Guest Post: Planting an Orchard

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Fresh fruit is such a blessing from God. No wonder He placed Adam and Eve in a garden. And growing your own – why it will make you feel like a rich woman!

Today Phoebe shares her journey of how she and her family are establishing their own orchard.

My husband and I decided to embark on a completely new journey in the latter part of 2007, which originally begun as a way for us to gain control of our finances and get out of debt. Little did we know at the time, but this journey has turned into a complete life change.

After our journey began, we quickly realized that our grocery budget was an area that we had full control over. Last year we had our first ever vegetable garden, and slowly I was learning the benefits of cooking from scratch. Even with making all of these cuts, there was still one area of my grocery budget that remained high. Fresh Fruit.

Our answer to this problem: Grow it! Why not? We grow our own vegetables.

This year we are planting the beginning stages of our mini-orchard. Our plan this year is to plant apples, pears and blueberries. We went to a nursery and bought our apple and pear trees only to find out, once we made the hour drive home, that somehow we ended up with 3 apples and 1 pear! If we find it in our budget we will go ahead and buy another pear so that we have a pollinator, otherwise we will wait until next year. In addition to these, we also have a strawberry patch, and I bought some Hardy Kiwi seeds. Kiwi is one of my husband’s favorite fruits. Who knew we could grow a variety of Kiwi in Missouri?!

Next year we will do our second, and hopefully final, round of planting. On the list are peaches and cherries, and maybe the final pear. More than likely we won’t break even for the next 2-3 years, but after that I think we will have an abundance!

The number loving side of me plugged numbers and this is what I came up with. At maturity, one semi- dwarf apple tree will produce about 6 bushels of apples—or roughly 250 pounds! That alone would cost me roughly $150 from the grocery store, which is just about equal to the total cost of my entire mini-orchard. And that is only the production of 1 tree!

Planting some fruit trees will not only keep your family in fresh fruit and save you money, but there are many other benefits as well.

· Fruit for making homemade jellies, apple butter, apple sauce, or fruit sauce for pancakes/ice cream, or even your own pies.

· Health. Having fresh fruit on hand will make you more apt to grab it as a snack. Apples are high in fiber, and low in calories with no sodium, cholesterol or fat.

· Helping Others. You can donate all of your excess to a family in need.

· You know where it has been, and what (if any) pesticides have been used on it.

· In the case of homemade goodies, you know how much sugar is used.

Even if you don’t have room to grow your own fruit trees, planting a strawberry patch or a couple blueberry bushes will help cut your fresh fruit costs. Also, check your local farmer’s market or even a local food co-op. Their fruits are usually grown organically, locally, and can be an economical choice.

— Phoebe is a stay at home other of 3 who is getting freedom from all things normal by getting out of debt and learning to embrace the simple life in the process. She can be found blogging over at Cents to Get Debt Free where she shares her money saving tips, recipes and gardening adventures.

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  1. Excellent post, Phoebe. Oh, how I would love to have an orchard. For now we will continue to eat off of our neighbor’s peach and apple trees. 😉

  2. Amy–

    Ooohh, neighbor’s trees are just as good, if not better! 🙂

  3. Great idea, Phoebe!

    We have mature apple and pear trees and grape vines here (established well before we moved in). Last summer and fall, I was up to my eyeballs in apples and pears and made SO much apple and pear sauce, muffins, etc. Such a blessing.

    Now if only I could find a non-chemical way to keep the darn Japanese beetles away from my grapes…

  4. This is my dream someday. I would love to have the room for a “real” orchard. I have blueberry and blackberry bushes now and I will get a cherry tree this fall.

    You can also make your own juice concentrate to freeze and make apple juice.

  5. Cyndi–

    I never even thought of making juice concentrate. That sounds great!!

  6. I didn’t know there was a hardy Kiwi (my husband lived in Australia for a few years before we got married, so I am sure he would love that). Of course we have a very small lot, so anything beyond the strawberry patch we are starting from seed this year might be too much.

  7. So inspiring! We have a hillside on our property behind our house — not very usable EXCEPT for growing trees, and that’s exactly what I want to do at some point! Of course, have to figure out what to do about the squirrels first. They’re EVERYWHERE around here and I wouldn’t dream of using poison.