Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Strawberries are usually ripe 30 days after bloom.

Seasoned Advice for Successful Fruit Gardening

Are you wondering when to prune your fruit trees? Are bugs bugging your berry patch? Do you need hands-on advice to create a fruitful berry garden and home orchard? It’s at your finger tips right here - Stella Otto, horticulturist, teacher, and award winning author shares her years of experience and answers your questions while guiding you on the path to many fruitful harvests!

Latest from the Orchardist's Journal


Thinning Fruit Off Your Trees —Why?

June 29, 2015

Mother Nature has built in sur­vival by ensur­ing that fruit trees bear many more blos­soms than are needed for a full crop. How­ever, this cre­ates a catch-22 when more blos­soms grow and develop into more lit­tle fruit than the tree really can sup­port. Just as wisely, nature’s design includes the like­li­hood that not all developing […]

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Thinning Apples for the Time-Challenged Home Orchardist

June 15, 2015

If you have an over­abun­dance of apple fruitlets, you can thin excess fruit by hand. It is pre­cise, but time con­sum­ing. Another way to thin excess fruit is with the use of Sevin™ (car­baryl) insec­ti­cide. It is an insec­ti­cide that also mim­ics the nat­ural plant hor­mone, auxin, that reg­u­lates plant growth and devel­op­ment. When applied between […]

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Back to the Blog

June 1, 2015

After tak­ing the dor­mant sea­son to rest, reor­ga­nize and re-energize, the Back­yard Fruit Gar­dener is bud­ding once again. I’ll be mak­ing some changes for the sea­son ahead with some likely tweaks along the way. Later this year, I’ll roll out a project that has kept me quite busy behind the scenes these past months. Check […]

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The Orchardist, Stella Otto


Stella Otto has a B.S. in Horticulture, fruit production specialization, from Michigan State University. She resides in northern Michigan’s Leelanau county, Cherry Capital of the world. She gardens together with her husband, son, and daughter. Their 2 horses contribute copiously to the compost pile, while their 3 cats handle some pest control patrol.
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