I am now the proud owner of a whole bunch of fruit trees.
We already had productive apple trees on the property which probably should be pruned more aggressively. Kelly has since planted pawpaws and has her garden. I haven’t had pawpaws in forever. They sometimes, but rarely, will show up in the farmers markets and they’re usually expensive as sin. The death of the traditional farmers market is a whole other post, but suffice to say there isn’t one around here that isn’t a supermarket without a storefront. This can be good, health regulations and all that, but it can be bad too since the more exotic stuff now is on a friends-only basis. New Jersey (ugh) is the last state to really entertain the roadside stand, but you can go out to Gilbertsville and visit Zerns Flea Market. The West Chester Farmers Market tends to be crap and it’s typically a victim of the fact it’s not permanent.
Home Depot’s garden club had sent out coupons for buy-one-get-one trees. For expensive trees, like Japanese Maples, this could be a steal. However I have very little use for maple trees – they occur naturally in our flower beds and we’ve got two seedlings I’ll probably transplant into the woods when I get bored and it’s less wet. I had considered trying to terraform the woods with a weeping willow. I figured it would dry the ground out but the likelihood of this is slim to none. Also being a park back there I don’t want to put expensive trees outside the property line.
Kelly and I went there last night on a whim since the coupon was about to expire and found out most of the trees had been picked over. Left were a few apple trees, a few peaches, nectarines and “fruit cocktail” trees. Home Depot does a decent job of labeling what is self pollinating and what is not self pollinating. But here’s the cool part – the apple, peach and pear trees are not self pollinating, but both the “fruit cocktail” trees and more importantly the nectarines are graft trees and thus are self pollinating. We grabbed a nectarine and a fruit cocktail tree, which turned out to be three types of pears. The self pollinating thing is a boon or a bust. It’s great value for the money (buy one “tree” instead of two) but it also means half the area for producing fruit as two trees = twice the fruit. We own enough land to make use of these but I also want to grow other stuff (like peaches) so buying the grafts isn’t a bad idea.
Grafting isn’t hard, but the official forestry guide doesn’t make it look easy. I actually plan on growing a lemon tree and grafting another lemon tree to it, both to speed production and make it self pollinating. Lemons, like oranges and grapefruits, typically take 15 years to fruit. Then again maybe I’ll just say F-it and pay for a fruit cocktail tree of lemons, grapefruits and oranges. At the rate we’re going, I’m going to retire and become a farmer.