Just like major business corporations move into different territories, you too, can expand your homestead. While some businesses add or acquire new products, like Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, the same expansion opportunities are available to homesteaders. While a very different arena than a digital streaming service, agriculture remains the most important industry in the world.
Homesteaders, whether you produce vegetables, livestock or some combination of both, are just as vital today as they were in medieval times. Your farm operates largely in the same manner as any other business, except you depend on your products for your own livelihood. An orchard can serve as a positive and profitable expansion of your farm’s operation, adding value to your land and to your community.
Starting an Orchard Field
If you are planting a new orchard, then the location will be your first concern. It’s a long-term choice that you’re making, and it cannot be altered once too much time has passed. Next, you want to do proper research. Depending on what region you live in, you may introduce trees that will have a harmful effect on other plants in the area.
Start Small, Then Add More Trees
If you’re inexperienced with trees, you may wish to save time and money and purchase only two or three to start. This way you get a sense of the harvesting process, so by the time one or two reach adulthood, you’ll have the experience to nurture multiple trees.
Minding Your Orchard
You want to make sure you have the same type of trees on the same growth line. Growing trees requires specific types of nutrients, and growing different types of trees can result in contradictory growing methods. You want your orchard as productive as possible, with the same growth rates and no loss in fruit value.
Tools & Machines
You will not need to add too much to your equipment collection in order to expand your farm into an orchard. Much of the same upkeep and work your garden requires, your orchard will need as well. This is especially true in the beginning of the orchard’s development. Once you add more trees and prepare to harvest more fruit, you may want to research the options you have for used or rental orchard equipment.
Additional Benefits of Adding an Orchard
Expanding your farm into an orchard will not only benefit your farm’s diversity but also the environment as a whole. Trees’ contributions to the land include:
- Softening the surrounding landscape, vegetation and compost
- Additional carbon dioxide filtering in the area
- With the latest biological science breakthroughs, most fruit trees possess disease-resistant varieties that make controlling pests easier. This helps farmers reduce their dependence on or need for pest chemicals or procedures.
The dwarf variety of trees manage to produce fruit ripe enough to use or sell. The bonus is that they take up less than half the space of their full-grown counterparts. This means that a farmer can have multiple orchards in various locations, causing no disruption or contamination to the land and environment.
Improve What’s on the Table With an Orchard
Vegetables, meat, eggs and other farm products are staples for human dietary needs. As a homesteader, you want to be self-sufficient while also supplying yourself the best possible diet. That means getting a variety of foods, which is one reason adding an orchard with sweet fruits can benefit your diet. This makes diversification and expansion more of a choice for farmers than a business necessity.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with adding to the crops you’re capable of growing and harvesting, whether for personal use, for profit or both. It’s all value.