The Fruits of Our Labor

3-in-1 citrus tree, three kiwis, and a banana tree gain some ground in pots.
Fruit trees are here! We wrote back in March about all the fruit trees we ordered to create a small orchard on Better Farm's property. A bunch of those trees arrived last week in various shapes and sizes, which means we've been very busy getting trees planted outside, starting some immature trees and vines in pots on the back deck, and preparing the grounds for the rest of our fruity arrivals.

Whether you order very young trees that need to go in pots first, or if you're planting directly into the ground outside, we've got a few basic recommendations.

Upon Arrival
Be sure to give your plants a great watering the second they arrive. They've been in transit a long time, and will be relieved to get some fresh air and a tall drink! If you can't plant your trees or plants as soon as you get them, store them in a cool, dark place for a day or two. If your tree arrives dormant (or in the case of evergreens), soak overnight in a bucket of water.

Whether starting them off in pots or digging out holes in the ground, make sure you give the roots plenty of room. Dig a hole three times the size of the root ball, or put the plant or tree in a pot that gives the roots full room to stretch out.

Give your plants a lot of yummy things to eat.  In the bottom of your hole or pot, put in some dead leaves, hay or straw, and a hearty scoop of fresh compost. Newspaper scraps, twigs, and even grass clippings are great too: the more stuff that rots, the better!
Lining the bottom of planter pots with cardboard, twigs, and compost.
When you're ready to plant, we recommend a mix of potting soil (aged compost is great for this), mixed in with something your particular tree or plant likes (depending on what kind of plant, you may want to add some lime, or a small handful of sawdust, or an organic fertilizer of your choosing).

Here are some very young trees (paw paws, apricots, cherry, banana, 3-in-1 citrus), vines (kiwis, angel lace, and hummingbird), and bushes ("Mosquito Shoo"—we'll see!) ready to party:
Cold-hearty kiwi vine
Our banana, 3-in-1 citrus, and mosquito-shoo bushes will live in pots permanently, but we'll likely need to transplant them in the next month or so into larger vessels:

Oh that's right, let's not forget 50 strawberry bushes! We're raising these babies on the back decks so the mice can't get to them. Sorry the photo is so blown out, the SUNSHINE on the deck is overwhelming today!

 To learn more information about the cold-hearty fruit trees we got, click here.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.