I understand, in my bones, more and more why winter is the time of planning your planting with seed and nursery catalogues. There just isn’t enough time to come up with, detail and plan the current year’s garden when spring is sprinting amuck directly ahead of you.
So when, sometime after Easter, I decided a good segment of the back yard should be converted into a dwarf fruit and nut tree orchard, the possibility of getting even half the intended orchard underway was slim. Planting anything would be a significant achievement.
Then our dog of 13 years, now 15 years old, passed away, and a push to get something planted, or at least enough planning done to get a memorial tree growing in Rocky’s memory, encouraged making some of the plan decisions so the placement of his tree would fit in with the rest of the landscape and the orchard.
Money was the biggest obstacle. A tour of three area nurseries led to the possibility of some $120 trees on sale for $90. But follow-up two days later discovered the trees we really wanted were $270 and $450 , way beyond budget. Then we returned to Antioch Urban Growers, and Max Samborski’s suggestion to begin by thinking root stock.
So we wended out of Antioch Urban Growers with two dwarf apple rootstock and two pear rootstock. $35 each.
Next spring, or the spring after, we will take charge of the then established root stock to graft prunings of our own choosing to the trees to create our own unique single or multi bear tree.
My hubris is already envisioning taking prunings from my family homestead in Caton New York to get branches from the Jonathan Apple I was given as a child, the Golden Delicious given to my sister, and the Greening my father planted for himself. These I hope to blend into Rocky’s tree to make it a family heirloom tree in his honor.
My current overall orchard vision includes Apple, Pear, Plum, Cherry (already have three oversized sour tasting sweet cherry dwarf trees), hazelnut, Meyer Lemon, and Banana Tree (latter 2 in containers moved to greenhouse for winter.)
With the exception of the cherries the first harvest of fruit is probably 2 years away.
Plenty of time, if I relax and breathe the pace of an orchard into my life.