we planted an orchard

We are very busy getting the veggie operation off the ground, but orchards take such a long time to establish that we decided it was worth the extra time this year getting it started.  We went to Native Landscaping and got 1 Red Bartlett Pear, 1 Dwarf Keiffer Pear, 1 Black Tartarian Cherry (sweet), 1 Montmorency Cherry (sour, self-fertile), 1 Liberty Apple, and 2 Macoun Apples.  They are all dwarf/semi-dwarf, except one apple that gives the dimensions as “as pruned.”  The black cherry is old enough that it should give fruit this year.  The others are all borderline but will hopefully give a small harvest.

We tried to get 2 of each kind of fruit so they can pollinate each other.  Internet research can be contradictory on which varieties are good for pollinating which others, but it seems like we did all right.

Planting involved digging holes (bigger than you’d expect); putting a pyramid of mixed topsoil and compost in the bottom; planting/watering; mulching.  We were thinking about staking but didn’t.  It was raining and getting dark.  We had enough old wire fencing lying around to make mini fences to protect 2 of them from deer.  The others will have to fend for themselves until we can put up a real deer fence, though if it seems like there will be a problem we can drape some loose deer netting over them.

Apples can pollinate each other and should both be ready to harvest mid-September.  Black Tartarians fruit early, usually late June.  It should have another sweet cherry to pollinate it.  I’ve ordered an extra dwarf (gets only 6 feet high!!!) Bing cherry from Miller Nurseries – I hope it gets here soon.  The Montmorency bears early too – early July.  It is self-fertile, but bears better with cross pollination.  (Did find a chart online that says they Black Tartarian and Montmorency can pollinate each other… if bloom times are close enough it should work!)  The pears are a good match for each other (late season – fruit in October).

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