted some things deeply, I found some sand had been added at one point, and I am thinking likely by those making the building foundation for some reason, because it sure was not done by the first or later management…we been here since it opened in 1989.

I have the sunny southern side fair now, and still needs lots of soil amending and dug up more, but it is fair. This year I will work on the little bit on the side and front of the place that has been hard packed with rainfall and by neglect.


You’d be surprised how small bushes and trees can make their own way into such ground…just as long as they don’t have to sit in water for long periods in that clay, and develop root rots.

*And actually, there’s a crabapple rootstock you can graft to that will tolerate wet situations, I forget it’s name.


[quote=“jocelyn, post:1, topic:11546, full:true”]
Different folks face different realities, limitations to their ability to garden or grow fruiting trees.
What are yours? If you have a 75 by 100 lot and the house, driveway and the kids’ play area take up most of that,
you might have a tomatoe plant or two along the south side of the house, and that’s what is practical for you.
If you have a bigger lot, but a hoard of teenagers and their friends shooting hoops for the next few years,
it’s now a high traffic playground and no gardens for you.


Sorry, I hit the wrong button and quoted myself. I’ve been busy as a caregiver as Hubby was ill. He’s OK now. We now have a grandchild, who is a totally delightful time waster. Both of us have retired, but have arthritis and have to ration our digging and lugging time. Still, all those hurridly plopped in trees are bearing now and and we have nut butter from our own land on our toast every morning, with lots of jam on top…also from our land. life is good, grin.

I have two tiny nectarines on a windowsill now, getting bigger for spring. Never met a seed I didn’t like, LOL.


Glad you are back, Jocelyn. Happy to hear that your husband’s health is better, too.

You have patience to grow fruit trees from seeds. I don’t have such patience. I’ve grown some peach seeds for rootstocks these past couple of years. I would be mighty disappointed if I tried to grow fruit trees from seeds and the fruit turn out unpalatable (a big chance).

If I had space I might do it but with limited space, everything going into the ground needs to be what I like to eat :smile:


In the front yard it is swampy. I grow Iris well there. In fact, I am planning to just plant things that enjoy being wet footed year round in one spot. You step in the grass there, that “lawn”, and you get your foot covered in water.


That time is invested right I promise!

My reason for not getting the garden in last year is still life this year. Hubby and sons work tree service and I take care of the office. My priorities have to be keeping the crew fed, and things running. The children are top priority, then work, then the animals, finally the plants/trees… and we like trees!

Our baby just turned two. We call her a cute hoot! The other day she was playing cards with her sister and was trying to tell her something…“Sissy, mommy’s back” and was ignored several times. Oldest daughter then heard her say “Hey brat monster” to which sissy responded like she just heard her name for the first time. Lol


Wet, eh? Cranberries, Bakeapples, how wet you got?
Lots of yummies in wet spots.


Hey Brat Monster, I love it. We like trees too, always planting seeds. The ones that don’t work out become firewood or furniture, so it’s all good.