My non-fruit growing friends and family often ask me why I spend so much time, money, and effort growing fruit. They hear me talking about everything involved and naively say that it seems like a lot of work and money for something you can just buy in the store (HA!). But it does get me thinking. I know for me personally, it’s more complicated than just the fact that homegrown fruit taste so much better-though that certainly is a big part of it. But its actually relaxing and rewarding to produce good produce. I also grow things that are just hard to find for sale, let alone much better than what’s available for sale. There are so many challenges to growing most fruits that also just gives me a since of accomplishment that I enjoy and take pride in when I am successful. I could go on with reasons why I enjoy growing fruit, but when friends ask me that question it does get me thinking what it is about this hobby that the rest of you enjoy. I thought it might be a fun thread to just see how the rest of you respond when you explain to loved ones or friends why your backyard, time, and money are devoted to growing fruit! I’m sure most of you have had this talk with your spouse or others!
So how about it…exactly what is it about growing fruit that makes you want to choose this hobby? Thanks.
Well I have always grown plants, and it is really what I like to do, for me it’s not as much the fruit. It was a challenge, reminds of the the trees my parents had. How good the peaches were. I started bonsai last winter, I still buy non-fruit plants. My last purchase was two winter hardy cacti. I like unusual plants, and these two cacti were added to my front garden. I like growing plants more than anything and have been doing so for over 40 years. I’m fairly new to most fruits only growing grapes a long time, 25 years. This year I will get peaches for the first time, and the thrill and all might be gone. I find the trees hard to grow, so i want to do it, but not sure I really like the idea of using so many chemicals to keep them alive and producing edible fruit. I enjoy berries a lot more and have no plans ever to stop growing them. But fruit trees I may give up on, or go with easier fruits. In a way i just want to see if I can do it, once I do i may lose interest in the hard work to maintain them. Unless the payoff is so good I keep it up. I probably will keep them going until they reach their natural lifespan and pass. I doubt I will add more.
I grew some cacti from seed and it took 30 years for them to be big enough to flower, that happened 5 years ago, and so I started looking for a new challenge. Peach trees came to mind.
Their are still a lot of interesting plants out there I would like to grow. Again my focus in all plants, not just fruit. Growing edible plants is in a way a compromise for me, as it is more practical than exotic and ornamental plants. It makes sense to fulfill my need to grow plants, yet actually provide a payoff. I grafted the first time this year, and breeding sounds like a huge challenge, so I think my next big movement will be in breeding plants. I already started with brambles. Not much luck so far, although I’m not one to give up.
Well, when we bought a house with a relatively big lot and no trees, I started to think what I can plant on it. I had a lot of choices, and I gradually evolved to my present opinion. Why would I want to plant a crab apple tree if I can plant a regular apple? With regular apple trees I can enjoy shade and flowers PLUS my own apples. Why would I plant the flowering cherry or apricot if I can plant regular ones and have all the same and also have fruits? I really like flowering trees but they are usually the big ones and they have a short flowering time. I would better go in the city park and enjoy their beauty there. Beyond that lies the satisfaction and pride of growing my own fruits. And the curiosity and challenge in the growing the unusual and the rare fruits. And although home grown fruits are not really free, taking into the account all my efforts to grow them, it is still feels good to have a plenty and not to pay for them.
Just a few words to explain why I grow fruit trees.
“The meaning of life is not to be discovered only after death in some hidden, mysterious realm; on the contrary, it can be found by eating the succulent fruit of the Tree of Life and by living in the here and now as fully and creatively as we can.”
It is an enjoyment to see things grow in full life cycle, learning along the way. Also got taste a better quality fruits.
A better question for me would be why I TRY to grow fruits. The amount of fruit I get compared to the amount of potential fruiting plants, and time and effort put into them is not a good ratio.
No one asks why I grow fruit, veggies, or flowers. They don’t ask why I keep bees. What happens is that the kids, throughout school and college, and even now that they are young adults, invite their friends over and ask me to give them a tour through the yard. It takes about half an hour or so. Their friends almost invariably leave saying that they want to grow their own as soon as they have a place. Any time you set a spark in a young person’s mind that they can accomplished something they hadn’t considered, it’s a reward.
I agree with the reasons given and also growing fruit includes a hope for something better.A lot of times,what we start out with is a small seed or stick,but by the miracle of growth,things happen.It isn’t guaranteed,but we expect the full outcome,fruit.There are the small and large changes and surprises along the way,that make the experience interesting too. Brady
The journey is the prize.
Most hobbies don’t yield anything actually useful, except emotional. You literally get to eat the fruits of your labor in fruit growing.
Also, the opportunity to sample differnt and properly ripened fruits that I would never be able to try otherwise is a motivator for what I grow. Without growing things like figs, persimmons, and paw paws I would never be able to try a half decent one.
Why I grow fruit tree? Or any plant that grow?
In general, I grow plants (and fruit tree) because I’m always fascinated at how a tiny speck of LIVING material(s) could have the potential to turn into something humongous, many many thousand times its original starting point.
If everything like monies and times and labors had to be accounted for, going to the store to buy your fruit is an easier answer. Seeing the fruiting of your efforts (not pun intended) can’t be bought.
Ask any sport fisherman. Does his spending on baits, gears, gas and times and all the empty hours sitting on the dock or in his boat when the fish not bite while the sun or rain beating down on him/her. Does it worth his/her efforts? It sure does. It’s the fun of the journey, not just the destination!
So, back to the question of why I want to grow my fruit trees? It’s the fun of the journey!
One of my reasons for growing my own trees is to eat fresh versions of fruit that I cant get around here. Asian pears, Pluots, Nectaplums are not something I dont see regularly at the market. As I mentioned in another thread the Pluots I seen sold here recently were Flavorella. If I base my whole opinion of how much I like pluots on eating a store bought Flavorella I’d likely never want to eat one again. But I’m anxiously awaiting the next couple of years when I can hopefully taste a home grown Flavor King or a Spice Zee Nectaplum. It also is a way for me to spend quality time with my kids and hopefully get them focused on healthier eating.
Flavorella can be very good if brix is above 22. But most of mine didn’t make that and were on the sour side. I’ve still got a tree and hope for fruit again next yr
I grow fruit because …
I AM A MASOCHIST !!! …
and I am sorrounded by little six legged and microscopic sadists. Whadda a life!!!
Dave, if I hadn’t had fresh plums from my grandparents’ tree as a kid, I would think they were a lousy, tasteless excuse for a fruit. It doesn’t seem to matter how good they look in a grocery store. Every time I’ve bought some that looked promising I’ve wound up biting one and throwing it out. Then hoping the rest will ripen if I let them sit. They never do develop flavor or good consistency. Real tree ripened plums are juicy, aromatic, and have a complexity to their taste that includes both sweet and sour.
I couldn’t help but smile as I read these responses, and I wonder how many of you also shook your head in agreement as you read other peoples reasons for enjoying fruit growing (and growing things in general). @Antmary, one of your reasons is exactly why I decided to plant some fruit trees instead of other blooming trees. And to this very day, I still can’t help but wonder what people are thinking when they plant trees like Bradford pears or decorative plums (not to insult those of you who have both…I understand there may be some justifiable reasons). @MuddyMess_8a , your inspiring of young growers is among the most noble of reasons. I’ve seen some incredible photos here of children in orchards and gardens and you can often see how much they love and enjoy being there and/or eating the harvest…they really may be the best reason at all for growing! @Bradybb and @tomIL basically said the same thing and its one that I, too, share but didn’t know others did! There really is something absolutely magical to me that you can take tiny little embryo (see), and it can even be denied almost all life giving elements like food and water for YEARS. Then you can put it in the right environment (like warm, damp soil) and it will suddenly spring to life and eventually grow into something that will take what it needs from its environment and turn it into something delicious and nutritious to eat. Amazing, and thanks to you both for reminding me of that and letting me know I’m not the only one fascinated by it! I didn’t post this paragraph just to agree with everyone individually, but I cannot help but add one more “Amen”. @MuddyMess_8a hit on something that I have given a lot of thought to, though for me homegrown peaches are the one fruit that I wish grocery store shoppers could all try. Just think about the millions (literally) of people who live in places like New York City (or parts of the world where peaches wont grow and must be shipped in). From the time they are children and eat canned peaches or grocery store peaches, they think they know what a peach is and how it tastes. Understandably, many of them don’t think peaches are a great fruit. Again, for millions of people this is their reality for peaches from their first one as a child until their last one as an elderly person. It is sooo sad! Those people have no idea what a peach really is. They never know the pleasure of a fat, soft peach that is so juicy you actually have to stand over a sink or be outside because you cannot contain all the sweet juice that pours out when you bite into the succulent flesh. Those people never get that beautiful combination of sweetness with just a trace of tartness that is combined in soft but not mushy flesh, all perfectly packaged into an thin skin that itself adds a bit of tanginess. It is just plain sad, so growing fruit and sharing it with people who never (or at least rarely) gets to eat REAL fruit. Their reaction alone makes all we do worth while. Hearing them moan and slurp as they eat it, then seeing them tell others about it and start asking you more serious questions about how hard is to grow such things (because they are suddenly considering planting their own tree(s) ).Its a priceless reaction that I’m sure many of you have got to see.
I’d like to add in my earlier thoughts that I do prefer fruit trees with colorful blooms over just flowering trees that had its fruit bearing capability breed away! In fact, couple weeks ago, I topped off a Kwanzan flowering cherry (2" trunk) and bark grafted couple scions of Van, Rainier and Utah Giant onto it.
I know… I’m guilty!
But am still waiting to see if it take!
Remember it’s the journey that counted. The resultant of fruits is… the fruits on the icing of the cake!
After that description of peaches, I probably will have to grow them a long time. It’s been so long since I had a good one I forgot about what they are really like. Thanks for reminding me why I planted the trees!
Same reason I shoot heroin. When I bite into a luscious nectarine off my own tree it just feels so good, but the feeling wears off and a short while later I need another.
I grow fruit trees and berries, as they have been and are the most rewarding plants I have ever planted. I have learned patience, real patience. Having lost new trees to borers or older trees to a hurricane, was devastating. Having to prune seven trees this past spring down to one and a half feet in height was a killer. I have always replanted. Next year will be very the last year for planting. I can, as of now, stand inside of a large rectangle of 12’ fruit trees of all types. I just stand and look with amazement at what I have accomplished. All of your advice, kind words and suggestions have been an enormous help and I hear your comments as I walk through my orchard. Without all of your insights it would have taken me years to catch up on the knowledge that is in this forum and for that I thank you. My orchard is the most beautiful place I have ever created. I too complained over the years if cost and loss, but to see all of my plum trees filled with fruit this year is amazing in itself. My last tree for this year goes in tomorrow, a ‘black’ peach that I have been looking to purchase for four years. I learned to be selective as well. Mrs. G
You have to give that up! Cocaine was my monkey. Today I had radishes, lettuce, peppers, and borage leaves from the garden. I try to include something everyday.
Oh strawberries too, multiple times.