124: Tom Spellman on Backyard Orchard Culture Pt 1
Nurturing successful fruit harvests from a home orchard.
Tom has been involved in the nursery business since 1973. At that time, he was a freshman in high school and rode his skateboard to work. Since then he has worked for several different nurseries including Nogales Nursery where he learned landscape design, installation, irrigation and construction. Armstrong Nurseries where he worked with hybridizers, growers and retail on the weekends. La Verne Nursery which specializes in Avocado, Citrus, Sub-Tropical fruit trees and grafted ornamentals, where he was general manager for 20 years. And currently southwestern sales manager for Dave Wilson Nursery.
Dave Wilson Nursery is the largest grower of fruit, nut and shade trees in the USA. They grow 10,500,000 plus trees per year and ships wholesale worldwide. Over the past 20 years Tom has also done television, video, radio, written, conducted workshops and lectured on the concepts of Backyard Orchard Culture and fruit growing in general. Tom’s dedication and passion for quality fruit growing has taken him to dozens of states in the USA as well as several countries around the globe to consult and lecture on fruit trees and fruit growing concepts.
In this Podcast:
Greg and Tom share their passion for fruit trees and discuss some tips and suggestions for the backyard, or small orchard, grower. With decades of experience they talk about some important lessons learned about growing fruit trees for personal harvest. They explain the three concepts of backyard orchards and talk about how to help newly planted fruit trees survive the crucial first couple years after planting. Tom also shares some great stories including one about an epic grafting on a sad little lemon tree.
Listen in and Learn About:
- How he feels very luck to learn from some great mentors in the orchard business
- The difference between backyard and commercial orchards
- The benefits of having all the fruit ready at the same time vs successive harvesting and why
- What successive harvesting is and how to get it
- How to extend seasons by creating micro-climates
- How zones are limiting descriptions and your own observations are more important
- Tree size management and how that makes a difference in the harvesting
- How your own preferences are the deciding factors
- Why keep a tree to a size that works based on the fruit ripening times
- Three concepts to backyard orchard – successive harvest, size control, grow what you like and will use
- Why Bing Cherries are not recommended for the desert climate of the southwest desert
- Why knowledgeable nursery experts are important
- What grafting has to do with fruit trees
- Propagation and scions and how they affect the fruit production
- His epic grafting story with a sad lemon tree
- Shading and white washing depending on the climate
- What the biggest reason fruit trees are lost in the first year
- When to put trunk wash or shading on trees
- Cardboard trunk sleeves and how they work
- Mulch – how much, why, when, and benefits
- How to add soil biodiversity to tree roots and why
- How to reduce or eliminate the biggest chore in gardening
- Fertilizers and how high the nitrogen should be for the first couple years of growing fruit trees
- When to fertilize for the best health of the tree
Listen in to Part 2
To learn more as Tom tells us more about working at the Nursery and about what resources are available to the home orchard grower.
How to reach Tom:
www.DaveWilson.com – backyard growers section