Home Orchard Inventory, 3/2015 Vancouver and Battleground WA

Here are some photos of my current home orchard. Three years ago I bought an abandoned ramshackle 2 acre place in Battleground WA, via bank sale. I have been moving everything I can from my prior place in Vancouver WA, which I’ve had and gardened at for 14 years. Eventually, when the Battleground place has a kitchen and floors in the living areas, we will move there and sell the Vancouver place. My most mature and productive trees are in the Vancouver place, but the new orchard is starting to show some promise. The remaining Vancouver trees are too big to move, but I reproduced some via cutting or graft at the Battleground place.

The mature trees in Vancouver. I keep most pruned to under 8 feet tall, as close to Backyard Orchard Culture - style as I can in this non-sunny maritime climate. The apples are minidwarf, except the columnar Northpole.

The Battleground place, main orchard. Roughly 5 trees X 5 trees grid, with more around the edges. The arborvitae are on the West side. Greengage and the two NOID plums came with the place. Stanley, Almaden Duke, Illinois Everbearing Mulberry, Montmorency Cherry, the smaller apples, were 2-3 year old trees that I moved from the Vancouver place, so now about 5 or 6 years old. I also had the peaches there, in containers, 1-year old, so now 4 years old. Bloom was very good this year on the peaches, most of the plums, and looks excellent on some of the cherries. Not pictured, I have multigraft Asian pears in Vancouver and Battleground, the Battleground one being a Home Depot Hosui that I grafted with Mishirasu, Hamese, and Shinseiki and the other one that came with the place got some european pears; plus I have another group of figs, apples, and pears on the second acre. The grapevines are not big enough to show.

This was the only fig tree I was able to move, that was 2 1/2 years ago before surgery and chemotherapy - no way I could do that now. This was a cutting, probably Brunswick, now 14 years old. Lots of brebas showing now, 3rd leaf since moving it. I have new fig tree starts 1-3 years old at Battleground, of Atreano, King, Lattarula, Carini (Frank on F4F), Dominick (Coop on F4F), Hardy Chicago, LSU Tiger, and in containers, LSU Champagne, Smith, Tiger, and 4 others.

Despite my earlier post about woodchip mulch, most of these have straw mulch, and I expand the mulched areas with grass clippings to kill grass, or use torn up cardboard to kill grass and cover that with straw.

As much as possible, I am trialing disease-resistant varieties, hence the unusual peach varieties. I aim for later bloom, when I can, because of the variable springs here. I multigraft so that pollenizing varieties are close together within the same tree, and because one 5-variety tree might be less maintenance than 5 one-variety trees, and because I don’t need a bushel of each type of apple. Not that I mind puttering. The fences are due to deer, the hardware collars are due to rabbits and voles. The deer only browse to about 4 or 5 feet high, so once above that, the trees are OK. So far.

The “cherry street” should give a bowl of Vandalay (self pollinating) and Sweetheart (self pollinating) this year, and a couple of pies from Montmorency. I’m not sure about Northstar, didn’t realize it would stay small, and deer got to it too. Almaden Duke should have about a pie’s worth too - it may get reworked to Rainier and Lapins and Stella, if I can improve my cherry grafting skills. I tried 10 T-bud grafts last summer, but only one took. Depends on whether I like this years cherries.

You are invited for a personal tour if in the area. Warning, the photos look neater than the actual place.


Great looking place!! And your trees are ahead of mine. That’s not normal, I don’t think. We are normally way warmer this time of yr than you. And colder when the weather gods decide it so.

Chances are I’m looking at another killing freeze. Are you frost free yet?


Nice pics. Great looking fig trees (jealous).

It is FREEZING in Maryland today. Biting cold wind. But we’ll be back into the 60s come Monday. Cheers,


In theory our last frost date is in May. I rarely recall that happening. One year the early growth on mulberries and figs was killed by frost, but rebound growth was excellent.

All Asian plums are done blooming, and the hybrid Toka, and my 2 euro plums are past midway to done. Asisn pears are blooming in full bloom now.

It dies seem like an early spring. Im glad for that!

Matt, you will get there soon!
I grew up in Midwest and it never occurred to me that a fig tree was something a person could grow. Now I love growing them, and start new ones every year to give away.

One user here in Michigan has three figs in his yard! I plan to add one to my yard, and grow the rest in pots for now. I have a perfect spot right next to the house on the south side.
Your trees look nice! Wish I had more room. I will probably move to a larger yard, smaller house one day. I can’t afford this one anymore. But I will miss the low pest pressure.

How far apart are your stone fruits?

When I was talking to my daughter who lives near Olympia this morning, she said that the commercial cherries had bloomed exceptionally early this year and that the orchard owners were both happy about that and very concerned because they had 6 weeks ahead of them to fight frost/freeze damage.

Drew, the stone fruits are about 12 foot apart. I prune to open center and start summer pruning when they are a few years old, to keep them compact, I keep the figs to a similar size. For that matter, the apples and pears, too. My goal is more for the longest fresh fruit season I can create, and the most variety.


Your ochard looks good. Are you going to move any of your persimmon trees to the new location? Nikita’s Gift hybrid persimmon tastes so sweet and good.


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Tony, yes the persimmons are all at the new place. The are getting tender loving care and I hope to taste their fruit some day. I love the flavor of Asian persimmons, have never tasted American ones. Thank you for the information, Im glad they are good!

Looks great and you have excellent taste :smile:

I may take you up on that tour offer, perhaps in the late summer or fall :wink:

I’m in Camas.

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Hi Bear with Me,
I live on the west side of Portland. It would be fun to exchange garden visits.
John S

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Murky, I would love to have you over and share fruit growing experiences. Summer/fall would be a great time, the trees will be a little bigger, and depending on when, there should be some fresh fruit for you to taste. :apple: :cherries: :tomato: Camas is just around the bend, sort of.

John I agree. It might be one sided - I think you have a lot more experience with local growing than I do. Still, I’ve been growing at least some fruits here for 15 years. It would be great to compare notes.

The PawPaws have about a dozen flower buds. The largest of the PawPaws is only about chest high. I count and re-count the buds every day. If even only ONE sets, it would be awesome! Similar for Saijo persimmon - if there is even ONE fruit to taste, for the first year, I would feel happy about it!

This was a few years ago. I am curious about your peach and persimmon varieties, what are the names? What problems have you had with diseases like peach leaf curl, borers, etc? How do the flavors compare, and what dates do they ripen?

I live in Hazel Dell, WA, and have a tiny garden at apartments with 2 grapes, lots of strawberries, a white currant from Shorty’s, cane berries, lingonberries look dead, rhubarb, 3 blueberries, kiwi female looks dead, 2 potted figs, 1 potted lemon, and 4 way grafted plum and 5 way grafted cherry from Yard n Garden and Shorty’s.

I would love a multigrafted peach tree, but have not seen any for sale. While tempted by the espadrill multigraft pears, I know that apples are affected by a catepillar here and suspect it would be bothered by them too.