Home orchard plan - sun, space, varieties

gwlolo(9b/ Sunset 15)July 25, 2013

I am planning what to plant in my backyard orchard. I am in San Francisco bay area and have a decent sized lot but some shade. Summertime average highs are 80 degrees in July, Aug, Sep with a few 90s and 100s. Average winter lows are 38, 39 in Dec, Jan. Hardly any summer rain to speak of. Mid-May to late sep is pretty dry. Ideally I would like to invest in larger container sizes so that I don't have to wait for fruiting. I would also like to try multi-grafted and larger espaliers if I can find them. I would love some feedback on my choices, ideas on where to order etc.

Avocado - Holiday. I read that this lasts on the tree and has larger fruit on smaller trees. Any sources?

Apple - I am smitten with Pink pearl which is pink fleshed and Rubaiyat which is red fleshed and only available as a bench graft from green mantle

Fig - Violette de bordeaux

Plum - DH loves plums and would really like a rich red fleshed variety that ripens to be super juicy (the kind you need to eat over the sink :). Any recommendations?

Pear - I love seckel pears and would also like to try warren pears. Can I get these multi-grafted?

Manadarin - We have a golden nugget and I would like a Kishu. Any idea where I can order a larger size container?

Cherry - My daughter loves cherry and I would like to get a multi-grafted variety that includes some rainier type.

Grape - We love muscat type varieties. Are the seedless muscats flavorful? Also thought it would be interesting to grow a wine grape like zinfendel or a champagne grape. Not sure if I have enough heat for that.

Banana - I love the leaves and would like some fruit. Is there a variety that will do reasonably well for me?

Guava - Again can I possibly grow any red fleshed or white fleshed varieties?

Sapote - We love the brown fleshed varieties from south asia. If I plant, will I get some fruit?

Berries - Prefer thornless. I would like an extended Black berry and raspberry season. What varieties would work best?

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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

The apple, pear, plum, and cherry will most likely need pollinators (don't know about the others). I suggest you add peach to your list. Most peaches are self-fertile.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 8:38PM
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gwlolo(9b/ Sunset 15)

Thanks. I already have an white peach planted by the previous owners. Any additional advice? I have been watching the Dave Wilson vids and am intrigued by their 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 planting where multiples of similar planted quite close together.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:45AM
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Make sure you check the chill requirements for the berries, apples and pears.

You can try a few species banana. Some are edible, although they have seeds. Musa balbisiana, Musa "helens hybrid" and any Musa Acuminata species. Im not sure how well the commercial banana will do in 9B, and they are having virus problems with them anyways. If youre just going for looks, there are many many good species for 9b, including the giant ensetes.

Also, even if the plants are "Self fertile", additional pollenators will help increase production (although I think most peaches do ok by theselves). Even a branch grafted, like the multi grafted trees on the vids will help.

No mention of lemon, I see. A improved meyer would be nice, and not overly large either.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:13AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

You have raised a lot of good questions. To get good information to get started with few false starts, I would strongly recommend 'The Home Orchard' published by University of California in 2007, and written by the UC Davis staff. If you are in the north bay any library contains the California Master Gardener Handbook. The fruit section is written by Paul Vossen the Sonoma County farm adviser. He gives lots of local information on what fruit will do best with less problems. Al

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:11AM
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The multigraft trees can solve pollination problems. Plan ahead to place trees intended to cross-pollinate next to each other.

Methley is a juicy red-fleshed plum. You might also consider pluots.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:18AM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I'm also in the Bay Area, a bit farther north I think because our summer highs are similar but our winter lows are a bit lower. My favorite plum is the Elephant Heart, bred by Luther Burbank in this area so it does well here. I just had my first off of my new tree and it was delicious and definitely an eating over the sink variety. I also have a Santa Rosa plum, which is smaller and not quite as juicy but very flavorful and reliably productive. If you want to try multiple trees in one hole I suggest doing it with plums and pluots, because there are so many good varieties and a lot of them yield better with cross pollination.

I love my Pink Pearl apple tree, I just harvested the first batch to make into pies and my friends and family are eagerly anticipating them. They are a bit too tart for my taste for fresh eating, but the best pie apples I've ever used.

I second the recommendation for a Meyer Lemon, I wouldn't be without one. Very useful fruit, fragrant flowers, and they're evergreen.

Beware bramble fruits! Contain the roots or they will take over your yard. I'm not certain how to ensure the longest harvest, the easiest way would probably be to get a variety of summer bearing and fall bearing cultivars. Also, you should have some strawberries because they are relatively easy to grow and they start bearing sooner than most fruiting plants.

Depending on how cold your area gets you will probably have to protect the avocados and tropicals, and there might be issues with lack of summer heat for ripening. You might want to contact the California Rare Fruit Growers for advice, or just look around to see if others have had success with those plants in your area. I know it can be done, there's a guy locally who grows pineapples, but it's a lot of work for a small harvest.

Good luck on your project, I hope you have bounteous harvests in the years to come!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:18PM
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