Orchard Planning 2… Ugh!

In a previous post I mentioned that we would want at least 5 of each variety of tree we plan to plant in our orchard.

So now I am trying to decide how many of each fruit tree to plant, and it is proving problematic.

I created this spread sheet (work in progress) to help keep me organized, but in doing so I found out that there are any number of ways that a person/group/company/university can refer to a harvested yield of fruits. I just want to know pounds, because that is generally how consumption is statistically presented.

I needed to calculated based on the following to determine how many of each tree I would need to plant.

  1. How many pounds does the average person consume of each fruit per year?
  2. How many pounds does each tree produce per year?
    1. In our location this could be less than one harvest per year (i.e., produces only once every 5 years, etc.)
  3. How many people do we intend to feed off our trees?

I was going to create my own post that pulled together all ratios, formula, conversions, etc, since I was bouncing all over and using conversion calculators to find it myself. After about an hour, I finally found this page, from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, that gave a pretty good compilation of what I was looking for! Thank goodness!

I am now only missing a few of the more obscure fruit trees. I will probably only plant 1 -3 of those since they are not what I consider “staples”. To me, staple fruits are apples, pears, peaches, and maybe apricots, plums and cherries. Currently (and as you know, things change) I need to plant at least 8 apple trees and 9 peach trees. It seems like I could get away with just 1 of each of the other trees. To limit possible losses due to tree illnesses etc. I will probably plant 3 or 4 of each with grafted pollinators where necessary.

Currently, I never eat cherries as they are just too expensive to buy. As high as $6 per pound in some places, so I am looking forward to trying to grow my own. I think using the fruit walls that I talked about earlier will hopefully make growing much easier.

I am also learning that fruit trees don’t seem to like to pollinate with like varieties. They do best when they are cross pollinated with another variety of the same type of tree. I find this interesting but also disheartening. As far as I know, cross pollinated trees produce questionable seeds. You never know if you will get a tasty fruit off a propagated seed from a cross pollinated tree.

So, once again, this is a work in progress… heading up to the homestead property again this weekend. I hope to share the property layout soon and get some feedback on that.

If you have any helpful info on planning an orchard, please let me know in the comments section below. 🙂 I’ll take all the help I can get. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Orchard Planning 2… Ugh!

  1. There will be a Scion Exchange in January here in Sacramento as well as other places in Northern California. You can usually buy rootstock for $5 and then… get free scions to graft on! There are plenty of YouTube videos to help you learn how. I started with apples and found those had a high success rate. I’ve grafted peaches, pears, plums, almonds and paw paw. I’d be happy to help with this if you want to start some baby trees. I agree that having multiple varieties will help with pollination. You can get scions for trees that you know will handle weather on your homestead. Also you need to find out from neighbors what wildlife issues you might have. Whether it be moles or deer or wild pigs… You can lose an orchard overnight if they go on a feeding frenzy. So learning the best way to protect your orchard is also important.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I knew more about it so I could help you but I don’t. I’ve lived in the apple capital of the U.S. all my life and know next to nothing about growing apple trees. LOL go figure! Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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