Major accomplishments as an orchardist

At some point every orchardist hits that time in their life when they made some major accomplishments. My orchard is definately looking good and it gives me a good feeling. Many of you had a fantastic looking orchard in a short period of time. Something worth mentioning is a home orchardist can often pay attention to details a commercial orchardist cannot. There is something to be said for quality over quantity! Many of us have had significant accomplishments in growing fruit but it takes time.


My major accomplishment as a home orchardist is to continually invent new and innovative ways to kill trees! The fact that some manage to survive and an occasional one thrives is more due to the amazing perseverance of nature than any skills that I have developed! Lol



Some trees are weak and that doesn’t work in Montana or Kansas. Look around and see what works there for other people then plant those! @marknmt knows Montana and might have suggestions. Keep reading you will be a master at this soon.


Careful with what you say, @clarkinks ! I see John is in the other Montana - the Zone 3, arid, sub-zero wind-swept eastern half, I suspect - and I’d hate to try to deal with his conditions. I wanted to find a semidwarf apple suitable for zone 3 a while back and the nursery couldn’t recommend anything - ended up getting Juliet cherry instead.


im growing painted mountain corn this year. supposedly bred in that part of your state. got to be a tough plant to grow in cold and dry. desiccation kills coupled with cold temps.


I’m happy with my growing understanding of root development and propagation techniques, specially as they apply to our super short grow season paired with long and harsh winters.

Heck people with the so called green thumbs are just better at disposing of the dead bodies… Compost is just a nice side effect of having a personal dumping ground.


every spring im amazed at how quick it goes from brown to green in the north. literally in 2 weeks we go from bare branches to fully leafed out. father south its usually more gradual like over a month. im still amazed on how well my sour cherries grow here. 99% of people you talk to here dont realize we can grow them. they think they will only grow CT south.


Haven’t accomplished much in terms of production as my home pear orchard was sold in '13, my small home blueberry 120+ patch sold in 21. My only real accomplishment, besides growing and shaping nice trees, is selling fruit producing properties to like minded folks!


For me the fun of learning how and what to grow is what keeps my interest. Plants give me a sense of tranquility so I like to have them around. If I didn’t have other obligations I would be happy just tending the garden. My needs are rather simple. I do enjoy many other things but when in the garden I feel I’m at home.


my wifes thinks its funny when i say im going for a walkabout. just love walking down the rows, looking to see whats progressed, pull a few weeds , and makes some mental notes on what needs tending to… then id go sit under my big spruces with the ramps and fiddleheads and watch the birds for awhile. its my little piece of forest surrounded by fields with just one wooded hedgerow connecting it to bigger woods up the hill aways. last year was the 1st time in 8 yrs. i seen grouse in there feeding on highbush cranberry. the dogs flushed it out while walking with me.


With me it’s just keeping them alive. If I get fruit later it’s a mirscle! :blush:


When I was 8, I saw an orchard and thought, “That’s amazing. They can go out and eat their fruit whenever they want to!” I guess that was my original goal. Now I guess I like hearing ideas from you all and sharing those with other people. I have given away innumerable trees and bushes, largely to schoolkids and school gardens. I am populating a school garden for adjudicated youth right now. It should give them something positive to be focused on rather than the reason why they got there.

John S


Good on you John, that is a wonderful goal. I’m always so excited to see fruit growing in public places for everyone to enjoy, especially for children. I was pleasantly surprised to find a serviceberry on the 6th floor garden of the children’s hospital we’ve been at recently and thoroughly enjoyed trying that fruit for the first time.


When my students are shocked to find out that pears grow on trees, I know we have our work cut out for us.
John S



Yes let’s hope they learn some of what we want to pass on to them.

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For me ,the biggest accomplishment was ,

“learning how to graft.”

This changed everything.
The ability to propagate most things cheaply.
Make more of what you want at very little cost.
Trade scions with others at very little cost , ( a trade )
Ability to collect and propagate rare plants , from a neighbors yard, or across the Country for the price of mailing the equivalent of a pencil size twig is truly amazing.
With pests like deer and voles ,winter injury,etc. buying trees from a nursery’s ,to support your habit ,can be expensive,and limit how much you are willing to invest on a gamble of these plants paying off.
Rootstocks can be obtained cheaply , after that it’s a bit of a learning curve , and ones time.
Once a level of success is obtained , it become SO gratifying…
To look at a tree ( or a hundred ) and smile , I made that ! , and for like $2 !
Not $30 + .
So I am a big advocate of learning to graft.
Other methods of propagation too !


i agree! even though ive only been successful with cleft and bark grafts. i shake too much to do the others.


I was going to say I got cherries but some animals went through my mesh net and ate 75% of them


My major accomplishment has been staying sane . It’s the most fun in winter imagining the wonderful weeded, bug free, healthy, heavily-laden orchard the next season will bring, an organic wonderland. I order scions, bushes, handy gadgets, gaze at nursery websites. Ah, the dreams.


The orchard is heavy with aronia and other fruits. It is difficult to see in these photos but this is acres of fruit. Some trees or bushes are small and others very large.