Orchard Owners

We always had fruit trees growing in my yard when I was a kid, and I have fond memories of eating the small, green apples off of the trees and puckering my lips at the sourness. We also spent many a weekend in the summer at my parent’s cabin in Door County, where they have cherry and apple orchards in abundance. I’ve always dreamed of having enough yard to grow a few fruit trees of my own; little did I know that I would someday have enough space to put in a small orchard in the back section of my lawn.

Peaches are my favorite fruit, and I’d seen some Milwaukee gardeners have good results with the “Reliance” variety, so that was first on my list to order. Jason also enjoys making jam and plum salsa from the plums that grow in Door County, so I also placed an order for an Ozark plum. The company that we ordered from sent along a blackberry bramble for free, as well! That was a nice surprise.

I ordered the smallest size they have available, to keep costs down. I’m willing to be very patient and wait a few years for the little twigs to grow up. They came in the mail on Friday and Jason and I put them all in the ground on Saturday.

I’m glad Boo was on hand to help! It was a lot of work digging up our clay soil, removing rocks, mixing in leaf mulch and topsoil, and filling the holes back in. It would have taken me all day! Plus, it was something fun and special that we got to do together. Nothing gives you the same kind of hope that planting a tree does.

Some people have expressed curiosity about our choosing to plant the trees in the fall. After doing some research, I learned that very young trees stand an even if not better chance of surviving if they’re planted in the fall, after they’ve gone dormant but before the ground freezes. I estimate that we have a few more weeks before the ground is totally frozen, and this will give the tiny trees a chance to root themselves and be more established when the weather warms up. Believe it or not, too much heat too early in the year is worse for a tree than the cold!

I know there’s a chance that none of these little guys can make it, and I’m mostly OK with that. Experience is such an intense teacher in the homesteading world – if our trees die, we’ll try again until we get it right. It helps that we ordered the smallest size and didn’t spend a ton of money to get them here.

It’s a good thing I’m so busy throughout the year with other parts of the edible garden – hopefully, the day that I eat my first homegrown peach will sneak up on me!


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