Introducing myself to Scott's forum


#1

I would like to thank Scott for starting this forum. I am considering immigration from the new format of the formerly GW now Houz fruit growing forum where I participated as Harvestman, my facetious pseudonym there (imagine a cartoon drawing of a man in green tights and a cape with an H on his chest).

Scott, Olpea and others know me as Alan Haigh and I will simply go by my real name here.

I do feel a bit like a refugee, as the old forum was transformed without warning and now my e-mail is plastered with unwanted Houz messages which I will have to figure out how to cut off. I’ve tried for a few days but still don’t feel at home there- the format has ratcheted up the commercial aspects to an unbearable level.

As Fruitnut stated, we supply the content and there needs to be some balance between the sponsors and the content suppliers. I fear that tinkering with the format will be inadequate as the quest for advertizing revenue is like a heroin addiction requiring ever larger dosage. Houz has certainly gone beyond the sniffing stage and is mainlining to the point of destroying the forum. (hope my '60’s derived drug vernacular helps make my point)


Blackberry ID
Intro from Northern California
Retail Suppliers who might have GMO seed
Nadia Sweet cherry x plum hybrid
Strange weather - Will it get our blooms and fruit?
#2

Wecome aboard Alan! Its going to be hard to get used to calling you Alan after years of harvestman :smile:

I’m going to make you an admin here since you were a leader over on GW. I’m going to start out with you, olpea, and fruitnut as admins along with me. This is one advantage of having our own space, we can organize it as we want it.

Speaking of organization, I found a way to add USDA zone info, edit your profile to add it. Unfortunately it doesn’t show on the posts, you need to click on someones profile to see it.

Scott


#3

I’d also like to thank Scott for starting this new forum. I know it took a lot of work and will continue to be a work in process. When the activity on houzz slows to a standstill, every one else will migrate too. Then we can get back to our lively and very informative discussions I for one, can’t wait. I feel like I’ve been released from prison.
Ray


#4

Hi all, Its Mrs. G! I have now flown the old coop and I too thank Scott for this tremendous effort. It will be nice to have a forum without ‘trolls’ and other foolishness. Thanks Scott! Mrs. G PS. H-man will always be H-man!


#6

Hey guys good to see you all here. I know most of you pretty well in terms of your current fruit growing operation but would be interested in some background on how you got to this place. So I’ll give a little more of my background.

My earliest fruit related memories were a weeping mulberry at my granddads and a Whitney crab apple tree on the farmstead in northern IL. Loved those apples! Small and went soft early but tasted great.

Moved to Amarillo in 71 and bought a house with a Montmorency cherry tree. First spring bloomed out and here comes the freeze with which I’d become very familiar. Hooked up a sprinkler to the hot water heater and was out of hot water in minutes. My first failed attempt at freeze mitigation to be followed by many more.

Ended up starting four home orchards in Amarillo during 30 yrs working for Texas A&M. My job started out in sugarbeet production but ended up in many crops including pecan variety evaluation (hence fruitnut) back when Pawnee and Kanza were numbered selections. My last 10 yrs I was 20% appointment in extension horticulture mainly pecan and apple.

In 2000 moved near Fresno CA. No more freezes, wind, or hail. But air quality was so bad I moved back to TX in 2004 and put up a greenhouse. Still miss my place on the Kings river in CA but have learned a lot in last 10 yrs much thanks to you guys.


#7

Fruitnut, what a great idea to provide an introduction to your introduction to fruit mania, or fruit nuttiness. Very interesting to learn a little about your life.

Let’s see what I can write in a few paragraphs.

My family moved from Arizona to Topanga Canyon in S. CA when I was 11 in 1963. We inherited a single tiny apricot tree on the 3 acre property that was surrounded by quite a bit of rugged open land.

A leak from the washing machine drain line turned that apricot stick into a big productive tree that produced delicious fruit on years the ground squirrels and coons left it alone.

By the time I was 17 the hippie “back to the land” movement and that lone apricot tree had inspired me to take all kinds of gardening (legal and otherwise) very seriously and I started filling in my Father’s land with all varieties of fruit that would do well there along with a very extensive vegetable garden.

Growing useful plants and music became my tandem obsessions (fruit and flute, actually). I studied classical music and Jazz at Cal Arts, but perhaps became more of a master of plants and soil during the same years.

Growing in CA taught me a lot about dealing with drought, light soils, gophers and very determined furry fruit thieves. It was also a relatively easy place to grow a wide range of amazing fruit as far as frosts, insects and disease are concerned.

In about 1975 I moved to NYC to try to create some kind of life around making original music, but several bands and many performances later I decided the fantasy wasn’t taking root and turned back to horticulture, which had actually been paying most of the bills all along (another complicated story there).

After a couple years study at the NY Botanical Gardens School of Horticulture I started The Home Orchard Co. and began a bearing age fruit tree nursery and personal orchard on 3 acres of land an hour north of the City.

I started the business just as my only child arrived and for the first few years I was afraid it might be as much an illusion as my quest in music. Originally the co. name was Landscape Habitats and I advertised native meadow installations (about 25 years ahead of my time on that one), wildlife feeding stations and organic home orchards. Orchards was mostly what people called me about. When I hooked a couple of very rich ones on tree ripened fruit my business started to take off.

It wasn’t long before I realized my claim about organic orchards was fraud, but I got it straight soon enough. It took 10 years before I actually felt secure I had a sustainable business and enough knowledge to be worth the living wage I charged.


#8

I’m changing my screen name finally. Went by franktank232 on GW.

I’m 35, married/// 3 little kids (lots of work). Never had any interest in growing (as a kid we always had a veggie garden) fruit until a friend i went to school with showed me his backyard that had peaches, pears, grapes, apples, kiwi (hardy). This was mid 1990’s. Never realized anything other then apples could be grown in this state. After we bought a house (mid 2000’s) I started with apples, peaches and went from there. Other interests include weather, biking, home remodeling (i love tools).

Scott sent me budwood the past few years and that has really fueled my interest in grafting. I’ve had a lot of success with chip budding and grow out a lot of seedlings to practice on. I hope to have a lot of varieties on hand to share with others, and to produce new trees using either seedlings or rootstock.

I grow about 30 trees (all stonefruit) in containers (mostly 15 gallon). This has been successful, but there are some serious drawbacks. Watering, feeding and plant growth (as in…new wood is hard to come by, especially if the tree is carrying fruit).


#9

Could someone explain the difference between “REPLY” and. “+REPLY AS LINKED TOPIC”


#10

Since we’re all becoming a real type of family and introducing ourselves, I’ll go next. My mother more or less introduced me to gardening, as that was one of my main chores growing up. She had camelias and azaleas the size of small cars, and I was always moving them from place to place. Alan, we have a similar musical interest, as I used to sing in a beach music rock n roll band in the 60’s and 70’s. I’m probably the old fart of this forum (68), but I’m still alive and kicking. I lived in apartments most of my adult life, but bought a patio home in 1988 and decided I was finally going to do something I’ve always wanted to do. At one time, I had over 200 rose bushes in a patio home, and used to exhibit at rose shows. I’ve since moved to a regular house and still have about 80 rose bushes. My interest has now changed to fruit trees. I grow apples, watermelons, peaches, plums, pluots, nectarines, figs, pears and blueberries. It’s fascinating to watch things grow, and to eat things you can’t buy at the grocery store. Most of what I know, I’ve learned from you guys, and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful. I’m a retired professor of accounting with a specialization in taxation, but I’ve learned more from you guys than all the years I spent in graduate school…


#11

Well I remember that in the 3rd grade I wrote to General Mills and asked for some wheat and corn seeds because I wanted to show my classmates how to grow cornflakes and cereal.

They sent me some packets of seeds and I was hooked.

Jump to 2007 and we bought this place in Purling NY. It was then when I stopped at the roadside farm stands that I found out that there were apple varieties other than those available at the A&P.

After clearing three acres of scrubbie woods and digging my ponds I finally planned my orchard. Fenced in 150 x 50 and over the past four years planted apples, pears, peaches, next, plums, apricots, pluots/plumcots etc.

To maximize the number of trees I chose the espalier method and I now have about 80 trees with no two the same variety and not available at the A&P.

This is the first year I expect to allow many to keep their fruit to maturity.

Mike

  1. List item

#12

Mike, it looks like reply to linked topic puts a little pointer at the top of the post which is a reference to the previous post. Look in the upper right of the post you just made for the little symbol showing that. I think the idea is the replies are all listed in order of time but if you are referring to one way up you can use that to point to what you are talking about.

I like this thread! I came to fruit growing sort of like Mike. When I was in first grade I got really sick, a very long sickness with really high fever etc. My mom bought me this plant kit which was some little peat pots with seeds already in them, you just watered. Somehow I latched on to the rebirth of seeds to let me see how I would eventually get better. I didn’t actually do much gardening (other than helping my parents) until I was older, but “the seed was planted” :wink: I had various veggie gardens over the years. My first attempt at fruit trees was 25 years ago, a cherry tree that got girdled and died. Then one dreary March in 2002 this Miller Nursery junk mail catalog showed up in the mail, and it was like the peat pots as a kid, the thought of all the blooms and fruit got me hooked. I planted a bunch of stuff the first year and then turned my whole backyard into an orchard the next.

Scott


#13

My father was the gardener in the family. It all started with me (only child) at the age of four placing the radish seeds in holes I got to make with a pencil in my fathers vegetable garden. My father’s hobby was hybridizing iris, ‘black’ iris at that! He owned part of nursery and many a weekend was spent walking through endless rows of trees and shrubs. I loved doing that. There was shooting and an outdoors type of life at times, fishing as well. Walking through the woods in Ohio was magic, picking black walnuts, wild mushrooms and flowers. I spent a lot of time in France, in school and cooking, which I do to this day. I tour the orchards and spend most of my time in the markets. I lived in NYC for 48 years but had a roof garden. I grew orchids, 49 in the NYC dining room. Growing was always a part of my life. Also had a house in country where I could plant, grow and cook. I was employed in NYC, then owned my own company, sold it and now paint and write books and grow fruit in Rhode Island.


#15

I suppose it might be good to introduce myself, too. I’m 38 years old, married with four children ages 3-10. I live in North Carolina, west of Winston-Salem (zone 7). My wife and I are full-time direct-market farmers (part-time since 2003 and full-time since 2007, and I worked for other beekeepers before 2003). Garden crops and honey make up our biggest cash crops, but we also have a few milk cows, grow a couple acres of field crops like corn and wheat, grow shitake mushrooms, have a flock of laying hens, sell an occasional beef, etc., but I’m especially interested in fruit and nuts the last few years, even though they’re extremely marginal as far as our farm sales so far. I have about an acre around the house and barn that’s loosely planted to a large variety of fruits and nuts, but I also have a lot of trees planted in and around my pastures. I’m very much drawn to low-tech self-sufficiency. We have a couple small tractors, but I’d like to work a team of draft animals one day. We grow all open-pollinated garden and field crops, and save the largest part of our own seeds. I’m gradually learning how to be comparably self-sufficient with fruit and nut trees, but there’s a lot I’d like to learn about propagation, in particular (and there are lifetimes of things I’d still like to learn about growing all the different categories of things I have): I have yet to successfully graft a pecan or any kind of stone fruit. The thread titled “my current trading interests” should provide an idea of some of the things I’m growing and my current interests.


#16

This is the greatest idea EVER and is an incredible way to distinguish this site from the other, far less personal one. I’ve often wondered about almost all of you-your background, how you came to love fruit growing, etc. This really helps us know each other and while some may say who cares, it appears many of us do want to understand each other a bit more.

I’m a 44 year old divorced guy with no kids. I have an undergrad from Univ. of TN and grad degree from Univ. of KY. I’ve spent my entire adult life working in municipal government and currently work as a City Manager of a small town in TN. I’ve always lived in medium-large cities until 2012 when I bought a little 8 acre mini-farm out in the country where I still live.

I grew up in a typical suburb neighborhood. We had a pear and a sour cherry tree I will never forget. My dad knew nothing about growing fruit but those 2 grew and produced anyway and he was always so very proud of them that it wore off on me. After about 18 years the cherry got sick and had to be cut and I still remember my whole family (parents, 1 sister) all were very sad about that. I will never forget the days I spent under and around that cherry, finding ways to keep birds out from fake animals to bb gun, pie pans, etc. WE never got more than a pie or two worth but we cherished them as if they were gold. I also have wonderful memories of my mom taking me to a family friend’s to pick occasional blackberries and apples and cherries. The bottom line is that fresh fruits were a rare but present thing in my home and always valued very much. I was given a corner of our family garden and just “turned loose” at an early age and the result was that I have gardened my entire life, from age 9 to 44! I didn’t really think anything more about fruit until 3 years ago. After living in cities all my life, college, grad school, and more, I finally bought I little piece of land (just 8 acres) way out in the country in 2012. Having never lived in the country or knowing anything about farming, I jumped in full speed ahead. Built (actually HAD built) barns, fences, 3/4 acre garden spot, etc. I kept noticing 3 old fruit trees that were in the back of the property, and remembering how nice it had been having fruit trees as a kid. Before long I decided to just pickup a couple fruit trees at Lowes so I could just wait 3 years and enjoy fresh fruit! haha. Then I started to realize it isn’t that simple. But the more research I did on how to make those new trees work, the more I wanted to expand my varieties. Long story short, I had the space and money so my 6 tree orchard (3 old, 3 new) became my 65 tree orchard, along with blackberries, raspberries, grapes, and figs. Each new order I swear will be my last…but I know I’m not done!

My username Cityman is descriptive because I was always a “City guy” until 2012 and my neighbors still jokingly call me that and tell me I am Oliver Douglass from Green Acres! ha. They often ask if I wear a suit while riding my tractor. Of course CITYMAN also fits my job as City Manager.

This is too long already, but I could type another 3 pages on how much I appreciate the help of all the posters on GW and now here. Without you folks I would still be buying trees at walmart, sticking them in the ground, and doing nothing else for 3-4 years and expecting lots of perfect fruit at that time! haha. I now know its not that simple but with all your help, I’m going to get there. I’m certainly one of the least informed people here, and my posts are almost always about asking for help rather than giving it (simply because that is the stage I’m at). That makes all your help that much more appreciated. Someday I hope to pay it forward.

Kevin


#17

Kevin and everyone else, I’m glad you are here and appreciate getting to know all of you better!! Lots of talented and accomplished people here already.


#18

Hi all,
I’ve lived in the Seattle area most of my life except for a year in Des Moines,Iowa,so I know a little bit about how the weather can be in the mid west,as there were many extremes,almost daily it seemed.
When growing up,my parents gardened a little and had a few fruit trees,but they kind of lost interest.I wasn’t really interested in growing things too much then,but tried some crazy experiments that I read about,like injecting milk or sugar water into growing Apples to make them super big,but it never worked.I also grew a few things,like citrus that looked good in those mail order magazines,but nothing seemed to last.
After graduating from high school,I had a few jobs,but didn’t really know what I wanted to do,so with some pushing from my dad,I entered the Navy and stayed there a little while until leaving with a medical discharge.
Then,in the late 70’s,I took the Environmental Horticulture program at a local Community College.The head of it and I didn’t hit it off right away and it got worse from there.To me,as time went on,it seemed like he wasn’t really teaching anything useful,but was abusing authority and there to get his pay.How some people get to their positions,I’m not sure.Maybe they know people and have connections.One of the classes in the curriculum was botany,taught by an older gentleman,who knew his stuff though.We went on field trips and every plant I collected and brought to him,he identified.Bastard Toadflax,come on,who knows what that is besides someone like that.I stayed with the course for about two years,but left after the head and I had enough of each other.
I never pursued anything in that field after that and have had a cleaning business for about thirty years.I had small gardens at various places that I’ve lived at,trying to get others involved,but it seems to take a certain kind of person to want to do this.
Along the way,I inherited a large park model trailer from my grandmother,that I rented out over the years.The last renter left suddenly and so I moved in to do some remodeling and have been here for a few years.The manager is cool about me planting things.It’s incredible how many plants can be grown in small spaces.
I’ve also slowed down a little with the cleaning business and work part time at a place where I can grow more plants on the property and have built a small hoop house and grew mostly vegetables for a couple years,but am presently going to try fruitnut’s method of growing trees in containers. Brady

PS.Okay fruitnut,I’m done and joined.Do I get my Fig cuttings now?LOL,Just kidding.


#19

Hi Folks,

I’m another of the GardenWeb diaspora so happy to find a new home here, among so many familiar friends.

I just posted details of my fruit & nut plantings on my profile page. Check it out!

Looking forward to the continued learning and information-sharing opportunities this group promises to provide.

The variety of plantings/ grafts in my orchard should be steadily increasing in the coming years. I will be keen to swap budwood with those of you with mutual interests.

Cheers,

-Matt


#20

Hello everyone. I just got signed up, and this is my first post! First, thanks to Scott and everyone involved in creating and maintaining this new forum. I hope it continues to grow, and to be active and successful.

Now, a little about me.

I’m 42, married, and have a teenage son. We live on a small farm in rural middle Tennessee (cityman, we need to get together sometime). We have 11 acres, about half of which is pasture for our horses, and most of the other half is our hay field. We have several large trees around the house, but also had a lot of empty space. About four years ago, I decided I wanted to add more trees to the property. I had the idea of creating a wildlife habitat. I wanted to plant fruit and nut trees that would attract birds, squirrels, deer and other wildlife. The more I researched the idea, the more I started moving from attracting animals, to planting trees that I could benefit from directly. The first year I started with a couple of apple and cherry trees, then added a couple of persimmon trees. I now have over 60 fruit trees (I keep losing count), many types of berry plants, grapes, kiwi, even citrus which I over-winter in my green house. I have a list of my plants on my GW profile, and will eventually update my profile here with the same info.

When not tending to my plants, caring for my bees, feeding chickens, repairing fences, or all the other endless task, I work in insurance for my “day job”.

Anyway, glad to be here, and happy to see so many familiar “faces”.

Rob


#21

Hello all,

You don’t know me but I feel like I know you, so please let me make myself an introduction.
I have been a long time lurker on GW. Once several years ago I tried to sign up, but due to some computer glitch it didn’t take, and frustrated at the wasted time, I resumed my old habit as a lurker only…
With all of the changes at GW, and Olpea’s endorsement of the ease of sign up, I decided to jump in to this forum.

The rest of the story.

I am a 40 something year old professional guy, married with kids. When I was a kid my parents, grandparents, and pretty much every adult I knew had some sort of garden. Often I would be assigned to weed or water the garden. At the time I really, really didn’t enjoy it, but something must be in my genes or my psyche because here I am.

My current interest in gardening/fruit growing really started in 2009-10. I was really going through some very, very troubling times (another nod to Olpea). To try and deal with the stress, I would surf the internet looking for reading that would help me forget my problems. I often ended up at news sites, and that would generally leave me irritated, pessimistic, and not-relaxed.

One day I clicked on the fruit and orchard link from the veggies forum, and a whole new world opened up to me. I started reading old posts as well as all of the new ones, every night.

I had found my escape.

Of course once you have soaked up all the info, you want to actually grow things.

Here’s a list of what I’m currently growing in an edible landscape sort of format.

Pardon me if this is getting to long or boring, I figured everyone else on here knows more or less what everyone else is growing, so I thought I would share that info as well. * means fruited
Cherries (Carmine jewel*, Crimson Passion, Romeo, Blackgold on order)
Mulberries ( Oscar, Kokuso, Gerardi dwarf*)
Kens red hardy kiwi
Blueberries (Reka*, Duke*)
Strawberries (Albion*, Tristar*, several alpines*)
Raspberries (Caroline* and Anne*)
Blackberries ( triple crown*)
Saskatoon (unnamed*)
Honeyberries (Aurora, Borealis, Indigo Gem, and one unknown )
Peaches (Flat wonderful*, Indian Free, Red Baron)
Nectarines (Sunglo*, Flavortop)
Pears (Bartlett, red Bartlett, comice, Bosc, D’anjou, Flemish Beauty, 20th Century*, Harrow Sweet and Tennosui on order)
Plums (Santa Rosa(weeping* and regular*), Elephant Heart, Reine Claude on order)
Apples (Goldrush*, Honeycrisp*, Gala*,(?)Ginger gold*, Granny smith*, thinking about sweet16)
Figs ( Chicago Hardy*, VDB, Desert King (pulled a few days ago))
Pomegranate (Lubimy, Salavatski on order)
Apricot (Chinese*, Robada*)
Almond (Dessertny, Prima on order)

Unfortunately I’m getting close to running out of room!

THANK YOU to all of you folks!

Looking forward to more peace of mind in the future;-).

P.


#22

Hi all. I started posting on GW a while ago, late in 2010, about 6 months after we (wife and 2 daughters) moved into our first house, which has a 1/2 acre yard. That first year I planted 2 dozen types of berries and one apple tree. Since then, I’ve continued expanding at a rather unsustainable rate and am up to well over 150 tree-fruit cultivars (on a bit over 100 actual trees) and plans to graft another 50+ this spring. I’m also growing another 100 berries and vine cultivars.

My wife of 15+ years looks on this as somewhat crazy. But, I’ve pointed out to her that it is plenty of exercise and costs less than her badminton hobby (yes, badmintion is almost as bad as golf…). I play some badminton as well, but not as much, as I spread my efforts out into volleyball and softball. We met in school, both getting our degrees in chemical engineering. Neither of us has used it since, both working in IT.

My interest in fruit started when I was young. While my parents did mostly a vegetable garden, each family member had a different kind of fruit to pick. If you went through the woods behind my father’s parents, you’d come out into a huge field of blackberries (owned by Friendlies around their sign on the Mass Turnpike). They were thorny and there was no way to get near the middle, but there was still plenty around the edge that Friendlies kept mowed. Other parts of the family we would visit had red & black raspberries, wineberries, gooseberries, red currants, and probably some others I’m forgetting.

The one I remember most vividly was my great uncle’s. He lived around the corner from my grandmother and had 1 acre (in a small city of 50K pop) crammed full of fruits, berries, and vegetables. He lived alone and the few times I was in his house (why go inside when the yard is wonderland) I always felt bad for him, thinking that he must be poor, as he had 50+ year old appliances and lived very simply. Recently, I found out that he actually had a fair amount of money (not rich, but comfortable) and gave most of it away. He passed on in his mid 80’s, when I was 14, so I never got a chance to talk to him once I started growing my own fruit. I remember being impressed and a bit skeptical when he described grafting. It’s too bad I wasn’t ready to learn more at the time, as I’m sure he would have been happy to share his knowledge.