Has it been your dream to grow your own fruit, but you don’t know how to start an orchard? We’re going to teach you how to start an orchard and get you on the way to growing your own food.
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How To Start An Orchard: Where To Start
Starting an orchard can feel really overwhelming, so we’re going to break down some basic’s you need to know.
Debunking home orchard myths when it comes to how to start an orchard:
- You do not need a ton of room to start an orchard.
- Growing organic fruit is not impossible.
- No, you don’t have to come from a farming background.
To start an orchard, there are a couple of things you need to figure out when you’re planning how to start an orchard:
- What kind of fruit you want to grow – decided on the type and then break it down into species you want to grow. Do research on what is the best type of fruit trees to grow in your area, it’s always going to be easier growing something that is native to your area then fighting with a tree that doesn’t like your weather (we learned this lesson with our plumbs).
- How much space does each tree require when fully grown. This will be the end decider on how many fruit trees you can put your property (you can technically squeeze them closer then is recommended but you’ll have to deal with crowding and mowing issues later.
- Most fruit trees require a pollinator to set fruit, so it’s best to plant 2-3 trees.
How To Start An Orchard: Orchard Layouts
There are multiple ways of planting fruit trees so there is no one perfect orchard layout. Find one that works best for you and your property.
Some orchard layout options include:
- Single line
- Contour or terrace
Deciding On What Type Of Fruit To Grow
The first step to deciding on what fruit to grow is deciding what trees are best for your land. Citrus require tropical or subtropical conditions while trees like sour cherries and apples require cold winters in order to thrive. Pick trees that thrive in your hardiness zone as well as the length of your growing season. Trees that have shorter growing seasons are more likely to thrive up north. While fruits that ripen later in the year (like November) will do better in southern regions of the US.
Do your research before you buy fruit trees, research the nursery and the varieties of fruit. It’s really important to buy from a reputable source. Buy your fruit trees early in the year (April – early May) if you have a short growing season, if you live somewhere with a milder winter then try buying them in the fall. Prices will vary on fruit trees depending on if they are grafted or not, and the demand in your area.
How To Plant Fruit Trees
Growers in warmer climates will want to plant their trees in the fall before the first potential frost date. If you are starting an orchard in a colder climate plant your trees in early spring so that they can get established before the cold weather arrives.
Some fruit trees are not self-fertile and will require a pollinator. They will need two sources of pollen, you will need at least two types of trees that grow a different variety of the same fruit.
Don’t plant your fruit trees right up against your home as many of them can grow pretty large and can cause issues with your home. Make sure the sight you’ll be planting has good drainage.
Fruit trees are vulnerable to damage from deer and other wildlife, so keep that in mind when planting. It can be little tricky growing fruit trees when a deer snacks on them. But you can use things like fences, or repellents to help protect them.
Follow the directions on the tag of your fruit tree to plant your tree, make sure you water well after you’ve planted your fruit trees.
How To Start An Orchard
Starting an orchard is a lot of work, but it is really rewarding! Having a successful orchard depends on good planning and healthy trees, we hope you’ve gotten you well on your way.
Before you go, check these out!