My Backyard Garden - Just starting out and would love advice/wisdom/critiques!

Hello everyone. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon this forum and I have learned so much just spending a couple hours here. I live in Ellicott City, MD and it seems like there are a good deal of people here who are also in the Maryland area - love seeing what is possible to grow in my area and what doesn’t do well. I would love for anyone to provide some sage wisdom to someone who is just starting out and does not want to get discouraged.

I am trying to grow some fruit trees as well as other edible plants in my yard. I have been pretty successful with my berries, but have not been as lucky with the fruit trees. I bought 4 from home depot last year and only one survived after the deer damage and I did not know at the time that I needed to paint the trunks to prevent sun damage especially in the winter.

Here are some pictures I just took of my garden and some small harvest I got this year:
My deck garden - lots of growbags.

My backyard - the hope is to get rid of a lot of the grass and use it to grow something. Unfortunately the left side of my backyard has a canopy of trees which limits the areas where I get full sun.

watermelons - sugar baby and a small yellow variety

Kajari Melons - have not tried yet, first year growing.

Strawberry - mostly honeoye variety.

Elderberries - Black and John variety, no fruit harvested yet

Aronia Berry and some cape gooseberries - not sure of the varieties for both. Cape gooseberries are all volunteers.

Raspberries - Anne, Caroline (nothing sprouting yet might be dead) and raspberry shortcake. No fruit harvested yet

Goji Berry - bought about a month ago and its leafing out now.

Meyers Lemon Tree - had this for about 2 years, yet to have any harvest. Hoping this is the year!

Blueberries - Had these when I moved into the house about 3 years ago. They are now producing well. Varieties are Pink Icing, Northblue, Northcountry, Bluecrop. Wondering if I should move them in ground; soil test I got last year says my soil is acidic.

Blackberries - Babycakes variety

Gooseberries - Pixwell and I have a Hinnomaki which is still too young

Fruit Trees - I have 3, D’Anjou Pear, Pixie Crunch Apple and Sundance Apple. Have Asian Pear trees coming in the fall and a Seckel pear to pollinate with the D’anjou. I have peaches, plums and cherries coming next spring. Yes there is a tomato growing there that was a volunteer - I just let it be.

Plan to use this area to plant the future fruit trees. Gets at least 8 hours of sun.

Misc. Veggies and such

Open to suggestions, tips, critiques (I won’t get upset promise ;-)), and battle scars from your own attempts to creating edible landscape.

Thanks for creating this great website and community, I hope I can contribute for many years to come!


At least here in Colorado is snows until May and the raspberries I got in this year are all leafed out and the primocanes are already producing berries. If you got them shipped this year ask them about their bare root warranty. Issue most people have with fruit trees is they refuse to spray. It is recommended you spray with dormant oil and things like peaches/nectarines will want copper fungicide sprays less they get fungal infections. Even still I lost 3 out of 5 cherry trees this year to fungus. I think the nursery I bought them from pruned them with infected shears because I have done nothing different to the 2 that survived and the 3 that died quite literally leafed out and then the leaves crinkled up and turned brown. Looking up reviews on Daves Garden many people have had issues with their trees.

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Yea from reading this forum I think I will need to get a spraying regiment going for the fruit trees. So far my berries have been fine without any sprays so hope I can keep that going for them.

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What a great backyard orchard! Thanks for sharing it with us

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Thank you, hope to get some fruit in a couple years!

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Looking fine! Beware of bears…coming from the woods for a feast.

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you ever need some help or just someones brain to pick, Naeem on here is in your neck of the woods and knows his stuff. could tell you what does well and what doesnt and advise a spray schedule.


Would love to hear their thoughts and advice. Maybe can meet someday too

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If you want to call to someone’s attention, put the symbol @+the person’s handle name. For example @Naeem . That person will be alerted. Often, the person will respond.

There are several members in your area. My advice is to read up as many posts that interest you as you can before jumping in. It will save you time, money and avoid regrets.

If you want to look up any topic, use the search function. It is a symbol of a looking glass at the top right corner of a page. Click on the symbol. Type in key words such “peach problems”, “fig bud mites”, “spraying schedule”, etc. Good luck.


If you’re thinking of trying apricots, I definitely try to get advice from people in your area. Apricots seem to be the white whale of a lot of people here. Mainly due to late freezes in the spring killing the blossoms.

I don’t know how much you’ve read here, but here’s some abbreviations some of which confused me when I first got here:

PC = plum curculio
OFM = oriental fruit moth
SWD = spotted wing drosophila

I think those are about the top three pests of fruit growers. Welcome!


No apricots yet, but maybe in the future. Honest truth is I don’t like store bought apricots much, however I’ve never had some of the varieties I see online and one that is tree ripened.

Great type on the abbreviations, I can appreciate how confusing they are to a newcomer like myself. Have not ran into these pest yet, but will be on the lookout. I hear my area gets a lot of pest problems and my house is right in front of a forest.

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