This year, like every year, I caved in to the desire to buy more plants, edible plants. I believed that between the time I ordered them and the time they arrived for their dormant season planting, new sunny places in my yard would appear to welcome them. There would be a special dimension, a wrinkle in the earth, or some inexplicable expansion to accommodate them.
They arrived a week ago, deceptively compact in two small boxes. I had spots picked out for a few of them. The rest would have to wait for a miracle.
However, the miracle had already happened. I discovered a planting method (after I’d already ordered way too many fruit trees) that promises to help me and other magical thinkers like me. I ran across Dave Wilson Nursery’s Backyard Orchard Culture method. I won’t go into it in detail here because it is handled very clearly on the website, but the gist of it is that I can plant my trees more closely together than the recommended distances. I can do that because I am a backyard orchardist (at best) and not a commercial orchardist. I don’t need to get a tractor between my rows and don’t even need rows. I also don’t need to get the maximum yield from each of my trees because I’m not trying to run a business, just trying to get some nice fruit out of my yard.
I also don’t have to let the trees get as big as they can. I decide how big I want them to get and keep them pruned accordingly.
There’s a lot more to this method and a lot of information on the site. I’ve never bought any plants from their nursery, just enjoyed the free information and the permission to mold my trees to fit my needs, not the needs of an arbitrary, commercial-production-oriented guideline.
All the trees have found homes. They are squished; they are very squished in some cases, but that’s they way it has to be in my yard and time will tell if it’s going to work. Among others, I have two asian pears about 18 inches apart, two plums in the same hole, and two persimmons fewer than ten feet apart. And so be it.