Sunday 22 October 2023

Why Grow So Many Of The Same Variety?

 So there is a question I get asked at my talks more than any other - Why do I have so many varieties?

I use it! Or try to at least...

I try to give a good answer in the video above, but basically people look at it all wrong. Yes in a good year I'm aiming to have far too much fruit, but that's because I'm planning for the bad years - when we might have just enough. Our trees are at a maximum 12 years old (not even just yet) so we're still not at the peak cropping time for them, but it's good that we've already had some great harvests. 

We seem to get through fruit at an alarming rate in our household. Perfect for snacks or for cooking into a pudding (or for diabetic hypo treatment), it's not cheap when you have to buy it. That's why I've invested so much time, energy and money into getting our orchards and fruit trees being productive. 

A tray of different fruit all from my cordon apple trees that line the veg garden

The sheer number of varieties we have hedges our bets even further. This year is a perfect example of that where a lot of the trees seem to be taking a break after a heavy year last year, but a few have still cropped really well. This is particularly true in amongst my cordon apple trees, where a couple of the trees produced over a trayful (40cm x60cm) each, whilst the rest only produced a few apples this year. But even a few apples each adds up (check out the picture above to see what can be gathered from a few trees on a go-slow year). 

It great for taste as well, some of the apples taste so different to other ones, as well as giving us the longest season, by having early fruit, late fruit and fruit for storage and preserving. 

Part of me would love to plant all the pasture to fruit here, but I think that would probably turn out to be a high time input enterprise where the money we could get from it wouldn't match what I could earn when I work with wood. So for now I'm concentrating on making sure I add to the fruit we have here every year to supply our families needs. I've just ordered over 20 pear trees to add to another area I've been working on the last few years and another 9 varieties of gooseberry! Should make for a fun winter with plenty to do out on the smallholding. 

How many varieties of the same fruit do you have? 


  1. I would love an apple tree, but our garden is small and full, we always know when our 3 young grandchildren have visited, the fruit bowl is always empty. It's good they choose fruit over crisp and biscuits.

    1. They still eat the crisp and biscuits here, but fruit is normally a pretty strong option for them here.

  2. As I said on YouTube, excess fruit is also a great way to keep/help/make friends. We give a lot of our excess away.

    We are in the process of starting over and don't have a lot of extra room left for a lot of varieties of one fruit. Instead we are filling up the area with a lot of different fruits and are just counting on preserving a lot in excess years to last through lean years of any particular fruit.

    But if I had my way, I would have acres of fruit trees of all different kinds. To efficiently do that here though, I would have to put a deer proof fence around all those acres and that is a lot of work that doesn't interest me at the moment. Maybe when I win the lottery and can afford a full time orchard care taker/picker!

    1. The deer are starting to get worse here, it's the muntjac that seem to be the problem and I see them being as bad as the grey squirrel in the not so distant future. Happily they'll destroy a tree for a bit of easy grazing.


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