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Fruit Trees for Preparedness

I have a subscription to World Affairs Brief and often see great insights not only to the dangers in our world posed by those in high government positions who do not have our welfare in mind but also good preparedness tips. I’d like to share a portion of the most recent brief and I would encourage any of you who are peace loving and who recognize the damage being done by our governments to look up the World Affairs Brief and subscribe.


Fruit trees are an integral part of a self-sufficient homestead. Once established they will produce year over year with only a minor effort on your part. The hardest part is getting them established in a good location early enough that they will be producing when we need them.

Early spring is the best time to plant or transplant trees, so winter editions of seed and flower catalogs are full of fruit tree options. Don’t get so distracted by the pictures of luscious fruit that you ignore your climate zone. There’s a reason Georgia is famous for peaches and Washington for apples. Some fruit trees can be grown outside their ideal climate if they are sited carefully. Apples and pears need an area that gets cold (and preferably some frost) so consider a low-lying area where cold settles. Conversely, plant peaches and apricots on a south-facing slope or south side of a stone wall for reflected heat. Thanks to various hybrids there are varieties of fruit for USDA zones 4 and above (outside of citrus, of course). To see the most popular varieties for your area just check out the selection at your local garden nursery.

Many fruit trees (especially apples, pears and sweet cherries) need another tree of the same fruit but different variety around them to properly pollinate, so check with your nursery before you buy only one tree for each fruit. Your nursery should have a chart like this to help.

How many trees should you plant? Fruit trees are one of the easiest ways to grow a healthier form of sugar, but like any sugar you can have too much of it—especially when the whole tree ripens in the space of a few weeks. Fortunately, fruit’s sugar and acidity are natural preservatives and make almost all fruit ideal for canning in mason jars using just steam canning rather than the time and energy intensive pressure canning. For my part, I’d rather err on the side of too many fruit trees. There are many uses for extra fruit, but it takes years to grow another tree if you find yourself short in hard times. Fruit is one of the easiest things to sell or give away to neighbors and you can always turn surplus into pies, juice, jams or dried treats for more profitable sale and barter. Fruit is also one of the first harvests of the year, producing cherries and apricots when the tomatoes, peppers and corn are still growing.

Whenever you have too much of something on your homestead ask yourself “what will eat this?” Whether that be grass, weeds, bugs or fruit. Chickens and horses enjoy fruit and benefit from it in small quantities, but pigs can live almost entirely off of it for several months and get nice and fat while doing so.

You can store apples and pears fresh for a few months in a root cellar if you grow the right varieties. In general crispy and sour stores better than sweet and soft-skinned. Mike and Nancy Bubel in their book Root Cellaring recommend Baldwin, Winesap, Jonagold and Jonathan apples (among others) and Bartlett, Bosc and Anjou pears. Pick pears when mature but still green (hint of yellow) for best preservation. Bring them out of cold storage a few days before eating to ripen.

Space the trees in your orchard far enough apart or staggered so each tree gets full sun during the summer. Watch that other tall trees in the landscape don’t grow up and shade smaller fruit trees. Some people grow trees in rows of different heights to maximize the southern sunlight: a row of dwarf trees in front, semi-dwarf in the middle and full-grown trees in back.

There’s nothing better than ripe, fresh fruit off your own trees, so plant now and get the process started. ”

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