Grit Blogs > Cultivating a Dream

The Fruit Tree Man

It was the dead of winter. A good foot of snow lay on the ground—the first in over a decade. Tom and I were to meet the forest management guy to look over the property and come up with a plan. Our plan included lowering the property taxes.

We’d never been to the property in the winter. Always when we traveled there, lightening bugs floated on humid summer breezes.

Although the land was bare, we planned and dreamed of what would grow on our farm. Cultivating our dream.

I longed for an orchard because there’s something romantic about it. I pictured myself walking under tall, green trees, heavy with fruit, meeting Snow White’s singing birds. I’d stop, reach up and grab a perfect peach, juicy and sweet. A bird would land on my arm. And I’d smile, knowing God and I had accomplished something extraordinary together.

A bird in a tree 

Anxious to get our orchard growing, we decided to meet a local grower to see if we could plant the trees, water them and then leave them for a few weeks or a month. 

We met the farmer at his place blanketed by snow.

A large man wearing obligatory overalls, he viewed us through the eyes of generations of farming experience. A lens that captured our ignorant enthusiasm.

“So, when you plant the trees, you dig a hole…,” I hoped for detailed information.

“Yep, you dig a big old hole.” His toothpick shifted to the other side of his mouth.

I tossed the proverbial conversation ball back in his court. “And, you water it, right?”

The toothpick shifted furiously. His eyes squinted.

“Yes, ma’am, you do water the trees.”

We’ve held off on the orchard for now. Something tells me we’re not ready for trees and holes and watering.

But one day we will be.

Soon, I hope.

What about you? We’re right in between zones in NC near the VA border. What kinds of fruit trees have worked for you? Any particular brand that holds up better than others?

valkenfarms
3/21/2016 9:09:54 AM

Good day all, I've been growing fruit for a long time...my first orchards was pre internet..just old books and a shovel :) The point is....there is so much information out there...but its is as simple as dig a hole and plant a tree....some consideration for cherries and peaches....( they like a high spot..no standing water...) Its more important to select what type of tree your growing for...dwarf semi dwarf or full size depends on the root stock gafted to the tree..the look of the trees you order is important too...a 5/8 whip is prefered tree for planting...type of production your after...Comerical orchards grow and train trees differently then permaculture.... Or homestead harvest.... It's amazing to grow a fruit tree....this spring we set an additional 25 trees...all heirloom...the main orchards will be heairloim and gafted trees from our area ...trees over 100 years old to fill the commercial orchards...we went strictly heartage/ heirloom as our farm was established in 1850....:) best place for info is a doctor Robinson...he teaches new tall spindle Apple orchards....its a great platform to start from....YouTube..:) have a great spring and enjoy the journey...


josephs
3/20/2016 5:54:40 PM

I live in Person County. We have had good success with Blueberries. i have several apple trees, but have had limited success. Seems the frost gets them one year and the next it's too dry. We get enough apples usually for our own needs, but that is all. I also have had good success with grape vines.i wish you well.


pauline hylton
2/1/2013 2:42:19 PM

Thanks for sharing that, Dave! We are thinking of beginning with 10-20 trees but are trying to learn about cross-pollination.


nebraska dave
1/29/2013 2:30:50 PM

Pauline, I would suggest you hit a reputable nursery in your area. One that really looks past the vegetable flowers and has expertise in trees and shrubs. Maybe the county extention agency can steer you in the right direction. Extention agency's have websites that are filled with great information. To find yours go to http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/local-county-center/ and click on your county. I'm really not much of a tree guy but I have many wonderful memories of the orchard that my grand parents had on their farm. Those trees of course are long gone but the memories live on. My area will support mostly apples and cherries but on any given year the last frost date will be early enough to allow the peach trees to produce their luscious fruits. It didn't happen but once every few years but when the peaches came in they were abundant. Have a great day planning your orchard. It will last a life time.