Looking for Backyard Orchard growers in Central Ohio

OhioKimberly(6)December 17, 2012

Ohio... Ohio... O.H.I.O!
Looking for Backyard Orchard growers in Central Ohio
I live in Columbus (Central Ohio). I recently purchased a home along with the empty lot next to mine. I am planning a "city garden" including an orchard with my second lot. Space is my concern. I want to grow a variety of trees in a compact space and still allow room for an area of raised vegetable beds.
Of course I want the variety to include apples, peaches, pears and cherries. I don�t think my space allows, but I am also interested in nectarines, apricots and berries. I have just started the education process of learning about fruit trees, growing-harvest cycles and just the basics and I already lost UGH! Just looking for my trees to purchase� I am confused with the broad pricing difference and hundreds of names in my zone of 5. Does anyone have a reliable � proven nursery supplier? I imagine dwarf trees would suit me best � however the 3-and-1 and 4-and-1 trees really seem too good to be true� are they really producers? I really could use a gardening buddy!
My lot is empty - flat and has never had a structure built since 1926 records. Approx. 50 ft. wide (north- south) and 140 ft. (east & west).
Anyone have any suggestions� my paper is blank!
Columbus Ohio

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Hi Kimberly,
I'm a little to far from you up here in Ann Arbor, MI
Go Blue

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:17PM
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Welcome Kimberly,
I'm probably a couple of hours north of you. Unfortunately, I'm just learning too. But I can share a few thoughts.

1) If you can't find a local mentor, this forum is probably the single best resource. There are a number of knowledgeable and helpful members.
2) The search function doesn't work well. Seems to limit to most recent posts only. Try this. Go to google.com. In the search field type "site:gardenweb.com" (without the quotes) and then whatever search string you want. For example, on google.com, enter into the search box
site:gardenweb.com currants
site:gardenweb.com "dwarfing root stock"
3) You can grow a whole lot of fruit trees in a small space if you keep your trees small. No taller than you can reach. Dwarfing root stock helps. Then prune to keep them small. (There are ways to encourage low branching when you first plant the tree.) Makes them easier to care for. Allows you to fit more trees.
4) Check out backyard orchard culture concepts presented by davewilson.com
Good ideas about successive ripening and about keeping trees small. 4 trees in one hole may be going further than most of us need, but the ideas are helpful. Also search youtube.com for backyard orchard culture or davewilsontrees.
5) I have no experience with commercial 4-in-1 trees. From what I read, the concept is legitimate. Sounds like many of the experts on this forum routinely graft different varieties of fruit onto the same tree. But I gather that can create maintenance issues too.
6) To get the varieties I want, I've mail ordered bare root trees from nurseries recommended on this forum. I suggest that you take your time researching the varieties you want. But once you know what you want, order early in the calendar year. Nurseries take orders and sell out their stock early. They will wait to ship when the weather is more appropriate for planting.

I'm new at this too. I have only a tiny planting area. So far I'm happy with my strawberries and blueberries. Most of my other stuff is too young to bear. Because I too would appreciate a local gardening mentor, I'm sorry that I don't have more information to share. But if you can't find a local mentor, this forum is the next best thing.

Here is a link that might be useful: backyard orchard culture

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 8:51PM
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If you begin in the spring with a patch of everbearing raspberries, and put in some blueberries, you will have raspberries to harvest in the fall of 2013, and blueberries to harvest in two years or so. Fruit trees take more time to mature & produce fruit. Here in south-central Wisconsin, people are successfully growing apples, apricots, and cherries.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:38PM
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50X140 should give you fruits and vegetables for the whole family all year eventually. I would start with a fence, but there is room for a 50X30 garden, with room left for 10 to 15 trees, depending on how big you want them.

Keep in mind that the area with fruit trees will be usable for storage crops (carrots, onions, turnips, etc.) and low yield crops (melons and corn) for several years before the trees fully develop. So you can have a huge garden for the first 3-5 years. You can also cheat (and you may have to, if local regulations prevent you from building a fence), and plant a number of berry and nut bushes along the perimeter.

In my experience, drip irrigation, a fence which extends underground for one foot and has an electric wire on top, a soil test and a large load of manure right now are essential for future success. You can get the manure free on Craigslist.

Now manure and drip are far more important for vegetables than fruit, but there is nothing that prevents you from getting vigorous growth from your trees right off the bat. When they will start producing, the manure will be long gone.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 11:10PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Hi Kimberly, I live in Wadsworth, OH about 1 1/2 hour drive north, and I have a daughter in Gahanna. She just purchased a house there on a double lot and she wants some raised beds and a few peach trees. I have been gardening for 50+ years, but have only 4 years experience with my fruit orchard. This is forum is a great place to get a wealth of information, If you want to know what varieties of fruit grows sucessfully in Columbus, visit Lind orchard and check out their varieties. Probably the best reference for a backyard fruit grower is Backyard Fruit Production by David Schlabach. You can also request a catalog by calling 866-600-5203 and leaving a message. I have always received excellent bare root stock from them. Be Patient, start slowly and expect some disappointments. Most important is to enjoy and grow along with your orchard. Luke

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 7:50PM
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Hey Luke oh. Thanks for your response on my posting. (I couldn't shoot you a line... your page doesn't offer an email option).

What a small..small world. I just moved from Gahanna buying this house! I still however work in Gahanna! Your daughter sounds alot like me! Perhaps we should become gardening gals together! The double lot sold me on this house. I grew up in small-town Eastern Ohio along the river and we had several huge apple trees and always a garden. I can't wait to have a HUGE garden...the envy of my neighborhood. Thanks again... wish I had your email... I would save you in my addy book if I come across a vergetable 911 emergency! Giggle


    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:22PM
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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Kimberly, ELLEARL@aol.com

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Also keep in mind you will be battling the squirrels and chipmunks for the fruit. There is extensive conversation about them on this site.

Strawberries and raspberries are easy. start there. indianaberry.com has a good selection of small fruits. I have added about 5 fruit trees per year for the last 8 years. Also, dont buy fruit trees from Lowe's or HomeDepot. Go with bareroot trees from an online source. They have a better selection and grow better than the potted things at the big box stores. We have 3.5 acres just west of Dublin and I drive to Grandview for work. I don't have a lot of spare time because of 3 small children. But could do some emailing.

I have just about every type of fruit tree that can grow here, but they are all still small. and have not had much fruit because of frost/wind/hail. But maybe this next year will be better.

Creating 3 in 1 trees are easy. You just need to learn to graft.

I also have some mason bees(Osmia Cornifrons) I could give you if you would like.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Kimberly, I am about an hour west of you near Urbana. I have a mix of fruit trees--some I have bought, some I have produced by grafting onto rootstocks. You may want to consider fully dwarfing rootstocks. I only have a few, but B9 apples work well for me in heavy soil. 3-in-1 etc sounds good, but pruning becomes problematic. For cherries consider the new bush cherries from Canada. I would be happy to demonstrate grafting. PM me.


    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:57PM
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Hi Kimberly,

I am just north of you. I have a half acre, very wooded subivision lot that is crammed with all the fruit my husband will let me plant. (Most of my landscaping is getting replaced with ornamental bushes that fruit!)

One suggestion that I would have for you is to pick very disease resistant, low-care trees/bushes/plants. My friend who lives around the corner from me has a large planting of apples, pears, cheries, etc., but has a lot of trouble with insects and disease.

There are definitely varieties of apples and pears that are easier to grow than others due to disease resistance. Sweet cherries are going to be tough without a lot of spraying. I have two Carmine Jewel cherry bushes that are more like pie cherries but only get 6 feet tall, so they can be netted. Birds and especially squirrels are a big problem here.

If I had your space, I would definitely do the cane fruits - Navaho and Triple Crown blackberries, Caroline red raspberries, Jewell black raspberries, etc. Easy - and if you net them, you will get to eat them.

Some unusual and low care fruit trees you might consider are American Persimmon - Yates is supposed to be delicious and productive without a male. I am going to plant a Nikita's Gift hybrid persimmon in the spring. Also, an Illinois Everbearing mulberry gets lots of good reviews on this forum. The animals are the only thing you will have to fight for those trees. Both persimmons and mulberries are extremely nutritious, too.

Good luck and have fun!

Mary Kay

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 12:38PM
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Hi Kimberly! Check out the Food4Wealth garden plot & fruit farm. I just moved (NE OH) and am planning a 15'x15' raised bed Food4Wealth fruit garden. No digging, just layers of newspaper, lucerne hay (which I hope I can find locally), rich organic fertilizer (manure & animal byproduct), regular hay, and compost. There are 3 pathways, 1 foot wide, and 4 growing beds that are 3 feet wide. In each of the growing beds you plant 3 different types of fruiting plants that will form a 3 tiered garden. Ground cover, 1st level, strawberries, cranberries, lingonberries; middle level, bramble berries, kiwi, loganberries, passion fruit; and the upper level, dwarf fruit & nut trees - room for 12 trees! Next comes the 15'x15' vegetable garden. Thanks everyone for all of the great info above!!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2015 at 1:07AM
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Hello Kimberly, I am in the Columbus area also. I have planted 4 dwarf apples, a North Star cherry, couple of bush Carmine Jewel cherries, & native plum but have no fruit yet. Deer have been an enormous problem for me even though I am right in the middle of a suburb -- they have eaten the branches of my young trees right off. I finally caged them (the trees, not the deer).

I took a year to amend the soil and raise the planting beds because I live in an area with a high water table and poor drainage. I've read about Hugelkulture beds and I'm thinking about trying that for my next raised bed.

I have had good success with strawberries, blueberries, and quince. It took me several attempts with blueberries before I realized that they have to be grown in pots in this area. It is too hard to keep the soil acid enough for them long term otherwise. They winter over just fine -- I bank leaves, straw or whatever around the pots for protection. Also of course I have to have netting over and around them to protect the blueberries and strawberries from birds and raccoons.

I envy you your extra lot!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 8:32PM
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