I’m glad you asked about what else I’m growing rather than what else I’ve fruited, as I can now appear to be a talented home orchardist growing a wide variety of interesting fruits rather than a stubborn knucklehead with a history of poor planning followed by bad decisions…or is that bad decisions followed by poor planning? Here is what I hope will be my quick back story.
I moved into my current home 17+ years ago as a person who’d enjoyed some success vegetable gardening but had little experience growing tree fruit. I knew Reno was a tough place for tree fruit due to unsettled spring weather (frequent early spring warmups followed by later hard frosts). So my wife and I bought 1.3 beautiful acres in a frost pocket (didn’t appreciate that until later). I started my orchard two years later with a handful of trees, little understanding of my property as a (not) fruit producing mecca and planning sessions that consisted of “hmmm, that seems like a spot that needs a tree, that spot could use a grape and, hey!, over thar works for a blackberry.” The following years produced approximately five different orchard plans, moving many trees to accommodate those new plans (some of them twice to fit into the newest new plan) and continues to this day. I’ve moved five trees in the past three weeks, two of which are 10 year old Asian pears (runts though, so not too horrible) in order to meet the best spacing needs of my fairly close planting scheme. I hope to never move another tree (Ha!).
I’ve also made lots of dumb cultural errors, including not removing competing native brush from the orchard for the first few years of its existence (turns out sagebrush [Artemisia tridentata] and rabbitbrush are capable water competitors, especially when you don’t do a good job of getting regular water to the trees, as I did for newly planted fruit trees more than once in my first couple of orchard iterations, and don’t immediately put up a deer fence when those marauding ungulates discover your orchard 10 years after you establish it - waited three years in the vain hope that they’d move on while the first group invited friends in the following years). So, because my growing environment is so friendly and I’m such a smart gardener, I decided to ignore the repeated suggestions that maybe I ought to stick with a couple or three trees and be happy with a couple or three fruits every couple or three years, I planted 87 fruit trees with a few more on the way to mostly achieve the same crop load. At least until last year, when a combination of no late hard frosts and a reasonably mature portion of my orchard delivered a decent crop of apples, pears from five varieties if you include Shipova, and my first really nice crop of peaches from an old, hard used Veteran peach tree. I did not get any sweet cherries or apricots, which makes me 0-15 years on those fruits, though it seemed that every other sweet cherry and apricot tree in the area carried heavy crops.
So, that is likely an adequately novelesque preamble for me to actually answer your question about what else I grow. I’m going to assume you were asking about all fruit rather than what other apple varieties I am growing (more than 100 of those, but more than 50 were grafted within the past two seasons, so I can’t comment on most of them). I have 14 European pears and three Asian pears, three sweet cherries, seven apricots, two peaches, five European plums, three Asian plums, four sour cherry varieties and one Pluot. Most of my trees are grafted with at least two varieties on board. Apples are the most productive thus far, which makes sense given that they flower the latest among these fruits, though I expect the pears to perform better in the future as my oldest trees are just now coming into bearing age. The same should hold true for the Euro plums, the oldest of which will enter fifth leaf next year. The best located peach tree produces every other year on average but is of inferior quality to the aforementioned Veteran peach, a much abused tree that has produced the past two years after giving only a handful of fruits one season in its first 13 years of existence (pathetic!). The Asian plums produced two tiny Superior plums on a tatty old tree last season, the first it’s ever delivered. They are very difficult trees in my orchard. The surviving tree (of two) that I have is in such rough shape that I’m getting rid of it this spring, but I’ll probably replace it because why not! The pluot, Flavor Grenade, produced its first and only fruit for me last year on a 4th or 5th leaf tree.
Slow learner that I am, it took me too many years to create a critical mass of improved cultural practices, varmint and bird exclusion (fencing and netting, respectively) plus orchard maturation and friendlier spring weather the past two years to improve recent productivity. I might even do a soil analysis this spring to see if missing minerals are contributing to some of my fruiting issues. I must admit to being a bit leery of doing much with my dirt, as my apples in particular are super intense, much more so than those of other local growers I’ve been able to sample. That may simply be due to unintentional water deficit on my part, but I think a lot of it is the dirt. I’ll definitely do spot manure/compost application on trees/varieties that have produced poor specimens up to now (English russets like St. Edmund’s Pippin and Egremont Russet in particular have been tiny, tannic balls of mostly cork here over three seasons) just to see if better fertility and more water on these varieties makes a difference. However, it may simply be that “dragon sun” you describe doing all the damage.
On the plus side, I get great crops from my blackberries, raspberries and table grapes every year and even the gooseberries planted against the north side of my house perform reasonably well, so cane/vine fruits are Reno winners. Melons and watermelons also make super sweet balls of goodness every year. I’ve got four hardy pomegranates that haven’t done much in four years and embarrassing riches of fig trees in pots that I lug around for eight months of the year but which don’t deliver nearly as much fruit as they ought to for all of that work. Still, they are so good I’ll keep doing it until I get that pit greenhouse I’m dreaming of built and can stick them in the ground.
Enough! If all you wanted was a list of apple varieties I’m growing, I’m going to be mad! (But I’ll list it in another post if that’s what you wanted.)