The Backyard Produce Orchard consists of 29 fruit trees, planted and tended by volunteersBYP-orchard.jpg to provide fresh fruit to local families in need. It is located on the grounds of Sunshine Care Assisted Living in Poway, California, adjacent to The Backyard Produce Garden.

A record of trees in the orchard is shown here.

Orchard Blog

Orchard Harvest Record

Photos

Orchard Volunteers


History
We started with a vision of our own set of fruit trees and picked a spot. Just to the west of The Backyard Produce Garden is a plot about 15 feet wide and 70 feet long. It slopes downhill toward the street and has the outlet of a concrete swale at the upper end of it. Rain water is diverted away above this point, but some still comes down to the orchard- a possible source of harvested rainwater. Something we may want to consider in the future.

We cleared the area and originally constructed seven 10' x 15' sections. Each section holds 4 trees and has a berm at the downhill side of it. These berms slow the flow of any water that comes down the slope and allow it to spread out and sink into the soil. We also installed a drip irrigation system to water the trees. Since the original planting, we have squeezed a few more trees in, so there is a section of 2 apple trees between the plums and peaches and a Mango tree at the top of the orchard. The mango was a gift and it is the odd tree in our collection because it is a tropical tree which does not go dormant in the winter like the others.

After the trees were planted, the area was covered with 3-4" of wood chips to slow evaporation and conserve water. The mulch will also nourish the soil as it breaks down.

Approach:
We are using the Backyard Orchard Culture method of planting and caring for these trees. They will be pruned to keep them small enough so that we can pick without ladders. Because of this, we planted the trees close together and can have multiple varieties with successive ripening times. This is so we can have a smaller amount of fruit at once, but a longer period when we do have fruit. For more information see the Dave Wilson Nursery website. Link to Dave Wilson's Backyard Orchard Culture Information

Other Useful information:

Pruning: A short primer on pruning can be found here: http://www.bhg.com/content/dam/bhg/PDFs/secure/pruningfruit.pdf

Other documents that we have put together can be found on my google drive at this link:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B4kpSLiDLWZzcGdMRC1Wa1IyU0E?usp=sharing