Growing Plentiful Fruit

Bush cherries

One of the most satisfying things in life has to be picking ripe, juicy fruit right from the backyard. My children learn early how to hunt for ripe strawberries, cherries and plums. This year my three year old boy has probably gained more of his nutrition from foraging in the garden than he has at regular family meals. And you know what? I think that is marvelous!

I try to keep fruit growing simple. I start by selecting fruit that grows well in my area. There are so many hundreds of types of fruits and varieties to grow that I will not attempt to cover those here. Most fruit nursery catalogs are a wealth of information on what will grow well for you. I personally buy from, and can recommend the following nurseries:

Bush cherries

Nursery sells most every variety of every fruit you might like to
grow. Mail order.

Stark Bros is
another mail order nursery with a very good selection, including
multi-variety grafted trees.
Phoenix Tears
Nursery is a local mail order nursery for goji berry plants. Lots of
good information on the website for growing and using goji berries
and leaves.
Glover Nursery
is a local source for a good variety of fruit plants.
Tiny Fig tree in center, Rhubarb to back left

trees need a few regular maintenance processes to bear fruit and
remain healthy.


Pruning: I
winter prune for shape and summer prune to check
vigor. I use the Dave Wilson Nursery methods of pruning. They do not
sell directly to the public, but their website contains a wealth of
information on fruit varieties, fruit growing and pruning (including
videos). This is the pruning method I follow.

They have a
YouTube channel with several videos to teach you how to prune. I
highly recommend this method for the home orchard. It allows you to
have more trees in your back yard because the size is kept in check
and you get an abundant yield of fruit. I believe it is more harmful
to fruit trees to not prune them, than to try your hand at it, even
if you are unsure at first. Watch the videos, then go and prune!


I am a minimalist about spraying my fruit trees. I would rather use
other methods to encourage a balanced ecosystem around my trees than
spray. I do use homemade dormant oil spray in the early spring.

is the link for the homemade spray:

Here is the link from the USU Extension office that explains when to
use the spray.

Only spray
the branches of the tree and the top of the trunk, not the lower
trunk. This is because the beneficial insects will overwinter on the
lower trunk. 
We want to keep those.

Plums (not thinned enough this year)

To get full sized, healthy fruit, you need to thin the dime sized
baby fruit. Every tree tries to grow more than it can support. If
you leave the fruit unthinned, two things will happen: first, your
fruit will be very small with the same sized pit, second, the fruit
will over bear and may not bear any fruit the next year. Apple trees
are notorious for doing this. A four finger width between each fruit
is about right. Don’t be surprised if you are thinning out up to 2/3
of the fruit. It is ok! You will actually have a better yield this

Plums (not thinned enough this year)

Fruit trees do best with deep, infrequent watering. I use drip hoses
for this, in circular lines around the base, from 6 inches out from
the trunk to the edge of the branch line (where the branches reach
to). I water the trees every 10-14 days very well, a long, deep

This is an inventory and map of the fruit I grow in the backyard of my 1/3 acre lot:

Apple, multi
variety including Gravenstein, Fuji, Granny Smith, Red Delicious
Fig, Brown

Peach, Garden
Gold Miniature

Pear, multi
variety grafted
Pear, Asian
Drippin’ Honey
Plum, multi
variety grafted tree
Aromatnaya Russian
Asian Pear

Currant, Golden
Goji Berry,
Phoenix Tears
Honey Sweet, Wild Honey
Serviceberry, Smokey

Grapes, Einset, Concord, green table grape
Kiwi, Issai Hardy

Small Fruit:
Rhubarb, Crimson Red, Chipman’s Canada Red, Victoria
Strawberry, Alpine Yellow Wonder
Strawberry, June bearing, Everbearing


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One thought on “Growing Plentiful Fruit

  1. The Smiling Allens

    August 12, 2014 at 9:26pm

    So you said that you water your trees every 10-14 days, how long do you water them for? Does it depend on the month (like in July you water longer), or how much rain there is, or do you have a set time?

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    • Melissa Finlay

      August 12, 2014 at 10:11pm

      Thank you for the question. I did gloss over those details, didn't I? I usually do not begin watering the fruit trees in my yard until June, as the ground still holds enough deep moisture from winter and spring. The trees are circled from 6 inches out from the trunk to the edge of the branches with in-line drip hose that emits 1 gallon per hour every 12 inches. I water until the ground is moist a foot deep, which does vary with the weather. I do space the days closer in July and August (closer to 10 days), or whenever we get many high 90-100 degree days in a row. I also use wood mulch and ground covering plants under each tree to conserve moisture.

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