I encountered this forum looking for something else the other day and thought this might be a great place to find knowledgeable people about some "problems" I am trying to solve in my yard. (not the bad kind of problems but I can't think of a better word...) Even though my yard is tiny and may not really qualify as "permaculture" I try to grow in a soil conscious mostly sustainable way (ie by feeding the dirt right instead of using chemicals.)
The one I'd most like to get started on, since it will take years to pay off, is to see if I can grow a nectarine. They are my favorite pit fruit and one of my favorites everywhere, but I don't have space for a full sized fruit tree. In my daydreams I could grow one espaliered (probably fan shape from what I have read about training nectarines) against the outside of the south facing kitchen wall in a strip of dirt (currently sandy and slightly rocky but mulched with straw) probably 2-3 feet wide before it hits the sidewalk (on the other side of the sidewalk is more mulched sandy soil that has some food plants and some flowers in it). I would guess it is maybe 15' to the roofline there tops.
My first question is whether this is even enough space to grow a dwarf variety of nectarine. Other questions would be, what variety / rootstock / if it can be self pollinated, and any other concerns I haven't thought of but would need to address before I plant a tree. Ideally I'd get a variety I could at least taste test at farmers market or local orchard but it's not strictly necessary.
To the degree that it matters I live in West Michigan right on the boundary line of zone 6 and zone 5 due to proximity to the lake. I often have sheltered tender perennials sold as annuals come back for another year but absolutely get plenty of snow and not infrequently bitter cold.
In a space that size you might want to consider treating the tree to espalier (pruning the branches so the tree hugs the fence line and is flat against the fence line.
Your nurseryman should be able to help you select a good variety for your space and location on planet earth..
A dwarf or semi-dwarf will probably be a best choice, the nursery will have these on the correct root stock for your location.
Many of the dwarf/ semi-dwarf nectarines are self pollenating but again your nurseryman should know and be ready to help you with selecting the perfect fit.
Nectarines are not a big tree so it should fit in your space very easily. Because we have a severe peach leaf curl problem here I need to keep mine covered so it is in a high tunnel made from portable garage frames. It is in the middle between it's sister peach trees. all three are the product of seeds in the compost. They have to be pruned back anyway to keep the branches from getting too long and breaking under the weight of the fruit. New growth is long and flexible so could easily be tied to a cattle panel