Birth Of An Orchard
Part 6.... Apples!

Dateline: 21 October 2015

(click picture for larger view)

Longtime readers of this blog will recall back in April of 2013 when I posted Birth of an Orchard: Part 1. Shortly thereafter I posted Birth of an Ochard: Part 2. In November of 2013, I posted an update with Birth of an Orchard: Part 3. Then, in September of 2014, there was Birth of an Orchard: Part 4. In May of this year I posted Birth of an Orchard: Part 5.

Now, only 2.5 years after planting my little apple orchard, I have my first crop of apples. That's the whole crop in the picture above. The 6 red apples are Black Oxford and the one yellow-green one is a Golden Russet. They are heirloom varieties. I couldn't be more pleased.

Even though I have neglected to take care of my trees as well as I had planned, they seem to be doing okay. I never expected to get any apples this soon. This is a real encouragement.

On the tree


vdeal said...


Congratulations on the apples. I've had an orchard going for several years now and it is a trying endeavor. I get a few apples every year but most of them are sub-standard. I've also gone with heirloom varieties on 80% size semi-dwarf rootstock. The trees have grown pretty well though pruning is still a bit mysterious. Some I've gotten to pretty traditional shapes and some not. Other fruits have been taxing also. Haven't had a pear yet and the peaches are spotty. I get plenty of cherries but the birds often beat me to them. I plan to do some organic dormant sprays this winter to see if that helps. I think this will be a long term challenge and wish you success also.

Thinkin' Out Loud said...

I've been trying to grow my own mini orchard with dwarf varieties (they called it the Postage Stamp Orchard)of Apples, Peaches, Pears and Cherries but so far it looks like an almost total fail. After 6 years I barely get anything out of them. I think It's time I cut them down and begin again with Heirlooms. I'm so glad yours are doing better :)

Frank and Fern said...

It's a beautiful harvest. We planted a few apple trees, among others, about five years ago and have yet to harvest anything. You're ahead of us.


Chad Butler said...

How interesting that you posted this update. Last night I was at my local library looking for a DVD for my daughter (one of the Homestead Blessings series). As I was looking at the shelf, I noticed Michael Phillips' Holistic Orchard DVD and I thought, "Hey, isn't the the DVD Herrick mentioned a few years back when he was starting his orchard?" Why, yes; it was.

Elizabeth L. Johnsoon said...

So glad for you,Herrick, for your first harvest! We've planted on benches my hubby formed on the side of our mountain, using his excavator. We plant a few each year, now have 40 fruit/nut trees. I'm so puzzled reading your reader's comments; how disappointing their crops have been. Here, we get the fruit, but bears, deer, squirrels, and birds eat plenty. Just gotta get the electric wire fence up. Also, I have found Paul Gautschi's you tube instruction (Back to Eden on pruning to be very helpful. He's an expert arborist. His trees have such tremendous loads of fruit, that now all producing limbs hang toward the ground, because of the fruit weight yearly!

Elizabeth L. Johnson said...

Johnson, actually.

Herrick Kimball said...

I'm sorry to hear of the disappointing apple tree experiences. I can relate. I planted a row of apple trees on my 1.5 acre property line shortly after buying the property decades ago. They never amounted to much and I finally cut them down to plant a row of grape vines (which have done very well).

I'm thinking that my new orchard may be doing as well as it's doing because I put a lot of effort into the planting hole. Made it big and spread the roots out.

Your comment kept me up much too late last night watching Paul Gautschi's tree pruning videos on YouTube. I bought the BackTo Eden film years ago and loaned it to someone and never saw it again.

Paul certainly does NOT prune his trees like Michael Phillips recommends. But I do like his unconventional approach. It makes sense, He's pretty comfortable hacking and sculpting his trees. Very enjoyable to watch!