Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Planting Fruit Trees in a Georgia Backyard

Yesterday I showed you the little bean patch I dug in Georgia; today we'll look at the fruit trees I planted.

Parts of Georgia share some climate similarities with North Florida. My relatives live on the west side of the state in some rough pine land that's prone to drought. I'd say they're a pretty solid USDA Growing Zone 8, meaning it's too far north for citrus (with the exception of trifoliate orange) and it's too far south for most really good cherries, apples and pears.

Fortunately, I stock a few plants in my nursery that can handle the cold and the heat. I didn't have any higher chill-hour peach trees (mine are UF selections) and I only had one small pecan tree in stock (you need two types for pollination), so I brought two of my favorite trees: a Japanese persimmon and two Illinois Everbearing mulberries.


In the middle of the picture is the persimmon; on the left and right edges are two small mulberries. You can also see the bean bed we dug, marked off by some reclaimed blocks I found at the edge of the yard.

Here's a close-up of the persimmon in its new home:


Since I didn't have any mulch or leaves, I cut up some brush and tree limbs that were hanging over the fences from the neighbor's yards. Beneath that I put a layer of cardboard as weed block. The organic matter of this soil is really low and there's basically nothing to harvest and use in the yard, other than clippings from the grass.

Fortunately for the trees, there's also a Starbucks nearby and my youngest sister (whose car I rode up in) is a coffee addict. She picked up a bag of grounds along with her iced coffee (they provide the grounds for free as compost for gardeners: kudos to Starbucks!) and I dumped those around the trees after planting.

Here's one of the mulberry trees:


That's one of the $12.00-sized trees I sell from my nursery booth on Thursdays. Mulberries grow really quickly, so don't think this baby is going to stay small for long. My bet is that it will hit 8' by the end of next year, provided it gets enough water and doesn't mind the hard ground. The year after that, my nieces and nephew will be eating themselves purple.

Next time I go up, I hope to bring a pair of pecan trees, a fig and perhaps some chestnuts and also see if we can find a local nursery with appropriate varieties of pears, peaches and plums and maybe even some sour cherries. It all depends on how much stuff my dear sister and brother-in-law will let me jam in their yard. Hehhehheh.

If you have a backyard... why not use it to grow your own organic delicious fruit?

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