Before we bought our property one of the goals we set ourselves was to have an orchard with 100 trees – a nice round number selected for no other reason than we thought that would be enough to sustain us and provide plenty of fruit and nuts to share, barter, exchange and sell in the future. This was based on no more than selection of a round number! But it does sound nice to say we have a one hundred tree orchard.
Well we don’t have a one hundred tree orchard – yet. We have started selecting and planting trees of fruits that we like. I can’t see any point growing anything I won’t eat, except if it has a value to other people that I can exchange or barter with, or if it provides some other value to the orchard, the environment, the wildlife or livestock.
So far we have planted 28 trees – a good start to our future food security. We have put in several different varieties of apples, some which just can’t be bought in shops like Gravenstein and Summer Strawberry and others which are just plain better eaten fresh from the tree like Fuji, JohnoGold , Pink Lady and Granny Smith. We have selected heritage peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, cherries and a white fig.
Sounds like we will have plenty of fruit – and yet there are still many others we think we want:
- citrus like oranges, mandarins, lemons and limes
- apricot trees (yes that’s plural who doesn’t love homemade apricot jam or dried apricots?)
- at least one feijoa (great eating straight from the tree while out working in the orchard)
- cashews (not sure if they grow in our climate or not, but worth at least investigating)
- a banana palm
- avocado – at least two varieties
We were fortunate enough to be given 10 trees by a relative so this has boosted our orchard numbers significantly and I am still trying to comprehend the size of this gift. While they just look like small sticks in pots at the moment, we hope they will someday be large, fruit bearing trees which will feed us for many years to come – that is not a gift someone gives you every day!
And so it’s back to the catalogues to decide what to purchase next and what to consider for next year as well, and while we don’t have the harvest yet we will enjoy the promise of fresh, juicy summer fruits while we plan the next phase. What would you plant in a 100 tree orchard?