Long ago, before I even had the prospect of growing fruit trees, I read Ann Ralph’s book Grow a Little Fruit Tree cover to cover like an enormous dork. I checked the book out again from the library because I'm getting pretty darn close to planting some fruit trees.
Boy am I glad I'm re-reading it.
I had mostly forgotten what the book said. Since I’ve been reading so much about Food Forests (a larger-scale permaculture way of growing food) I had stopped considering little fruit trees. We’re not talking dwarf trees, which tend to be unhealthy due to weak roots. We are talking about a regular healthy tree kept at 5-6 feet tall with special pruning. She describes how its done very well in her book.
Ann makes a very convincing case for why home gardeners shouldn't grow full-size, twenty foot trees: twice a year pruning on ladders, thinning 1500 pieces of fruit, and processing 600 fruits in a month with lots of spoiled fruit still on the ground. A 6 foot tall fruit tree can be pruned from the ground, and produces a manageable 100 pieces of fruit.
I was planning on planting a full size Golden Russet apple in our yard, but now I'm seriously reconsidering. In that space, I could have several types of manageable fruit.
The book explains why tiny trees are so useful, exactly how to trim them so they stay tiny, and how to care for the trees moving forward. If you’ve ever considered growing fruit in your yard, I can’t recommend this book enough. Or you can google search the Grow a Little Fruit Tree article in Mother Earth News magazine.
See, this is why I'm so slow to reach conclusions! There's always information still out there that will improve a decision. I'm working on making decisions at 75% certainty rather than waiting for 100%, and I think I'm about at 75% now. Gathering information has felt especially important on an endeavor like planting fruit trees, in which I have zero experience.
I am so inspired by Grow a Little Fruit Tree. Excited again by the idea of fitting multiple varieties of fruit into our little yard and trying out the method. Now to scheme more about what kinds...