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Planting Your Own Orchard

 

Nothing tastes better than homegrown fruits and vegetables.  The whole process, from planting the tree, to harvesting the fruit. It is so rewarding.  You literally get to eat the fruits of your own labor! 

Maybe you haven’t tried growing different fruiting trees or shrubs, but did you know that right here in South Louisiana we can grow all different kinds of citrus, figs, peaches, plums, pears, blueberries and more!?

When planning out your own home orchard, consider the following factors:

Site: The more sun, the better.  Fruiting plants need a lot of sunshine to produce the most fruits. 

Also high on the list, drainage.  Make sure that the location where you choose to plant your plants does not hold a lot of water.  Your fruit trees will not like to have wet roots.  And some trees, like peach trees, are already very susceptible to fungus.  

Soil: Make sure that you add a generous amount of healthy, rich, gardening soil.  Not top soil, gardening soil.  Blueberries are VERY particular about their soil.  The soil needs to be acidic, rich with organic matter, and they need a heavy application of mulch around the base.  

Selection: Making the right selection of plants for your orchard is very important.  You will want to choose varieties that have proven performance for our area; taking into consideration the heat, humidity, rainfall, and something we call “Chilling Hours.”  The term Chilling Hours refers to the amount of hours that the temperature is below 45 Degrees Fahrenheit through the winter season.  So if a tree says that it requires 200 Chilling Hours, than in order for it to produce fruit, it must be less than 45 degrees for over 200 hours.  If you blindly choose a fruiting plant, and know nothing about the number of chilling hours that it requires to bear fruit, than you may have just planted a tree that will never bear fruit. 

Additionally, in the “Selection” category, make sure that you are aware if the plants that you choose require an additional pollinator.  Citrus trees are self-pollinating.  This means that you can simply plant one citrus tree and have citrus fruit.  However; most varieties of plums, peaches, apples and blueberries will require you to plant two different cultivars in order to have successful fruit production.

This may seem like a lot of things to consider when thinking about planting some fruiting plants for yourself, but trust us, the rewards will be worth the work!  There is nothing like picking an apple or peach right off of the tree, or a blueberry or blackberry right off of the shrub or vine- and eating it! 

We are always here to help you with all these factors to select the right plant in the right area and to ultimatly put the "fruit of your labor" on your plate!