What would you plant in this garden?

Here’s my million dollar question… could you turn this 40’ x 70’+ space into a mini orchard? I’m new to tree planting and not sure about spacing.

Garages are 40’ apart and facing SW. I am in zone 4b - New Hampshire. I have a contender peach tree I want to plant between the two garages. That placement put’s it North of my garage and should protect it from the winter sun.

Would love to hear what other’s would do with this space for inspiration. Thank you kindly =)


Welcome! With the caveat that I don’t actually have any trees in ground yet, you should have no problem loading that site up with trees! Just how many depends on whether you use space saving measures such as dwarfing rootstocks, summer pruning, or espalier. You should see my yard. I have to thread a needle to follow the full sun areas.

If I had your site, I’d go all out with a variety of apples, pears, and peaches. Then leave room to expand into berries, grapes, and hardy kiwi. American persimmon should grow there, but it may be too cold to reliably ripen fruit.


Is this your orchard plus your garden?
Are you going organic? if so i would interplant tons of perrenial flowers as well
Most of us are full bore crazy and put as many as possible plus 3 more trees, how do you feel about this approach?

I would try not to buy trees at any big box stores unless they tell you rootstock.
You are later for ordering trees, personally i would go bare root and cut the trees around 18" to 2’ tall, Are deer a issue for you? Standard trees do great for deer areas a lot of us do semi dwarf to dwarf trees so we dont have to climb on ladders or so we can get more trees of what we want, if you are going to cover for pests it helps to have short trees for cherries etc…

Tell us what your goal is


Kiwi would do fine so long as you put some sort of trellis supports on either or both buildings.

I agree you can fit a ton in that space.

I prefer mixing in several small fruit types so you have not only a longer run of production but it also comes in faster and there is more of cushion for getting at least something every year.

Raspberries, black and red, currants, haskap, elderberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries are all viable as smalls.


Welcome to the forum. I have some thought about your situation.

Zone 4b is still very cold. You may want to focus on fruit trees that grow well and actually fruit in your zone. Your other thread asking for input on peaches. Peaches in zone 4 is really pushing it. The tree may not die (not quickly) but the fruit buds are likely to.
Also, peaches is quite challenging to grow.

You have asked about organic fruit trees. Will you be an organic growes? How willing you are to spray chemicals? Many fruit trees require spraying, some for diseases, others for pests.

In our area, I am in MA. You are my next door neighbor up north. Our pests and diseases would likely be similar. You may have less issues as it seems the colder it is, the fewer diseases and pests you may have.

American persimmons, apples and pears are a lot easier to grow than peaches. When it comes to fruit trees, what we like to eat and what we can grow are not always the same thing.


Hello and thank you!
I didn’t think it was possible to grow peaches up here at all until I discovered there were ones that could maybe survive zone 4, so I figured why the heck not? It’s worth a try since the organic ones at the store are near rotting every time I get them. Also, our local stores have them in stock which I found unusual seeing they don’t fair well up here.

I probably won’t be spraying anything on the trees. We would rather take the risk of disease and pests. What pests and diseases do you experience down there in MA? I’ve seen a few “how to grow organic peach tree” videos on youtube. I think MIGardener has one. I’ll probably follow his example and see how it goes.

How would you space the fruit trees? I feel like it’s such a small space for these 20ft+ trees but I know it’s because I’m a noob with no clue what I’m doing xD

Are standard size trees going to be fine here or what size tree should be my limit?
I was a little surprised when I saw that my contender peach tree could grow to be 30ft+.
They do not look so big online!

You could put at least 60 apple trees in that space on B9 or G11 or M9 rootstock!


I agree with mamuang. I would stay away from any stone fruits. Like she said, they will live there, but you will rarely see fruit. Most people on the east coast have to work hard to see fruit because of disease and other problems. I think you would be wasting time and money on them.

You can cram a lot in that space. There are plenty of people on here with less and they have it packed. Best thing to do is take a look around and see what is doing well for other people in your area. Apples, pears, berries, kiwi for sure.


We have raised beds in our backyard for our vegetables so I was thinking this side yard would be a fun little mini orchard. My kitchen window overlooks it so I would love to see flowering trees and developing fruit while I spend as much time as I do washing dishes. XD
Plus, I still have some things like berries I would like to plant that I don’t have room for in the backyard. Flowers are definitely my forte too this spring. We have a flowerbed in our front yard that I am also currently planning. Going to test my hand at Dinnerplate Dahlias.

What exactly are rootstocks? Why are they better? Why go bare root and cut shorter?

I don’t believe deer are an issue here. We are in town, but maybe they stroll through here… I don’t know. We just moved in last fall and this will be my first growing season on this property.

Definitely want to get my hands on some dwarf cherry trees! I would love a sweeter cherry but I heard zone 4 is good for mostly tart.


Thank you! I would love to go full out with dwarfies and berries! XD Since we don’t have fence between us and the neighbor’s yard, do you think they would have issues with us filling it up with a bunch of trees?

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You might like this thread:

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Stores tend to sell what people want to buy. 9 times out of 10 people don’t complain or ask for a refund when a tree dies that they got from a big box store the year before. Anyway, yes, yes, yes you can have a mini orchard in that space! :slight_smile: Might I suggest you add some honeyberries in among your orchard. They fair well in your climate. :slight_smile:


I don’t know if I would go for full sized. Considering that you can fit a bunch of semi dwarf in the space a full, would take, it seems the better option.
You also can prune down a bit. Many things will be slower growers there too.
I’m technically 5b, but we slip lower some years so I aim for 4, mostly. I don’t bother with peach for that reason. ( plus, we live close enough to the Niagara region that I can buy really good ones)

Of the trees, the only one that has really produced for me so far is my Montmancy sour cherry, which is great. My single Saskatoon is growing well, but the birds strip it. The pears are doing pretty good, but are young and one turns out to be bad at pollination so not much yet.
We refer to all the plums as lying freeloaders, but I keep hoping.
Mulberries do well in this zone, and produce, but mine are still small. Apricots do okay here, if you can protect them from the buns.
I have pawapaws, but this is the outer end of range and I will be lucky if they get big enough for fruit in my lifetime.

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It is hard to go organic and figure you aren’t going to spray anything. Also stone fruits are difficult. I would suggest starting small and adding gradually, so you can get a feel for how much work it can be. I have tried to avoid poisons, but have had lots of crop failures. Apples you can bag, pears can get by fairly well without sprays, early summer berries are okay, but there are always pests lurking ready to ruin your crops! Also be sure to wire for deer and rabbits. They are EVERYWHERE!


Thanks @dimitri_7a.

FarmGirl, check out my writeups. Should give you a good starting point. Main tips. Ideally on some raised mounds/rows for good drainage. Mutch with ramial mulch or woodchips. Paint all trees with 1:1:1 white latex:water:joint compound each fall AND wrap trunks with protectors against rabbits/voles. If there are deer within 10 miles put up a 8’ fence immediately. Stronly suggest putting in an irrigation system right at the start. Ditch-witch is cheap to rent. Run pipes down each row and then up upspouts at each tree and bush and drip tape for vegitables, garlic, ect. Much better than hand watering.

Smallest stuff to the south and south-west. Largest to the North, North East. Rows going in a North-South vertical orientation. You don’t want plants to shade others so you want good sun from south and west. I would plant ground level plants/vegitables in the far south. Then a row of black currants (top out around 3 feet). Then a row of Haskasp which top out 4-6’ (Aurora, Tundra, Boreal Beauty/Beast/Blizard). If you have clay or higher pH soil ignore blueberries. Consider then some elderberries. Each elderberry plant will expand to 6’x6’ to 8’x8’. At least 1 Bob Gordon and 1 Wyldwood. Elderflower cordial with sparkling water is amazing and no bugs eat flowers so you will always get at least 1 thing no matter how bad of a year it is. For fruit go with apples, pears and plums. DON’T fall for the whole dwarfing garbage. Cold climates need vigorous trees for harsh winters and short growing seasons. They live longer and bounce back better if you get borers or vole damage or or or. You can keep a tree at whatever height you want by heavy pruning, branch bending and heavy bearing. Don’t worry about having less varieties due to larger trees, grafting is super easy. I have a semi-standard that is 10-12’ tall, 20’ wide and I am up to something like 70 different varieties of apples on it. Apples go with Bud118 rootstock. Pears OHxF87 and plant your pears in the far north of the row and ideally north-east corner. Suckers can fight to get tall. I would space my Apple/Pear trees at 22-25’ apart in the row and 20-25’ between rows. Easy to mow around, don’t have to worry to much about them growing into each other. I would multigraft every tree with at least 5-6 different varieties. See my posts for varieties. Try to do fireblight and other disease resistant. My favorites so far are:
Apples early to late: Redfree, Norkent, Bilodeau, Wynochee early, Crimson Crisp, Macfree
Also consider Liberty, Chestnut (have not tasted yet but everyone raves)
Pears have not tasted most yet but Lucious, Patten and the Harrow series would be good to look at (Harrow Sweet, Harrow Delight, Harvest Queen).
Plums, stupid bugs get them all so far. Best rootstock success for me has been Myrobalan and Myrianna 4626 (spelling?).

Tried peaches, not hardy, don’t like my clay. Still trying apricots.

Have fun. Read my posts and message me if questions. Still have to get 2018, 2019 out but have been busy and COVID has F’d up my spring plans big time.


I think your post is meant for @JillDief.

You are probably in the best position to provide her advice considering you are in the same zone and have “been there, done that”.

Jill - for peaches, like plums, their enemies include but are not limited to canker, brown rot, borers, plum curculios, oriental fruit moths, stink bugs,etc. These do not include deer, rabbits, groundhogs, opossums, etc., all of them love you fruit and the trees (deer).

Growing fruit trees esp. stone fruit like peaches, plums, cherries in our east coast with no spray will be a very difficult thing to do.

I appreciate all of your recommendations, but I’m not the OP. :slight_smile:

I think you can definitely do what you want and grow organically you just need to keep your expectations in line with reality! I also planted many things people said would not work and so far i have gotten peaches 3 out of 5 years we will see how year 6 goes! Sweet cherries for me however have only been 1 in 3 years.
Sours are much more reliable bloomwise and more cold hardy and snap cold tolerant.

If the company does not tell you what rootstock the tree is on they basically are not putting a lot of effort or care into the tree and making sure you get what you need. You should research rootstocks for your climate or go by reccomendations of those on here near your area. In general your peaches are fine and are on seedling rootstocks, you can summer prune them to maintain your desired height. I would cut the tree short cuz i want a V or multi branched open vase peach tree. Some trees may need raised beds if they sit in water all winter and blueberries usually need raised beds also but maybe they do good in your ground, do you know your soil type and ph?

You definitely need to check out the romance series cherries and Juliet, Carmine Jewel and maybe romeo? Montmorency is a excellent sour cherry tree that is very good once overripe and juliet is the sweetest of the sour cherries it seems. Raintree sells alot of good cherry trees on gisela which are great rootstocks for most areas, you should check on your area though.

I think you should chat with your neighbor and see how they feel about the trees and Orchard. You can explain its a victory garden and you are doing things organically they way your grandparents did to maybe alleviate some of his concerns. Do what you want on your property but you may need to put up a fence and its worthwhile making the neighbor happy if they are reasonable.

I would definitely listen to @hungryfrozencanuck4b but he is actually a zone under you since canada moves the zones up one notch. See what the local nurseries have success with and maybe try to find some local u picks and see what they do well with.

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I’ll jump in here with a little clarification on rootstocks, and then a second comment.

Every tree, vine, etc. has a rootstock. Some are seedling rootstocks, some are clones of a known rootstock that is known to do certain things particularly well.

For example, if pears are grown on plants grown from seeds it means somebody has planted seeds from a pear, and when they grew large enough a small piece of tree is grafted to that rootstock, and all the pears from that little grafted piece will always be the same kind as the tree it came from. So you get Bartlett pears not by planting seeds from Bartletts, but by grafting Bartlett buds or scions to the little tree that grew from seeds.

A seedling pear tree is liable to fatal infection from fireblight. So when people discovered a couple of trees that had survived a very serious fireblight epidemic they started cloning the roots. There are a handful of such rootstocks that provide some resistance to fireblight. And among them there is a range of sizes the tree will grow to, so you can choose a larger or smaller Bartlett on relatively healthy roots. There are similar things with other fruits, including apples, stone fruit, grapes, and the like.

The other thing I wanted to say is that once you get your orchard going you’ll have a lot of fruit to deal with as well as a lot of plants to care for. So you might start out a little cautiously, which is hard to do. But it’s true that dwarf trees are easier to care far (no ladders!) and you won’t get so much fruit. On the other hand, my one 12 foot tall apple, a semi dwarf, produced well over 250 pounds of apples this fall, so you can surely get a lot of fruit from a smallish orchard.

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