Since we moved to our little farm in 2006 we have talked about planting fruit trees. Our goal here is grow as much of our food as we can. We started with vegetables and we do grow all of the veggies that we use. Then we added the berry garden which has had it’s ups and downs; the strawberries and blackberries have done very well but the blueberries did not thrive. As an aside we are adding more blueberry plants this year and raspberries – that will be another post on another day. For today I am beyond thrilled to write that we have finally been able to start with fruit trees!
Planting Fruit Trees
We planted plum, cherry, and hazelnut trees. I am hoping that we will also be able to get apricot in this year as well. Next year will hopefully bring apple and pear. Once they all get producing we should be set for what I put up in the summer. But first, how he planted them.
The hazelnut trees were purchased from Territorial Seeds. He bought the cherry and plum trees from Caras Nursery and Garden Center in Missoula. They are a bit older and were in bloom/bud. Given that we are a bit older and not in bloom we wanted trees that would bear fruit before we died. These should give us a small harvest this summer if all goes well.
How to Plant Plum and Cherry Trees
- Dig a hole – I know that sounds pretty basic but it’s the first step. You need to dig a hole that is a little bit deeper than the root ball in the plastic tub. When you get the tree out of the pot – and that is a challenge of its own – it will be very rootbound.
- Add some peat moss and mulch to the hole
- Mix with some of the dirt from the hole and add back in. You want to add enough in so that the root ball sticks up about 2″ above the hole.
- Place the tree in the hole.
- Fill in the hole around the tree.
- Pat the dirt down with your foot and water.
Tips for Planting Cherry and Plum Trees
- Many (most) fruit and nut trees are not self pollinators so you need to buy at least two trees. It was recommended to the hubby that he buy two different varieties of each fruit so that is exactly what he did. I am sure the bees are going to be very happy to have the fruit trees and they will be very happy to help pollinate.
- Peat moss and mulch will help enrich the soil. Peat moss holds water so that will keep the roots wet and the tree happy.
- Plum trees need to be planted 15′ apart and cherry trees need 20′. Be sure you have enough space when you consider adding trees to your garden plan.
Growing Fruit Trees
I am very excited that we have added these trees and my fingers (and toes) are crossed that they take and we will be growing even more organic fruit this summer and for years to come. Last year we harvested 55 lbs of strawberries and 15 lbs of blackberries. We purchase cherries every year so I have them for baking and for freezing. It will be nice to eventually be able to harvest our own.
There is so much to be done with fruit from baking a fruit pie to making jam to just freezing it for use all winter long. Not to mention the taste of a freshly picked cherry/plum/strawberry still warm from the sun. Nothing can beat that!