Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Short List: Our Orchard

Last week when I blogged about Byron planting our orchard, I believe I promised to follow-up with a list of the trees we planted, and why.  Here it is, finally delivered!

We ordered most of our trees online from Stark Brothers, and they arrived bare root and healthy.  Some of them even started budding while we had them stored in the crawlspace, and a couple days ago Byron said that all the trees (which are now planted) have budded except one or two that looked like they were ready to do so any day. 

If you plant fruit trees, here are a few tips:
1. Order trees that do well in your planting zone.  Stark Brothers allows you to type in your zip code, then they mark trees that will work for you.
2. Stagger ripening times so you aren't overwhelmed; in other words, you don't want everything ripening the third week of August or whatever.
3. Consider buying hardy varieties, especially if you don't want to use conventional pesticides.
4. Make sure you plant trees that either self-pollinate or that are compatible pollinators.  Stark Brothers had a handy chart at the end of their growing guide, or their customer service is helpful in determining trees that do well together.
5. Most fruit trees come in dwarf (10'), semi-dwarf (15'), and standard (15'-20') varieties.  Though we ended up planting some standard height trees, we're planning of getting a pair of good pruners so that we can keep heights manageable. 

So without further ado...

Apple Trees
Granny Smith: These are pretty conventional and don't have top disease resistance, but we love them and decided to give them a try.
Pink Lady: Planted these for the same reason as the Granny Smith.
Enterprise Apple: Good disease resistance and keeps well.
Empire Apple: Good flavor and disease resistance.
Jonafree Apple: Productive, less acidic than Jonathan, better disease resistance.
Gold Rush Apple: This one was marketed as ideal for organic growers and is apparently great for pies.

Peach/Nectarine Trees
Intrepid Peach: Disease resistant, frost hardy, and free-stone (good to consider if you can peaches).
Redhaven Peach: Cold-hardy and disease resistant; also free-stone.
Early White Giant: Semi-freestone and easy to care for.  I chose this to stagger the harvest and because we may want to sell fruit at some point, and white peaches can sometimes be hard to find at the store.
Hardied Nectarine: Cold hardy, disease resistant, and it sounded like fun.

Stark Gold Sweet Cherry: Cold hardy and apparently birds don't bother gold cherries!
Blackgold Sweet Cherry: Frost and disease resistant; fruit is crack-resistant.

Already Planted...
Two very old Asian pear trees:  I'm not a big fan of these when they're canned, but they're pretty good fresh.
Orient and Keiffer Pear (found on sale and planted last summer)
Damson Plum (found on sale and planted last summer)
Elberta Peach (found on sale and planted last summer)

Most of these trees will take 3-5 years to produce, so we have to be patient.  In the meantime, I'm going to think about planting less conventional fruit, such as mulberry, paw-paw (apparently George Washington's favorite), persimmon, and maybe a nut tree that does well in our zone.  Do you have any plans to plant fruit, or are you already enjoying fruit from your property?  I'd love to know!


  1. That's a lot of trees! Hope they thrive for you :-)

  2. Oh my goodness what a great selection of fruit trees. I really like your blog and am so glad that I found it!!