Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Mow vegetation short around the base of fruit trees and bushes to reduce winter habitat for rodents.


Wel­come. “Good fences make good neigh­bors,” they say. I hope you’ll visit often for vir­tual vis­its “across the gar­den fence.” You’ll find advice here for all lev­els of gar­den­ers from barely-sprouted to well-rooted in years of expe­ri­ence. You can begin with the basics and dig in for more as your knowl­edge grows along with your garden.

Fall Preparation Holds Keys to Successful Spring Fruit Garden

Fall is most often viewed as the sea­son for har­vest­ing the last boun­ti­ful crops from the gar­den. How­ever, many gar­den­ers over­look an even more impor­tant gar­den activ­ity — prepar­ing a new gar­den for next spring. When cre­at­ing a fruit gar­den, home orchard, or other gar­den for that mat­ter, prepa­ra­tion is espe­cially impor­tant. Prepar­ing the gar­den at […]

Preserving our Pollinators

Honey bees are important pollinators of fruit, but Mason bee species are also active native pollinator species

We are all crit­i­cally depen­dent on pol­li­na­tors for our food, whether we grow our own or buy it at the mar­ket. Pol­li­na­tors are respon­si­ble for pro­duc­tion of nearly 75 per­cent of the plants we eat. That trans­lates to one in three bites of the food and drink we con­sume daily. Take a moment to con­sider how […]

The Backyard Orchardist goes on a Blog Book Tour


What fun! The Back­yard Orchardist is get­ting to meet new fruit gar­dener friends all over the coun­try as we go on vir­tual tour. We’re stop­ping in to visit a num­ber of gar­den­ing, home­steading, and per­ma­cul­ture blogs and hope you will join us in vis­it­ing these great stops. Here are some past stops, with more to […]

The BackYard Orchardist Visits the Urban Farm Podcast


Ear­lier I blogged about my visit to Ari­zona and the Urban Farm, home of Greg Peter­son, a very com­mit­ted dis­ci­ple of grow­ing your own food right in down­town Phoenix. More recently, Greg and I had a chance to “talk fruit trees” on the Urban Farm pod­cast. Come lis­ten in while we com­pare notes and chat […]

Strawberries—What Type is Right for Your Garden?

Ripe strawberries are usually ready for picking in June

Who doesn’t love a juicy, red, ripe straw­berry? Most gar­den­ers wel­come their con­cen­trated har­vest that comes fast and furi­ous in June (or a bit ear­lier in some of the warmest south­ern states) but lament how fast it is over; here for Father’s Day, gone by Fourth of July. Did you know you can eat your strawberries […]

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist — Book Review

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist by Michael Judd will help you create an edible landscape in harmony with nature's growing system, whether you grow in an urban garden or on larger acreage.

Book Review Title: Edi­ble Land­scap­ing with a Per­ma­cul­ture Twist Author: Michael Judd Strong points: Right from the get-go, this book shows it’s true col­ors and under­stand­ing of design. It is well laid-out and beau­ti­ful to look at. It guides you through pur­su­ing a per­ma­cul­ture gar­den with very clear instruc­tions on how to incor­po­rate small projects into your […]

Growing Fruit and Urban Homesteading in the Arizona Desert

Leaf-footed bug on quince

Recently, I had the oppor­tu­nity to explore a world of fruit grow­ing very dif­fer­ent from my usual north­ern Michi­gan venue, while on a trip to Ari­zona. One of the first things I noticed was how ubiq­ui­tous the cit­rus trees were, see­ing at least one in almost every yard. The fra­grant smell of the blos­soms was […]

The Groundhog Predicts a Fruitful Year with the Expanded and Updated Backyard Orchardist

Backyaard Orchardist cover 72 dpi

It’s offi­cial! A new expanded and updated edi­tion of The Back­yard Orchardist: A com­plete guide to grow­ing fruit trees in the home gar­den is off the press and avail­able to help you get the com­ing grow­ing sea­son off to a fruit­ful start! Punx­sutawney Phil has pre­dicted an early spring. Make sure you are ready to […]

Choosing Apple Varieties for Your Home Orchard

The end result of June Drop and proper fruit thinning. Apple

Octo­ber is National Apple Month; time to cel­e­brate the crunch­ing, munch­ing great fla­vor of our all-American fruit! For some folks that means a trip to the local u-pick, cider mill, or farm­ers’ mar­ket. For oth­ers, maybe you, it is an entice­ment to grow a few apple trees right at home. Plan­ning is one of the keys […]

The Tree of 40 Fruits

When it comes to graft­ing fruit trees, most of us would be hard pressed to top Sam Van Aken. How­ever, in urban areas around the United States, small bands of intre­pid grafters give it a clan­des­tine try. Not only does Van Aken  seek to cre­ate a fas­ci­nat­ing tree of great beauty, his unique cre­ation could […]

A note about photo and content “borrowing.” I’m flattered if you like my work enough to want to “borrow” it. I’ve worked long and hard to develop it. As I would not pluck fruit from your garden without permission, I hope you would not take from mine. So, please ask first before you “borrow.” In all likelihood I will be happy to share and ask for nothing more than credit where credit is due. Thanks for visiting & Fruitful Gardening!