The Orchard – Part 2

Welcome back to So You Want To Grow Fruit. Or, so this girl here wants to grow fruit.

If you need a recap, I think you can figure it out with the tools at hand on your web browser. So we’ll just jump right in.


I don’t actually eat a lot of plums. Yet. Yet? But I start shopping the plum section at Raintree Nursery and it’s really hard to just pick one. And when you preserve, like I do, some of the maybenotsointeresting plums suddenly have their own allure. So…let’s see what I can come up with.

European Plums. They are better keepers and used more in preserves: drying, canning. Gage and Damson are both names that float around. So right off the bat I like the Blues Jam Damson varietal and the Cambridge Gage. One of each good sir. And then, between the 3 Mirabelle types (Mirabelle de Metz, Parfume de September and Geneva Mirabelle) I like I think I like the last one best: “A superb tasting, small yellow plum with yellow flesh and red dots on the skin. Incredibly productive. Great for tarts, compotes, canning, jam, eating fresh or prized for brandy.”

Asian Plums. “Easy to grow and so precocious that they often fruit in the nursery row.” Precocious plums.You and I are both lucky that Raintree has fewer Asian plums. Hollywood and Weeping Santa Rosa are both self-fertile. With its weeping habit, I would take two of the Santa Rosa and use them in my landscaping. The nice thing about pollination is that the trees need not be right next to each other to make it all happen. Just within a bee’s flight.

There is the difference between growing fruits for canning, for storing and for snacking/using. The Weeping Santa Rosa doesn’t provide as much fruit as some of the other trees I’ve mentioned—but that simply makes it a tree more for eating fresh and enjoying-in-the-moment.  And that’s okay.


Given the lack of peaches in my little orchard, I suppose I should jump on first runner-up, the nectarine. I vote Red Raspberry for it’s unique factor: “A rare nectarine with rich red flesh reminiscent of the old “Indian Red” peaches…Small to medium sized fruit has dark burgundy skin with flesh streaked in red and a juicy, melting texture. The flavor is unique: rich and complex, very sweet but with a pleasant tartness similar to raspberry.”


Quince are something I’ve always wanted to work with. And maybe, as soon as this year, I’ll be able to. I have one tree on order. Honestly, I don’t even remember which cultivar I landed on. Even now, looking through them it’s pretty much a toss-up between Ekmek, Havran Turkish and Aromatnaya Russian. Quince—the fruit few people give a hoot about. I am not even sure if I would want/need more than one. Clearly I am not very solid on this idea. My one quince can become friends with my one nectarine.


Why not? Well, for one, they aren’t very hardy. 10°F.
We don’t get that cold that often, but we could.
So my solution is to plant them as foundation plantings i.e., near the house (or other outbuilding). And to stack the deck in my favor, I’d select either the Nordland or the Chicago fig. Cold places = hardier figs. One of each and they can duke it out for Homestead’s Best Fig.

All in all, that’s a lot of fruit. Tree count: 6 apple, 6 plum, 4 pear, 2 fig, 1 nectarine and 1 quince. Twenty! Not bad, not bad, I think that will keep me busy.