74: Stella Otto on Backyard Fruit Trees
Stella Otto got her first taste for fruit growing during annual family outings to the U-pick orchards of western Massachusetts. After receiving a B.S. in horticulture from Michigan State University, she worked at one of largest fruit tree nurseries in the U.S, a major tart cherry orchard near Traverse City, Michigan, as well as in her own diversified fruit farm in northern Michigan.
Stella has authored two books, the award-winning The Backyard Orchardist: A complete guide to growing fruit trees in the home garden and The Backyard Berry Book: A hands-on guide to growing berries, brambles, and vine fruit in the home garden. She can also be found cultivating fruit gardening information on her blog The Backyard Fruit Gardener.
She has written freelance articles for numerous magazines, appeared on the Discovery Channel, and been interviewed on National Public Radio and other gardening radio programs. Stella presently cultivates a fruitful family garden and enjoys her horses and cats on a 10-acre homestead in northern Michigan.
One of the keys to success according to Stella: Spend a year to really prepare your soil, then your tree will really thrive! And Greg and Stella agreed: Know where you’re getting your trees from, and be wary of purchasing from big box stores.
Interested in growing fruit trees? Check out her book, The Backyard Orchardist: A complete guide to growing fruit trees in the home garden, 2nd Edition
Her book recommendations include Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, anything by Michael Pollan (such as The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World and Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual), and The Intelligent Gardener by Steve Solomon.
Where can you find Stella?
StellaOtto.com (if you subscribe to her website, each month Stella will choose one person on her email list to give personal advice!)