Eben’s Solar Food Drying Blog — Winter 2014

Success with Fruit Trees!

If done right, fruit trees can be one of the easiest and best ways to grow your own food. I have grown various fruit trees for over 20 years. Here are some tips to make starting your backyard orchard easy and rewarding…

Planting Time

Winter (January through March) is the time to plant a fruit tree. Most are sold “bare root,” and should be planted while they are still dormant. At around $20, they are an incredible value. A good fruit tree will provide decades of delicious, nutritious fruit with very little effort on your part. The abundant fruit is perfect for solar drying, so you can enjoy your fruit all year long.

Selecting the Right Varieties

If you are wondering which variety to get, here are some suggestions from someone who has already made all the mistakes! First, select a variety that matches your climate and won’t be hurt by your coldest winter temperatures. Second, get a disease resistant variety. Many of the popular commercial fruit varieties like Braeburn and Golden Delicious can only be produced with lots of chemical spraying. Fruit trees can get many diseases that will cripple your tree, shorten its life, of just kill it all together. If you get a tree that is disease and pest resistant, it will have a long life and you can enjoy a great bounty without any chemicals. My suggestion is to start your fruit orchard with a Liberty Apple (see photo). It’s a very tasty, highly disease resistant, long-storing apple. A list of disease-resistant apples and other fruit varieties can be found here: http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-30-W.pdf.


Most fruit trees are grafted onto a rootstock. A disease-resistant rootstock is also important. Some rootstocks are also drought resistant and cold tolerant. Some are able to tolerate wet and clay soils. A semi-dwarf rootstock will be the best choice for most people, but select a dwarf rootstock if you have very limited space, or want to plant multiple fruit trees close together. Start by visiting your local nursery and asking for recommendations.

Learn More

You can learn more about fruit trees at:

Home Orchard Society http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/
or on the GardenWeb forum http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/fruit/

Happy solar food drying!


Copyright ©2014 by Eben Fodor


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