Welcome to the Family Fruit Forest
I’m going to start by giving you a history of the project. I live in the country about 40 miles from Austin, TX. I have an acre of land that for years was pretty lifeless except for the grass, bugs and gophers. Everything I planted died, I tried trees, shrubs, vegetables, and plants that people said were unkillable. They all died… Most of this was because we had very little top soil before we would hit clay. The droughts in the summer didn’t help either. I gave up after the first few years and resigned myself to never having a tree on the property.
A couple of years ago I tried again. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on plants that I knew would probably die so I dug up plants from the roadway and took clippings from friend’s bushes. To my surprise, almost everything I planted grew. After analyzing why the change occurred, I realized it was because I had done very little to the yard over 9 years and allowed Mother Nature to take her course. First every time we mowed the lawn I allowed the clippings to stay where they were. Then the gophers, ants, mice, frogs, and other critters had dug up the ground and had pulled all the clippings down into the ground. I finally had a good layer of top soil. I never thought mulching and aeration could be so easy.
Having some confidence I proceeded to plant some fruit trees. They grew and put on blossoms. I didn’t get much fruit from them but that was because they were still young. The important thing was that they lived. With my new found courage I then installed a sprinkler system to combat the droughts that we have. This worked better than I expected.
My back yard is now being referred to as my orchard. I prefer to think of it as a fruit forest.
We are in the middle of winter now and although we don’t have bad winters like the north does, we still get some pretty cold days. A few days ago the temperature got down into the twenties which occasionally happens. We have freezing temperatures a few days a year, but most of our winter is cool, not cold. Still, citrus trees are hard to grow in this area. But apples, pears and peaches do well, Pecan trees in particular.
I’m hoping to continue blogging about the fruit forest as we get into the spring and summer. I am going to grow these as organically as Mother Nature herself would. I realize I will have to deal with the pests that come along and try to eat my crop. But in a weird way, that’s what’s going to make this project interesting.