It has been three years since I have planted our small home orchard. Our mini orchard has grown to a total of 12 fruit trees containing varieties of apple, pear, plum, fig, cherry & peach. While I hope to continue adding more trees in the future, today I am sharing a home orchard update & sharing a few mistakes I made along the way.
Home Orchard Update
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ONE- Expecting this to be easy!
I admit that I have been blessed with a green thumb & taking care of my houseplants & perennial gardens have come fairly easy to me over the years. Not so with fruit trees! I really did think that if I planted a few fruit trees I would be swimming in fruit & no longer have to buy any from the grocery store…. I am def still buying fruit from the grocery store.
What I am learning…
I need to be patient & learn from my mistakes. I also need to be willing to spend more time trouble shooting what works & what it doesn’t with my home orchard trees. This summer, I chose to shrink & eliminate a few of my perennial beds so I had more time to work in our fruit orchard & veggie gardens.
TWO- Not Planning for Pests & Deer!
I don’t know what it is but my fruit trees have had way more problems with pests that any other tree I have planted over the years (And I have planted many). Unfortunately, last year I lost an apple tree to an apple borer & have since planted a new apple tree to replace it. One spring, I lost almost all my apple blossoms to deer meaning zero apples that year.
What I am doing now…
I found a very simple solution for the deer (you can read more about that here) & this year no deer ate from any of our fruit trees!
I may eventually spray our trees with an organic fertilizer but my plan for pests next year is CHICKENS!!! (you can read more about our chickens here) Our 3 girls have been happily eating all the bugs & grubs they find under our fruit trees & I am hoping for a lot less bug problems next year!
THREE- Not Fertilizing Enough!
Fruit trees need a lot more than just mulch to help the fruit grow & I definitely did not give them enough early on.
My plan for Fertilizer….
The last 2 years, I have been adding horse manure from a farm in our neighborhood to add to our fruit trees & next year I am hoping to use our chicken manure. We even started a compost bin (DIY coming soon) to help with this!
FOUR – Not Planting Two of Each Kind of Tree
Although the orchard starter kit I bought was great & the trees were healthy, I was struggled to get much if any fruit from the trees.
Over the years, I added a second pear, plum & peach tree to our mini orchard & this year we had way more peaches & pears than ever before!
I hope this helps any of you that are planning to add some fruit trees to our home gardens!