planting an orchard or a mini-vineyard.

Asked July 30, 2018, 9:06 AM EDT

I have a large fenced in vegetable garden (35' x 25'), but I'd like to switch it to a mini-orchard. I live in Shady Side, A.A. County, where it's flat with relatively poor drainage, though I've added 6 inches of good soil over the years. It's in full sunlight. What types of semi-dwarf or dwarf fruit trees should I consider? I figure I can fit 6 semi-dwarf trees in, and they don't all have to be the same fruit. I've also thought of planting wine grapes instead. Which varietals would grow best in my locale? I've heard that the richness of my soil would work against me for growing wine grapes...that I could expect to get lush foliage, but not much in the way of fruit. Any thoughts?

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

No fruits or vegetables will grow well in a poorly drained area. If you want to continue to grow vegetables you should consider raised beds. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/learn/raised-beds

It is difficult to grow fruit trees in Maryland as they are susceptible to insect and disease issues. Eventually you will have to be diligent about spray schedules and careful management. If you want to plant tree fruits, consider Japanes persimmons like 'Fuyu' and figs which will require winter protection. Here is our website on tree fruits. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/tree-fruits

If you can increase the drainage in that area consider, small fruits like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Grapes require a well drained soil and a spray schedule for black rot, a fungal disease and insect issues.
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/small-fruits

mh