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.

Media Resources: About the Author



Stella Otto has a B.S. in Hor­ti­cul­ture with a fruit pro­duc­tion spe­cial­iza­tion, from Michi­gan State Uni­ver­sity. She resides in north­ern Michigan’s Lee­lanau county, where she gar­dens together with her hus­band. Their 2 grown chil­dren enjoy the bounty of the fruit gar­den when­ever they drop-in to visit. Stella’s 2 horses con­tribute copi­ously to the com­post pile, while their 3 cats han­dle some pest control.



Stella Otto is a gold and sil­ver medal Ben­jamin Franklin Award win­ning author of The Back­yard Orchardist: A com­plete guide to grow­ing fruit trees in the home gar­den.
Author of The­Back­yard Berry Book: A hands-on guide to grow­ing berries, bram­bles, and vine fruit in the home gar­den, which was excerpted for a fea­ture arti­cle in Coun­try Jour­nal mag­a­zine.
Kitchen Gar­dener mag­a­zine col­lec­tion DVD, con­trib­u­tor — 2014
Fea­ture arti­cle in Grow: An Inspired House/Fine Gar­den­ing Spe­cial Issue — May 2009
Gar­den colum­nist for North­ern Home mag­a­zine and Thumb Print News.
Free­lance fea­ture arti­cles or columns in numer­ous mag­a­zines includ­ing Organic Gar­den­ing, Kitchen Gar­den, New Gar­den Jour­nal, Tra­di­tional Gar­den­ing, Acres USA, and Burpee Home Gardener.

Work­shop presenter/Media appear­ances
Keynote speaker for Mas­ter Gar­dener Asso­ci­a­tion of north­west Michi­gan 2015 vol­un­teer recog­ni­tion lun­cheon.
Otto has been inter­viewed on National Pub­lic Radio’s The Cul­ti­vated Gar­dener and Home Grown.
She appeared on mul­ti­ple seg­ments of Dis­cov­ery Channel’s Home Mat­ters, demon­strat­ing aspects of land­scap­ing cre­atively with fruit.
Instruc­tor for local Mas­ter Gar­dener program’s tree fruit and berry sec­tions.
Pre­sented numer­ous work­shops to gar­den clubs, urban gar­den groups, and at local gar­den centers.

Guest expert inter­view high­lights
Sierra club mag­a­zine, May/June 2011, Quoted in “The Green Life: Grow­ing Off Beat Fruit At Home“ — offers Tips for Gar­den­ing on a Bud­get
Hobby Farm Home, July/August 2010, quoted sev­eral times in “Fruitscap­ing” fea­ture arti­cle, July 28, 2010, Dream Gar­dens, pho­tos of Stella Otto’s fruit and veg­etable gar­den fea­tured
Online arti­cles on Grit enews
Online inter­views on

Stella Otto is a for­mer orchard and farm mar­ket owner/manager with over 35 years expe­ri­ence grow­ing fruit on both a large and small scale.
As a pro­fes­sional hor­ti­cul­tural con­sul­tant, Otto has worked as an orchard man­ager to absen­tee land own­ers, acquaint­ing those with no prior fruit grow­ing expe­ri­ence with the skills needed for suc­cess in their endeavor.
Stella Otto also offers con­sul­ta­tion for indi­vid­u­als who desire to incor­po­rate fruit trees, berries, and vines into their per­sonal edi­ble landscapes.

Col­lege instruc­tor
Intro­duc­tory Hor­ti­cul­ture, North Cen­tral Michi­gan Col­lege. Designed and taught a class­room lec­ture and hands-on lab­o­ra­tory course intended to meet trans­fer require­ments to the four year col­lege cur­ricu­lum level.

Con­tact Stella Otto for guest inter­views, free­lance writ­ing, speak­ing engage­ments, or hor­ti­cul­tural con­sult­ing assignments.