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From planting to harvest. How to care for your fruit trees, with Suzan Poizner

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The growing popularity of permaculture food forests and backyard multispecies orchards is part of a movement that I’m 110% in support of. Any addition of native and food producing plants in diverse multispecies configurations is a wonderful thing.

I want to see as many people as possible find success with these plantings, and that’s why I’ve been a bit concerned by the way that many designers and landscapers oversell the benefits and expectations to people who want to plant their first fruit trees and expect to get a yield from them. 

That isn’t to say that it’s a ton of work and you shouldn’t expect to get meaningful harvests from your fruit trees, but I want to make sure that first time growers have realistic expectations of the maintenance and growth cycles of their fruit trees so they can manage the and find the success they’re looking for.

Caring for a fruit tree or small orchard is a growing journey for both the plants themselves and the people who care for them, and to shed light on the full journey of growing fruit trees I got in touch with Suzan Poizner. 

Susan is an urban orchardist in Toronto, Canada and the author of the award-winning fruit tree care book Growing Urban Orchards. She is an instructor of Fruit Production at Niagara College in Ontario and the creator of the award-winning online fruit tree care training program at www.orchardpeople.com. Susan is also the host of The Urban Forestry Radio Show and Podcast and an ISA Certified Arborist.

In this conversation Suzan and I talk about the differences between caring for a few fruit trees or a small community orchard in the city, and what most people associate with orchard maintenance in a farm context.

From there we go methodically through the essential considerations of selecting fruit tree varieties for both resilience and production, planting considerations to give them the best conditions to start with, maintenance and pruning in the early years to ensure vigorous growth, tips and tricks to increase harvests and fruit quality, and a whole lot more.

We even talk about Suzan’s learning journey in developing a community orchard and some of the unexpected challenges that came up. 

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