Posted February 02, 2015 by Gabriel Posternak

#Change4Better: The Benefits of a Home Orchard

More and more people are starting to join the home orchard trend, preparing their own little spaces while enjoying the whole process. In fact, there are numerous organizations that encourage people to build their own home orchards, especially to those living in big crowded cities. That’s because cities could use more green spaces and people certainly will benefit from having trees and shrubs nearby, especially ones that produce fruits and nuts.

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Besides, by having your own orchard you’ll be making a change for the better of both your family and your community. Of course there are other reasons why you should begin looking for an available space in your home to start planting.

Benefits of a home orchard

  • Healthier food: forget about pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other harmful products used to grow vegetables in a great scale. By planting trees and shrubs you’ll get fresh fruit all year long without any of the dangerous additives. This won’t only mean you’ll have healthier food but you’ll also get a unique and richer flavor than what you’d get when buying your fruit in the market.
  • Constant production at little cost: with the right knowledge, maintaining an orchard is as easy as it can possibly get. Contrary to what many might think, you only have to learn when to water it and how to take care of it while the plants are growing. Once your trees and shrubs are old enough, they’ll practically live without your intervention while you’ll be getting the fruits they produce for decades.
  • Greener cities: we don’t need to tell you that cities are constantly expanding at the expense of green spaces. Unfortunately, this means that parks aren’t enough anymore to counteract the advance of concrete. By developing your own orchard you’ll make your contribution to a greener lifestyle while also gaining a beautiful personal space where to find some fresh air and cool shade.
  • Home improvement: a personal orchard in your home won’t only be great for your diet but also for your house’s overall aesthetics. Having plants around your home will liven it up and make it more colorful and altogether happier. Fruits, leaves and flowers will contrast with the darker materials of which your walls are made and their scent will make your home feel like an amazing garden you won’t want to leave.
  • Personal hobby: as if all of the above reasons weren’t enough, you can also have fun when building your orchard. Learning about how to grow one is really a fascinating experience that will put you in touch with new information, new people and, most importantly, with the Earth itself. Reading on how to improve it and watching it grow month after month will be a rewarding and enjoyable task that will take your mind off your daily worries and provide you with a stress-free environment.

How to start growing a home orchard

Interested in building your orchard? That’s great! You’ll soon will notice how many positive changes you’ll introduce to your life just by having one around. Naturally, it won’t be as easy as planting the seeds and watering from time to time. Like we said before, a great home orchard will take some time and some specific knowledge to grow. Additionally, you’ll have to learn some tips to keep it ever green and flourishing. It won’t be that easy, mind you, but if you follow these suggestions you’ll surely be successful.

  • Choose the perfect space (and think ahead): before your mouth start watering over the fresh fruit you’re going to enjoy, there are several things to consider. Where to grow your orchard, of course, is the first one. Obviously, the more space you can use, the better. But keep in mind that you don’t need 20 acres to have an amazing orchard. You’ll only need a portion of land where your trees can enjoy of at least 8 hours of direct sun and doesn’t have crossing power lines overhead. Additionally, pick an area where you can efficiently drain the soil. Finally, keep in mind that you might want to expand the orchard in the future, so select the clearer space in order to have some room to make your orchard bigger later on.
  • Pick the right trees: what to plant is as important as where to plant it. In this instance you might feel tempted to plant anything and everything. Don’t. Choosing the right trees is essential for your orchard and it depends in lots of factors. First of all, there’s the climate in your area. Although you can create microclimates, there are certain types of fruits that simply won’t grow where you live. Learn which fruits are likely to grow where you are and stick to them, especially if you’re a beginner. Then, think about the size of the trees. Most of them come in 3 varieties: dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard. The formers are recommended for smaller spaces while the latters are great for anyone with enough room to grow 20-or-more feet trees. Of course, standard trees are the most productive but they don’t necessarily are ideal for everyone. Finally, you should also learn about varieties. Pollination is a crucial process for a blooming orchard. That’s why you have to plant two or more varieties of the same tree to achieve greater results. You should know, however, that there are certain fruits that come in special varieties which are self-fertile, which means you’ll only need to plant one to get fruit. If you have limited space, these are the trees you should be looking for.

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  • Know when and how to plant: although you can plant seeds to grow your trees, it’s better if you buy your trees locally already potted in a container or bareroot. Purchasing them in companies in your area will make your selection easier, since they’ll offer you only the varieties that grow well where you live. On the other hand, buying them already grown will make it easy for you to start your orchard.Next you’ll have to figure out it when to plant them. As a rule of thumb, you’ll be planting in the spring if you’re from the North whereas you’ll be doing so in the fall in areas with warmer winters. Additionally, keep in mind that you’ll have to plant the trees as soon as you get them, so don’t over anticipate your purchase. In the same sense, have your soil already prepared before the trees arrive in order to minimize the amount of time they spend outside the soil.

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  • Learn how to maintain them: you’ll have more to do after planting the trees than just watering them. You’ll have to prune them, appropriately drain the soil, tie them up to stick to prevail wind, protect them from the frost, clean the site from growing weeds and grass and make sure it’s properly irrigated. Each of these tasks have to be done carefully and regularly to ensure a rich fruit production. So, read about techniques and tips on how to do them and make a regular routine to care for your trees.

As you can see, growing your own home orchard can be a fairly slow process that needs lots of attention in its early stages. However, the benefits you’ll get from having one are really worth the trouble. Just be sure to learn all you can about it. Like us if you want more tips for doing so!

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