In keeping with our fruit tree fascination (well, obsession really), hubby and I wanted to take our “interests” a bit further. Our goal… to explore other fruit options beyond the multitude of fruit tree varieties available to the home gardener. Before I finish my thought about that (yup, a cliffhanger), let’s take a step back for a moment. Some of you may be wondering how growing fruit trees captured our hearts and took over a good portion of our 1/2 acre property. Well, simply put, it’s just where we happened to start with our sustainable garden. Nothing more to it than that, really. Okay, so m-a-y-b-e we’ve gone a bit further with our orchard than the average backyard gardener, but that’s just us pushing the envelope as usual. So, with an assortment of gardening tools at the ready and a simple child-like scribble of a sketch clutched tightly in hand, we plunged a shovel into our rocky unforgiving soil and claimed a spot for our orchard.
What actually got the “ball rolling” was when I contacted a local horticulturist about an article he had written in one of our local newspapers. In his article, he provided a fairly extensive list of recommended fruit trees and rootstock information for our area. The most intriguing part of his article is the fact that every recommended fruit tree listed was compiled from a 15 year test performed at a local test orchard here in town, spearheaded by the same horticulturist I spoke with.
Such a list is a much sought-after commodity for those living in a hot and dry climate, such as the Mojave desert, who desperately want the following questions answered, “can you grow fruit trees in the desert and if so, which ones do best?”. The answers provided within this coveted fruit tree list were impressive and pressed for further exploration. It sure peaked our interest, especially since the test orchard was only a stones throw away from our newly purchased home. Cha ching! An information seeker’s dream come true. It also helped that the horticulturist got us connected with an organic group here in town ~ the folks we actually ordered our first several fruit trees through.
As far back as I can remember, both hubby and I frequently pondered the thought of growing a few fruit trees and starting a small veggie garden to help replace some of the veggies we were purchasing from the grocery store, but we just never took it to the next step. Those were the days when news of e-coli or salmonella outbreaks from store-bought produce were a rarity and growing your own food was more a matter of convenience than a health necessity. Oh, how things have changed in just the past 20 some years.
We first began dreaming of a world with home-grown fruits and veggies when we lived in Southern California. During our renting days, in a small but cozy duplex lushly landscaped with hibiscus and holly bushes, our landlord gave us permission to plant whatever we wanted in a small planter at the back of our duplex. I’m sure we could have done something with it, but we were young and busy with our careers to pay it any mind.
Shortly after moving into our first home, I was smitten with the look and feel of a cottage garden with its loose and carefree design filled with clusters of roses, perennials and bulbs with a promise of days gone by. These special gardens just speak to my heart and shout loudly with a happy and inviting voice “welcome, come sit a while and enjoy the beauty around you”. I fell in love with cottage style (both inside and outside our home) and haven’t looked back since. The dream of fruit trees and veggies took a back seat to this new adoration.
Moving to Southern Nevada made us yearn for our ole’ cottage garden but we did our best to create what we thought was a “compatible” desert xeric garden ~ still no fruit trees or veggies. I guess we were a bit shell-shocked at the time from the big move from green and plush to rocks and dirt plus it didn’t help that we were very skeptical about anything growing here. Today we know better!
Fast forward to today. Here we sit within our “much in need of TLC” home with more “need to get done” projects than we can wrap our heads around. A 1/2 acre lot that also has just as many “have-to” projects and only have a “penny” budget to do it all with. But… you know what? God always provides and our fruit orchard gives us such sweet rewards 🙂
So what’s in store for us regarding new fruit options? I think I may have mentioned this in another post, but we now have Southern Highbush blueberries. We also hope to grow watermelons this summer. More info to come!