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.


Thinning Fruit—How?

Properly thinned fruit

I’ve already dis­cussed why you should thin fruit from your tree. Yes, you really should! I’ll men­tion one more rea­son now that I didn’t touch on in the last post: Many young, devel­op­ing, dwarf fruit trees tend to be pre­co­cious. That is, they often start bear­ing fruit in their sec­ond or third year of growth. Naturally, […]

Thinning Fruit Off Your Trees —Why?

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 […]

Thinning Apples for the Time-Challenged Home Orchardist

luscious fruit

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 […]

Back to the Blog

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 […]

Fruit Trees and Berry Plants— Specialty Nurseries List

Specialty nurseries are your best bet for finding quality fruit trees, berry bushes, vines and plants

It’s cyber Mon­day, with a twist. As my hol­i­day gift to all of you, I’ve com­piled a list of nurs­eries that spe­cial­ize in the prop­a­ga­tion and sale of fruit trees and berry plants to the home gar­dener. It can be down­loaded as a PDF and printed for per­sonal use or you can refer directly to […]

Nine Steps to Winter-proofing Your Fruit Garden

As we enjoy the “Indian sum­mer” weather we are also aware that this is the time to pre­pare the fruit gar­den for the win­ter ahead. Up here in the north, as Octo­ber arrives we know that soon the white stuff is going to fly. Here are items not to be for­got­ten that will help your […]

Apples of Uncommon Character—Book Review

Book Review Title: Apples of Uncom­mon Char­ac­ter Author: Rowan Jacob­sen Strong points: If you are a “foodie” look­ing for new taste expe­ri­ences this may be the book for you. One hun­dred twenty three apple vari­eties, heir­loom and mod­ern, are described as if each apple were a fine wine. Art­ful yet accu­rate pho­tos raise this book to coffee […]

Apples for the 21st Century—Book Review

apple varieties, heirloom apples, stating a home orchard, fruit variety tesitng, apple rootstock

Book Review   Title: Apple for the 21st Cen­tury Author: War­ren Man­hart Strong points: With a title that would lead one to think this book is ori­ented mainly toward the mod­ern com­mer­cial apple indus­try and the super mar­ket apple, Apples for the 21st Cen­tury delves into a pleas­antly sur­pris­ing, broad-based list of both heir­loom and mod­ern varieties. […]

Old Southern Apples: A comprehensive History and Description of Varieties for Collectors, Growers, and Fruit Enthusiasts, 2nd Ed—Book Review

Old Southern Apples Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr.

Book Review Title: Old South­ern Apples: A com­pre­hen­sive His­tory and Descrip­tion of Vari­eties for Col­lec­tors, Grow­ers, and Fruit Enthu­si­asts. Revised and Expanded Author: Creighton Lee Cal­houn, Jr. Strong points: Old South­ern Apples is filled with the regional soci­ol­ogy, the sci­ence, and the sto­ries that make apple grow­ing inter­est­ing and excit­ing. It is an exten­sively well-researched work of […]

Celebrate National Apple Month

Nationa Apple Month

Labor Day came early this year and with it we usher in the start of fall fruit har­vest.  Sep­tem­ber is National Apple Month and the apples are indeed ripen­ing for pick­ing. Did you know these bits of apple trivia? The apple blos­som is Michigan’s state flower. Apple leads pack of favorite pies; ahead of pump­kin, chocolate, […]

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!