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 I ordered 500 fruit trees! 
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:19 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Post I ordered 500 fruit trees!
Hey all,
We always wanted to have an orchard. Mostly for reasons of self reliance, local food security and well, they just seem magical! We planted a few apples and plums a couple of years ago but we wanted more. The prices of nursery trees was too much to permit anything substantial. I called a local supplier and was told that I could get trees at about 10-12 dollars each if I bought 100. Well, I had 100 accounted for in no time with my family and neighbours. I decided to spread the wings a bit more and we finished off at 500 trees in total. Many different varieties of apples, pears, plums, and even a few apricots, nuts and one peach variety. There are about 40 participants in total. I used the internet (social media) to organise and communicate. The trees mostly will come from Ontario arriving bare root in early april. We are in Nova Scotia(Canada). Some people have ordered 20-30 trees. Everyone is so excited and we are too. I organized the information on an excel spreadsheet.
With little experience I did a lot of research on the fly as to disease resistance and soil type etc.. The trees are mostly on semidwarf rootstock.
I hope all goes smoothly. Lets keep our fingers crossed.
I will let everyone know how it goes.


Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:58 am
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 am
Posts: 78
Location: Springfield, OH Zone 6a
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
That's great news to hear. It's inspiring to know that people have the opportunity to start an orchard. I'd love to start one myself one day and spread enthusiasm for orchards. Just curious, but how many acres of land will these be planted on?


Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:16 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:19 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
Hey again,
I own 5 acres myself and I will plant about 20-30 trees. There are about 40 participants on this purchase, some with less than 1 acre and others with 40 acres. I chose a wide variety of cultivars and I plan to do a lot of grafting in the coming years with whichever cultivars seem to do best or whichever we like most. I have to admit that I am a sucker for Honeycrisp.


Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:32 pm
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 am
Posts: 78
Location: Springfield, OH Zone 6a
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
I've gotta say, that's pretty impressive. It's one thing for a single person to start an orchard, but to have 40 people involved speaks volumes about the enthusiasm people in your area have about fruit growing. And honeycrisps are a delicious choice Sweetango is another very delicious and new apple developed by the university of Minnesota, but I don't know if they're available to everyone yet. You definitely have an awesome opportunity here and I'd love to be in your shoes.


Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:18 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:19 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
sohoppy wrote:
I've gotta say, that's pretty impressive. It's one thing for a single person to start an orchard, but to have 40 people involved speaks volumes about the enthusiasm people in your area have about fruit growing. And honeycrisps are a delicious choice Sweetango is another very delicious and new apple developed by the university of Minnesota, but I don't know if they're available to everyone yet. You definitely have an awesome opportunity here and I'd love to be in your shoes.


Those are kind words and thanks. It is funny that you mentioned sweet tango because I did want to have it on the list but as you have said it is under tight controls. I chose mostly disease resistant varieties because I am not qualified or interested in spraying. Liberty, goldrush, crimson gold etc...
I have to start digging some holes soon because I won't have much time in April. I have a feeling my neighbors are going to be wondering what or who I am burying. I think they are used to my crazy ideas at this point. They did see me bury a refrigerator in my backyard as a makeshift root cellar (It works great) and chase 20 chickens around the yard when they found an escape hole in the chicken run fence. Oh and them there is the chicken tractor idea.....
Anyway, I always seem to have a "hair brained" scheme on the go but this one looks like it is going to really work out nicely. Anyone can do it if you know enough people in your area who are interested in cheap fruit trees. I could have doubled or tripled the order easily. Every person you know knows 20+ people, each of whom knows 20+ people and so on. I just cut it off when we got to 500 because I did not want to go too big on the first attempt.

I had a simple rule that all of my friends/colleagues/ relatives could order trees for themselves and their friends but that I did not want to deal with their friends directly. They added what their friends wanted onto their order as if it was all for them. They had to collect their friends money and so on. It became a real community effort.


Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:54 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1375
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
I would love the feeling of confidence in your local food supply that comes with making an order of 500 fruit trees in the local community! They don't have to all be productive for that to make a huge difference in the availability and quality of food supply.
JOhn S
PDX OR


Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:49 pm
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 am
Posts: 78
Location: Springfield, OH Zone 6a
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
It's such a shame that greed limits the supply of new fruit cultivars such as the Sweetango apple. A friend of mine brought them to my attention and they had to go to Michigan just to get them. Fruit cultivation should be for everyone and there should not ve restrictions on them, but you know what happens when money is involved. I have a small property right now (I bought my first house under 2 years ago) but my goal is to buy a farm and grow every fruit I possibly can.

I'm very interested in your project. You mentioned that you are going to grow pears right? If so, are you growing Asian or European? And what zone are you in? I'm curious because I have just 1 Asian pear tree and I've heard they don't produce well in my area, zone 6. So I'd love to hear that you have success with them. Please let me know.


Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:02 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:25 pm
Posts: 46
Location: UK
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
sohoppy wrote:
It's such a shame that greed limits the supply of new fruit cultivars such as the Sweetango apple. A friend of mine brought them to my attention and they had to go to Michigan just to get them. Fruit cultivation should be for everyone and there should not ve restrictions on them, but you know what happens when money is involved.

It is not necessarily greed. The development of SweeTango will have taken years of work and cost $thousands for researchers, growers, trial orchards, marketing etc. That all has to be paid for somehow. If you don't agree, then don't buy the apples / trees - or better still, develop your own new varieties!


Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:56 am
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 am
Posts: 78
Location: Springfield, OH Zone 6a
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
SweeTango was developed by the University of Minnesota and thus paid for by the tax payers, who in turn filed suit when the school started selling trees to out of state orchards. So I don't know if it's greed per se, but it would sure be nice if they were available for everyone to enjoy. But business is business and the U of M does has some seriously talented researchers.


Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:18 pm
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 am
Posts: 78
Location: Springfield, OH Zone 6a
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
I'm going to apologize to cmarchan and all other members. It appears I may have started somewhat of a debate-not my intention. My words are harmless and if i knew they would have sparked a response, I wouldn't have said them, as frankly, it isn't worthwhile.

I wish you the best of luck with your community's home orchards. It's really an inspiration to hear of such participation for a mutual cause. You've given me a lot of hope, thank you for that.


Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:47 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1375
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
I don't think there's anything wrong with polite robust debate. It helps us learn about different points of view. One of the problems with the modern world is that people only interact with people much like themselves. I think it makes our world a better place to discuss these ideas.
John S
PDX OR


Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:23 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:25 pm
Posts: 46
Location: UK
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
The license for SweeTango expires in 2026 so you don't have that long to wait!

It does not seem unreasonable that the U of M should have the intervening period to re-coup their investment and make a profit. Whether some of those profits should go back to the taxpayers of MN is a good question, but hopefully some of it will also go into the development of further varieties.

I believe the license for Honeycrisp, their previous biggest success, has already expired - and Honeycrisp would be a great choice for any new orchard project.


Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:05 am
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 am
Posts: 78
Location: Springfield, OH Zone 6a
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
I believe you're correct about the license for honeycrisp being expired and that would be a great tree to plant in your orchard. It would give you probably the most bang for your buck in terms of sheer pounds of apples and they taste delicious.

If you have some extra room once you're done with your main stock, you could even diversify by planting some sea buckthorn and/or gooseberries. Both would grow well in your area and produce heavily.


Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:37 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:19 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
Hey again,

It seems that there is a great bunch of members on here and no offence was taken at all. I am just happy to see a place where we can share experiences and ideas with like-minded folks. Thanks again to everyone for the encouragement. I will keep everyone up to date on the project, and maybe even pictures too. We purchased a new camera over the holidays :P
I would be happy to share the spreadsheet I used to organize this and what I have learned so far and what I would do different next time at some point. I told all the project participants from the beginning that I do not intend to make any money off this.
I have only recently started growing fruit trees and I have a lot to learn so i will ask lots of questions. The inspiration to start an orchard came from an Englishman who has been kind enough to create several very useful videos and make them available on the internet to the general public. Everything from planting to pruning to harvesting and more. I suspect many people know who I am referring to as these videos are very popular. He uses language that can be understood by rookies like me.
I am looking at integrating other fruits and berries onto the property as has been suggested. Exploring the possibilities as so much fun!
As far as pear trees go, we planted one about 3 years ago and it is only now starting to get some legs. It is a seedling (not grafted) and I think I will use it to practice grafting and pruning. I have ordered a few pear trees and I have friends who can provide scion wood.

Cheers all.


Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:03 pm
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 am
Posts: 78
Location: Springfield, OH Zone 6a
Post Re: I ordered 500 fruit trees!
Yeah, I think Stephen Hayes is the Englishman you're referring to. And you're right, his videos are very educational and easy to understand. I've learned a lot about taking scions and grafting from him. I'm new to home orchard growing as well, (only been doing.it for two years) so it's great that the internet can provide tools like the HOS and connect us with people from all over to share knowledge and ideas.

I'm interested to see some pictures when you get everything going. It's nice that you'll be able to keep picture and video history of your experience right from the beginning.


Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:53 pm
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