Fall is for planting….. Fruit

September 24th, 2008

A Ripe and Juicy PearFall is for planting they say, you’ll see it all over when you go to the nursery or look at mail order catalogs, and why? Well, despite anecdotes about Spring showers, Fall actually has more rainfall AND the ground is also warm. Which all told makes it a good time to plant something, especially trees and shrubs.

As I sit here eating an amazing pear from my garden (despite recent wounds to my pear tree) my advice to you is to plant fruit.

It isn’t just because fruit trees save you money in the long run with free produce. But you simply get a better quality item than what you buy in the store. See, for many types of fruit, letting it ripen on the tree makes it infinitely better. Fully ripe fruit though spoils quickly and bruises easily and so doesn’t ship well, meaning, you can’t get it at the supermarket.

I leave my pears on my tree until they’ve turned a little yellow, and most importantly, their flesh gives when I poke a finger at them. At this point they’re perfectly ripe, and a dream to eat. They’ll last at most a day or two on the counter before they are overripe, but man are they good. Canned pears are of course good because they are seeped in heavy syrup. Imagine if you will, a pear that has that syrup on the inside, that is what you get when you leave them to ripen on the tree.

Pears are of course not the only fruit (or veggies for that matter) that tastes better when left to ripen on the tree or plant. Most fruits become sweeter this way, for particulars I’ve heard very good things about apricots.

Now, you don’t need a big yard or a big wallet to plant a fruit tree. I remember a conversation with my Dad a couple years ago where he said he thought fruit trees cost $200 each, no, they don’t. I was just at Home Depot and they had them for $12.99, and these are 5-6 feet tall, and could likely bear lots fruit in 3 years (my pear tree originally came from Lowes, I paid like $18 for it, I planted it in the Spring of 2004. In 2005 I got like 1 pear, in 2006 like 5, this year I got like 40). Some will tell you to pick immature fruit off younger trees to help them grow bigger, this is true if you’re running a commercial orchard. For the backyard gardener though, you don’t necessarily want your tree to grow brigger, and so let those fruits ripen and eat them.

And yes, you can keep a fruit tree small. Now your Lowes or Home Depot or even typical garden centers may not have a huge selection of dwarf or semi-dwarf hybrids, but they’re out there. My favorite source for fruit trees is StarkBros.com they have a huge variety, they send good plants, and most importantly, they have dwarves and semi-dwarves of nearly every type of fruit. If you have four square feet of garden you can grow a dwarf fruit tree believe it or not. They really don’t require a lot of room.

Another complaint is that fruit trees are messy, well, yes, they drop bad fruit, much of which will be destroyed by critters and inedible. Get yourself a compost tumbler or compost bin for all that extra stuff, or just feed it to the wildlife. We have a big old fat groundhog that lives under our shed and eats our pears. Which is fine by me, better him than something else. He’ll grab a pear and it it like a human eats corn on the cob, its amusing to watch.

For the record, I have a relatively small yard, and I have… 1 pear tree, 1 apple tree, 1 cherry tree, 2 grape vines, 2 hardy kiwi vines, a raspberry patch, a strawberry patch, a blueberry patch, and an asparagus patch (thats just in and around my ornamentals, that doesn’t even count my vegetable garden). Plus, I’ve ordered a dwarf apricot from Stark’s for planting next Spring. You don’t need a lot of room for these.

9 Responses to “Fall is for planting….. Fruit”

  1. Shady Gardener  Says:

    I am terribly impressed by your fruit trees, vines, and plants!! I’m not sure so much would grow here… but perhaps one apple tree!!! (I’ll have to discuss that with #1 hubby!) 😉

    (We do need to replant a tree in the front yard this fall!)

  2. Administrator  Says:

    gosh I just realized I had a typo in the post causing half of it to be hidden. Heh… everyone who read it today probably thought I had a stroke halfway through writing it.

  3. M. D. Vaden of Oregon  Says:

    Just waking up with a cup of coffee and stumbled on your page.

    Now your photo and topic has me thinking of adding a pear to our new yard.

    We replaced our deck stairs with a long ramp to the upper back yard, and I planted apple tree so we can reach out and pick the fruit. Have room on the opposite side for a pear or two.


    M. D. Vaden of Oregon

  4. James Mann  Says:

    When I was a kid growing up on the farm we had plenty of apple trees. I used to sit up in the trees and eat them until I was ready to explode.

    Our closest neighbour, where my best friend lived, had a few Pear trees. I remember one of their old pear trees was huge and the trunk was split almost to the ground, from a lightning strike, but still produced year after year.

    I didn’t plant any fruit trees yet but just a couple of days ago I planted a couple of Maple trees.

    My grandfather planted maple trees on the old family home property here in New Brunswick but I never got to see them from the time I was 5 and put into foster care, until I was in my mid 20s.

    They were huge trees by the time I saw them for the second time. It will be fun to watch the ones I have planted grow year after year.

  5. Finny  Says:

    Oh! Thanks for this post! I have been meaning to order my apple tree, but had forgotten. Now a new little Gravenstein is on its way to my house 🙂

  6. Scott Mann  Says:

    Next year we are going to begin investing in fruit production. We have been interested in a large variety as possible and your mention of Hardy Kiwi peaked my interest.

    What is your hardiness zone and how are the Kiwi doing?

  7. Administrator  Says:

    I got the Kiwi in I think 2004, maybe 2005, it hasn’t fruited yet, but it grows like crazy. I’m here in zone 5. It does get nipped by late frosts, that sets it back, and may inhibit flower production (I honestly don’t know, but I don’t think so because rarely does the entire vine get nipped and I haven’t had flowers yet anywhere).

    I got the standard hardy kiwi. There is a variety called “Michigan State” developed at MSU, which is about a mile from my house. Had I known this before I would have gotten that variety, but I did not learn until the vines were well established. Anyways, it is supposed to be more cold hardy than the standard.

    It is definitely a very vigorous vine, with attractive foliage. Pruning is the same as for grapes (or so I’ve read). The only issue is you need a male and a female vine.

  8. Randy Branson  Says:

    I have an unknown type of pear tree I’ve had growing for several years (it was an Arbor Day Feebie from our township). It produces medium sized pears of odd shape (not pear-shaped at all, more like an oblong apple). The pears are very hard even if left on the tree until it falls off on its own. They have a sort of tart applish flavor and are “grainy” in texture. We do have an apple tree (from the same Arbor Day source) that produces small tart splotchy colored apples. My pear tree seems to suffer by what a friend called “pear blight” each year where many of the limbs will have black leaves that fall off.

    What, if anyting can I do to get rid of the “blight”. We were told to spray a mix of chlorox and water on the tree to kill the blight, but that did nothing but ruin my blue jeans.

    Is there anything we can do to soften the pairs? Could it be cross-pollenating with the apple tree?


  9. Cecile eCHEGOYEN  Says:

    I have some fruit trees that are producing already, but would like to help them and me do a better job. For example, I have a green apple tree and it is full of fruit right now, butthe fruit is not very large. I tried to thin as much as I could to help the fruit, but is that enough?

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