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fruit orchard

 
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This is my first visit. I have always dreamed about having a fruit orchard. Sixteen years ago, I bought 1.33 acres near Annapolis, Md. Since then ...over the years... I have planted 24 fruit trees, 35 blackberries, and various other fruits. So far, not much fruit. Maybe 2-3 gallons of blueberries (I put them into old water jugs so that is how I measure them). Cherries (7 trees) grow well but seem to provide fruit mostly for squirrels. Peaches (3 trees) disappear overnight ...again squirrels. Pears (4 trees) ...very stubborn at producing fruit even after sixteen years. Apples (10 trees) are still growing I guess since each tree only produces 3-4 apples a year. When I started, this was something I planned while I worked as an accountant. But I retired last year (FINALLY!) and I still have dreams of having a fruit orchard. By the way, I also built an underground concrete cold-cellar which my wife calls a "bomb shelter" since we have not had enough fruit to store. So I am looking to buy land somewhere within 200 miles where I can really produce fruit. Any ideas? Anyone know of an old orchard for sale?  I think my problem here is that you need a lot more sun than we have (we get about 6 hours of sun a day). So either I cut down a lot more trees....we cut down about thirty oak and holly trees when I first started.... or find a space that is more open. Comments would be welcome
 
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Location: Fort Worth, TX 76179
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hugelkultur purity forest garden
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Pictures of your setup would help diagnose the issue.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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forest garden solar
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When not even blackberries are doing well, and only blueberry give a bit of produce.
I start wondering about water and pH level.
 
S Bengi
pollinator
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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forest garden solar
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You need 60ft of open space between your tall oak tree and your closest fruit tree.

So lets say you have a 200ft by 200ft lot.
If the 1st 100ft is filled with oaks/etc to the south, then you have a 60ft buffer you will only have 40ft left to actually plant fruit trees.
So now all we have left is just two or three rows of fruit trees.
50% oak
25% buffer/pasture/leafy-greens
25% orchard/foodforest

Or you could just cut down all the oak/holly and just do a tiny 1 acre orchard/foodforest.
 
gardener
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forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike
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I also had the dream of having an orchard more than 40 years ago when I saw one, and said, "Wow". They get great fruit all year for free!

Now I have had one for about 20 years.  

S Bengi has a good point-grow them in the sun, not too close to another tree.  Are you checking soil and drainage?

Fruit are generally considered easier to grow in the summer-dry West than in the summer rain and humidity East.  Vegetables would be easier, I think.  

I would start with fruit that would be easier for you back there.  I think American persimmons and pawpaws are both native.  Do you like them? THey should be easy to grow there.  What about beach plums?

What about American red mulberry? Illinois Everbearing might be a good variety.

In Maryland, you might even be able to grow Asian persimmons, probably the most popular fruit in the world.

Stone fruit are said to be quite difficult back East.  

Montmorency pie cherries are about the easiest and most productive stone fruit, and squirrels and birds don't eat all of them.

Sweet cherries are great to grow-if you want to feed birds on a 50 foot tree.

Pears often get diseases in that climate.  

What about melons?

John S
PDX OR
 
pollinator
Posts: 1090
Location: Victoria BC
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In my experience, 'mother natures share' of a reasonably sized crop of anything yummy is often 100%. I assume I will have to grow several times a reasonable amount to saturate the wildlife long enough to get some for myself... an Achilles heel of diversity, in a way...
 
John Suavecito
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Dillon
I think that has a lot to do with where you live-city, suburb, country, wilderness.

I live in a suburb and i get so many apples that I'm still eating them one year after I pick them from a normal suburban yard.  I eat from my yard every day of the year, and there are a lot of people who are doing way better than I am.

I live in your general climate region.

There are many useful strategies, but I wouldn't say that Mother Nature gets anywhere near 100% of what I grow.  

If that's what you want-cool.

BUt that's not what I want.  I want to contribute to pollinators and the ecosystem, but also to get a share for my family.

Permies.com is a lot about sharing ideas that might work for others and adapting them to your situation.

John S
PDX OR
 
William Sharek
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Thank you for the replies. In short, I am just grateful that we have what we have (sunny 1.3 acres overlooking the river)...and the 25 trees that we already planted are still alive.
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Hey, sticks and stones baby. And maybe a wee mention of my stuff:
Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp
https://permies.com/t/119676/permaculture-projects/Dave-Burton-Boot-Adventures-Wheaton
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