Douglass, TX – Fruit tree nurseryman Trey Watson has been in the business for over 10 years, but he’s never seen a year like this. As 2020 shapes up to be a year of extremes, something else is seeming to grow stronger in the nation’s gardeners: the desire to grow their own fruit.
“I don’t know if it’s the shortages we saw on some items earlier in the year or the fact that people have more leisure time, but people are wanting fruit trees,” Watson said recently, from his farm East Texas. “It’s like everyone is wants more control over their food supply.”
According to Greenhouse Grower magazine, Americans have been spending an average of 2 hours a day more outside during the coronavirus shutdowns than before, and much of that extra time has been spent in the garden. Watson is seeing the trend of more urban and suburban homeowners becoming involved in gardening. “Many of our customers are new to fruit trees this year,” he said. “It’s exciting to see more people becoming involved in gardening and fruit tree cultivation. A store bought apple doesn’t hold a candle to a homegrown, tree-fresh apple from your own tree.”
Watson recommended that new gardeners check with their local agriculture extension office for fruit tree variety recommendations for their specific area. “Not every variety of fruit tree grows in every area,” Watson cautioned. He said county extension agents often keep lists of fruit tree varieties that work in a specific locale, often based on the results of trials in that area. Your local nursery can also help with variety selection. “We help our customers select the best varieties for their growing area,” Watson said. “And of course the internet has some specific recommendations for certain areas.” His fruit tree nursery is Legg Creek Farm, LLC. The nursery has a website with variety and fruit trees care information (www.leggcreekfarm.com). Watson says they’ve received hundreds of calls this year so far inquiring about fruit tree varieties. “There are always a lot of new varieties,” he said. “We test some of those, but we recommend the varieties that have a solid track record.”
Fruit trees and berry plants have been in high demand at several local nurseries we spoke with. They also pointed out that vegetable seed packs have also been popular.
“There is a lot of demand this year for fruit trees,” Watson said. “I expect it to stay this way for awhile. 2020 has been a wild year, and I don’t blame anyone for trying to get more control over where their food comes from.”
To find your local county extension office, click here: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/extension-search