Peopele are used to a small selection of apples available from supermarkets: a couple that are red, a green one and perhaps a slightly yellow one. When faced with our 80+ varieties, no wonder there is confusion on which ones to get.
The short answer is that you will need to choose for yourself. Tastes vary so much between people - when we do apple tastings, it's amazing how different people respond to the same fruit.
Look at things from our point of view for a moment. Of the three or four thousand apple varieties in existence, we at home have an orchard of some 400 varieties that we think are excellent and worth growing for preserving into the future. From these, we have distilled some 70-90 varieties for sale that we think they are so special that they deserve to be in other people's gardens as well. Amongst them are a broad range of colours, tastes, sizes, shapes, textures and flavours. From the common to the eclectic, the historic to modern, early to late ripening, vigorous to delicate, and those that are good for cooking, eating, drying, juicing, or cider. Each has it's own merrit.
So to help your decision, we have done our best to describe each and include a photo. Some people prefer to start with only a few trees and then plant more in a couple of years, then get some more once they have got the hang of it. Some want something conservative while others want what no-one else has. Whatever you end up choosing, there is nothing that comes close to the pleasure of growing your own food.
This depends on what you wish to drive between them. If it's a tractor or ute (eg for mowing, harvesting, pruning or mulching) then leave between 3-4m if they are espaliered. A metre wider if they are free standing. If you plan to only walk between the rows, leave at least 2m.
Most fruit trees do well either way, but grapes tend to be more fickle. We find more important is the vehicle access and drainage if on a slope. Planting across the contour of a slope may pool water, and cause water-logging in high rainfall area. Vehicles drive less well across the slope unless it is terraced.
This depends on which root stocks they are grown on and which variety you are talking about, as they all have different vigor. Apple trees on dwarfing stock can be espaliered to be kept to 2m tall, as can the cherries, quinces and pears. If grown free standing, apples on dwarf tree will grow 2.5-3m. Semi-dwarfing apples will grow 3-4m. Pears and quinces free standing will grow 2.5-3.5m high. Nectarine, plums and apricot are grown on non-dwarfing stock and depending on conditions and pruning, can grow 3-5m, although they can be kept a bit shorter by using a trellis system or a fan espalier. See our article on plums and apricots.
Our experience with growing fruit trees has always been best when planted in the open ground. They will however survive in a pot, preferably a large one, with an automatic watering system to safe-guard drying out. Don't use this method to grow a tree on for 3-4 years then transplant it out: this could be a bigger job than just starting afresh with a new tree. Read more in our Potted Fruit article.
Fruit trees generally need some winter chill, so the more tropical and humid you are, the less likely that these more temperate varieties will do well. Apples will grow inland as far north as Stanthorpe / Tenterfield and the Granite belt in QLD. Right on the coast, Nowra in NSW is probably the northern limit, but further north 5-50km inland might be that bit cooler to allow fruit trees to grow. See our section on low-chill varieties on this page. The best guide is what is growing around you - if neighbours have had luck growing fruit trees, there's no reason why you wont too.
We have some varieties that tolerate warmer climates. These are either Australian and New Zealand varieties for example Bonza, Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Lady Williams, Pink Lady, Red Gala, Rome Beauty, Sundowner. In terms of pears, Corella is fairly low chill. Most of this list are low chill requirement varieties.
Yes! We need to treat the trees prior to sending to satisfy new quarantine regulations. A small fee ($7) is already included in the packaging and postage charge. This covers the cost of spraying the trees before leaving the nursery with a quarantine officer supervising who then issues a certificate. Up until 2009, importing into WA meant paying about $55 per tree to grow on the trees over 6 months at Quarantine. Luckily this is no longer the case.
We do not have a retail nursery that operates to the public, as most of our business is done by mail order. However, you may visit us and have a look at our garden. The best time of year for this is Summer - Autumn, when there is plenty of fruit on the trees. Winter suits us less as we are busy propagating trees, packing orders and the garden can get a bit muddy in places. Best to contact us first for an appointment.
The postage rates for our parcels are very reasonable. It would probably cost you more in petrol to pick your trees up from us unless you live in the lower channel area. Otherwise we are happy for you to pick up the parcel in winter, but we are generally flat out packing trees during the limited daylight hours. If you wish to see the trees in fruit, it's better for you to come during Summer and Autumn when the ground isn't muddy and we're not so flat out.
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