Living in the Country

Mon Feb 03, 2003 11:56 pm

I guess I'll be the first to try this discussion page on for size. Can anyone tell me the do's and don'ts and why's to starting an apple orchard. I'd like to start one this spring on about a half-1 acre hillside land. It has been used as grazing pasture the last 6-7 yrs. Thanks for you input.

Tue Feb 04, 2003 12:24 pm

Jeff, I can't speak from personal experience, but a co-worker of mine purchased a home with an established apple orchard of about 2-3 acres in size. In fact, the orchard was the determining factor in the purchase. He worked the orchard for about 3 years getting it into shape and producing again. The amount of time and expense involved was staggering. He ultimately cut the entire orchard down to the ground. What he intended to be his hobby became a real burden as he was raising a family at the same time. Maybe it'll work out differently for you, but it will be a lot of work. There are several orchards around me and I can see that if they are left alone and not maintained, they will soon stop producing.

Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:15 pm

I won't add a whole lot at this point. One suggestion, check with local sources (like the Extension Service) for the right varieties to plant. With most fruits, you need varieties that are adapted to your local climate. Life isn't long enough to wait for trees to reach maturity and have to start over.

Re: Living in the Country

Tue Feb 04, 2003 8:05 pm

Jeff wrote:I guess I'll be the first to try this discussion page on for size. Can anyone tell me the do's and don'ts and why's to starting an apple orchard. I'd like to start one this spring on about a half-1 acre hillside land. It has been used as grazing pasture the last 6-7 yrs. Thanks for you input.


I have grown fruit trees for many years for my own use, mostly. And it is a lot of work , pruning, spraying, spraying, spraying, etc. I do the best I can, but the fruit is not perfect, scabs, bites, etc. I believe that most growers plant dwarf trees nowadays. Optimum usage of trees/apples per acre. I really like to work the trees, but I also neglect the trees at times when I have been busy. I grow about 20-30 of apple, pear, cherry, peach trees. It's rewarding but not very profitable when looking at your hourly wage.

Sat Feb 08, 2003 9:49 pm

Jeff, I started my orchard about eight years ago with just six trees, then six years ago I added almost sixty more. I have apples, pears, peaches, plums, and had (but lost) cherries and apricots. All my trees are dwarf. If given decent conditions, dwarf trees will start producing in about three to four years, which mine did. I have stayed all organic in my orchard, but to do that you have to accept a lot more imperfections than what you get from the store. If you have any questions, feel free to email me, Ryan

Sun Feb 09, 2003 7:43 am

Thanks for the info guys. Understand that alot of time and effort will be involved. But a couple sayings come to mind, "Alittle hard work never hurt anyone" and "Nothings worth doing unless its worth doing right". I'll let you know when I'm sippin on that first cup of fresh pressed apple cider. jk

Tue Feb 11, 2003 6:53 am

Hey Jeff...Sounds like you're buildin' yur very own apple cider press, or restoring an old one. I've got got a two bucket original, cast iron apple cider press and grinder that was made in the late 1800's in Lancaster, Ohio
by the Eagle Machine Company :D . It does a GREAT job of grinding and pressin' sweet apple cider. If you're up near Winchester, VA..that's the apple country capital of Virginia! I can tell you that nothin' beats the taste of your own, fresh-pressed apple cider, without any preservatives...with a jigger of Maker's Mark, over crushed ice...it's EVEN BETTER :wink:

apple cider press

Tue Feb 11, 2003 8:25 am

Years ago I bought a cider press kit from GardenWay, if I remember correctly, which did a pretty good job. But I am looking for an original. I freeze the cider in plastic jugs, and it tastes great after several months. I guess a person could allow some of it to sit on the back porch for while for an extra punch. :!:

Finding An Apple Cider Press

Wed Feb 12, 2003 5:30 am

I was very lucky in searching for my Eagle Machine Apple Cider Press. :wink: I went on EBay a couple of years ago, and there were several. The one I liked the most was the one I finally got. It had been in the same family since it was NEW! Purchased by the man's Father and then passed down to him (he was 75 at the time I bought it). I'm very proud to be only the second family that's owned the press, since it was NEW :D ! The wood has been re-stocked only once. It was done in oak and is in GREAT condition...everything else is original. In fact, the wooden hopper on top of the grinder, still has the original stencil visable! A very good friend of mine here in Tennessee (who also presses apple cider at shows) has several cider presses that he has restored. If you're located in Ohio...that's where the BEST ones were made (Eagle Machine / Hocking Valley- BOTH made in Lancaster, Ohio). My came from Masillion, Ohio. If I were looking...that's where I'd start FIRST! :lol:

Apple Cider Press

Wed Feb 12, 2003 11:43 pm

I haven't got my hands on a cider press yet. I always keep an eye out for one at auctions and sales. I've found a few new ones in catalogs (e.g Lehman's Non-Electric), but i'd much rather have an older one. Sounds like I need to use some contacts in Ohio on those Eagle Machine presses. Thanks for the tip. jk

Thu Feb 13, 2003 5:01 am

Jeff...I'll keep my eye out for one and let you know if there are any in this neck of the woods! :o

Apple Cider

Sat Feb 15, 2003 12:25 am

Thanks Country, I can almost taste it now. Hey, did I tell yas I have family in OH-HI-O? Uncle is Commissioner of Ohio State Athletics (OSHA).
Thanks, jk

Sat Feb 15, 2003 8:19 am

I had a italian plum it over produced one year, split and died...
as did the peach....their tuff to grow up here..I have tried dwarf cherry
and grapes...but they drown...I currently have a johnathan apple, pear,plum, and lots of different types of trees all thriving.
really poor old growth oak forest soil. used to be a alfalfa plot I hear.

Sat Feb 15, 2003 8:28 pm

Time for my two cents:

Em, my wife is the real gardener. I just do the honey do work. We have a Stella Cherry, 2 Damson Plums, (one of which was supposed to be a pear), 4 apple trees - varieties unknow to me at present - although one is a snow apple (grew wild along the road in the ditch, had a high-hoe dig it up 2 years ago - wife gave it a hair cut - looks weird but is producing nicely) 4 Choke Cherries and 4 grape vines. All are doing nicely especially the Plums.

Each summer we have gotten about 2 bushels of plums from the one tree. The second one is just starting to produce - third year now. The Cherry we have had a lot of trouble with, almost lost it twice, but now seems to be thriving.

Hoping there has not been too much damage from the Ice Storm this past week. We do spray them, prune them and give them a little tlc, lots of work, but boy do the fruits taste sweet, much better than store bought.

With the gardens, lawn, trout pond as well as the wood lot, the little orchard is a bit much and can get forgotten for a few weeks, but it is surviving and growing. We plan to add a pair of Peach trees and a pair of Pear trees this year as well.

Will post pictures in the spring.

This side of the board might get to be a little interesting! :)

Fruit Trees

Mon Feb 17, 2003 11:19 pm

To date we have 2 red cherry trees, which are tart and the birds seem to enjoy them before they are ever ripe enough to pick, 1 plum, we had two but one of them, the best one, go black knot disease and had to cut her down, 1 very old persimion tree that always has a good yield but we haven't gotten up the nerve to use the fruit for anything. Even after the first heavy frost these things are still very tart. Talk about puckerin your mouth. 3 apple trees, 1 red delicious and the other two not sure--think MacIntosh or Granny Smith. They always have plenty of fruit and provide for canned applesause and candied apples thru winter. There are several orchards in the area, we are at the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley which is known for producing nice apple orchards. I thought maybe starting a small one myself and try raising it the organic way to offer something different to the area. jk