I’m finally getting under way! I’m starting this topic to share and track my progress in one place. Hopefully there are more successes than failures, but I know not everything will work out.
Where I’m at right now:
Arborists are coming back next week to finish taking down trees, after which I’ll have a lot more full sun space. I have all my scionwood and most of my rootstocks. I’ve grafted 4 apricots, 2 apples, and 5 pears (2 for me, 3 for my boss). I’ll be grafting some peaches tonight or tomorrow, and persimmons as soon as the roots come in. I have some pawpaw seedlings coming up in pots now; hopefully I’ll be able to graft them in a couple years. I also have 4 rooted figs in pots, plus starting a few more now!
I started some beach plum seeds last year, and have hazelnuts potted up and waiting to germinate. I’ll have a small nursery bed to grow persimmon and other rootstocks, and to get tree seedlings started. I’m also starting a boatload of mostly native and native-ish perennial flowers to attract hummingbirds and keep the bees and other pollinators in pollen and nectar for as much of the year as possible.
I’ll start adding some pictures below, and thanks for coming along on my journey! And thank you to everyone on this forum for all the great info and advice.
Here are my starting conditions. Still deciding on orchard layout, but there will probably be at least some espalier. All the big trees pictured are coming down, and some of the neighbors (on the left in the first picture) have plans to clear out their trees, so the sunshine situation will continue to change.
Here are my grafts so far, staying warm and out of the wind until they start to grow. I stuck the tops of the apple, pear, and apricot rootstocks in the ground to see if any root. Not expecting much, except for maybe the Bud-118, but I figure I didn’t have much to lose for 5 minutes of my time.
Thanks! I’m feeling pretty good about my grafts. The pears were harder to cut than I expected, so they’ll probably not be as pretty as the others. Hopefully pears are as forgiving as I’ve read they are!
Think you will be surprised how much will fit in that area. It’s an addiction and your plans will change many times over the next years. Soon the excitement of what will I add next will take over until there is no space left. But there is always room for one more. Have fun!
Ha ha! They actually are for my actual boss! My wife is mostly along for the ride at this point.
@Robert I have some pretty grand plans. I do have to make sure to leave room for play, rotary clothesline, ornamentals, and maybe a pond. I’m hoping to grow vines or espalier along some of the fence as things get sunnier.
keep in mind the sun position on the property. put the taller growing trees to the north and smaller shrubs to the south so nothing gets shaded out later on. good luck! like others said you would be surprised what you can fit there. i have 50+ varieties of fruit trees/ bushes, nuts and some mecinidals on 3/4 a acre and still adding more. wood chip mulch will save you on watering and weeding. just put more fresh on in the spring and the weeds can’t grow in it.
I try to plant things in an east to west orientation. Seems to me that would give things the most even amount of sun in the summer. Not sure if I read that or it is just what I think It wouldn’t hurt to consider the orientation though as sunlight does affect a lot of things.
Yes, I’ve read east to west is best for rows of rootstocks planted a foot apart, but then north to south best for trees. I understand it has to do with shading, but…wish I could find a more thorough explanation.(?)
After my first year of cider apple hobby orcharding, I am onto “Plan B.” And after this year, I am pretty certain I will begin Plan C. I am learning from my mistakes and staying flexible, you see, as I wait fo make a decision for moving to a new home and [finally] planting the orchard. Plan A was 10 trees–in pots–and 20 rootstocks, and Plan B is getting rid of the trees (on the wrong rootstocks) and switching over to 30 different rootstocks more appropriate for my Zone 4b location…and so I can dig them up easily to take with me and don’t have all the problems of growing in pots.I just love it when a plan comes together! Now I just have to determine how to combine some varieties and reduce the number of trees from 30 to 20, the number my wife wants to limit me with.
Mine are in a grid so they are north south east and west. I plant garden rows east to west amd most everything I do is east to west but if more than 4 trees I guess they are actually orientated both directions
@Poncho65 How would you plant 30 rootstocks? In rows 4 or 5 feet apart? With three rows of ten/ four rows of eight in an east to west orientation? I want to keep them under netting for hail protection, and to keep birds off. Thanks!