I have a little cleared section of land that I am wanting to build an orchard with. So, the tree catalogs got me drooling.
I am so sick of how much good food (like raw fruit and vegetables) cost me at the store! Cherries are $8-$10 a bag!!! For the cost of 3 bags of cherries I can get a cherry tree or bush that will last me years and give more than 3 bags of cherries! And almonds cost $8 a large bag. For the cost of 4 bags you can buy an almond tree.
Saving money is my main reason for starting gardening. For some work and a bit of money, I can save money as long as I stay with my property for 4 or 5 more years. I am going to pick some of the things that cost me the most and start growing those. I am focusing on my orchard this year since it will take 2-3 years to get a crop.
The catalog I got was Stark Bro's. Their slogan: "Money grows on trees." Read their intro for this slogan:
"Now more than ever, it pays to grow your own. Just consider a single standard peach tree:
*A mature tree, when properly maintained, may bear 150 pounds of peaches per year.
*With peaches from local orchards selling for about $1.60 per pound in season, that's about $240 in peaches per year to enjoy and share with friends and neighbors.
*That same tree can be expected to bear a full crop for more than 20 years.
*That can be more than $4,800 in peaches all from a single tree costing less than $25 in our catalog."
What fruit I don't can or freeze, I will sell at the local farmer's market. I was lucky to buy a property with mature pear trees. Besides the boxes I gave away to friends and family, ate ourselves and rotted on the ground, I made one measly trip to the farmer's market, sold them for $.50/lb and made $15 and traded some for a pumpkin. The price of a pear tree is $25. If I had only went one more time, I most likely could have recouped my money for a pear tree. So, once my trees produce, I will take a few box loads to the farmer's market and most likely recover my purchase price.
Now, if you only have a small piece of land or no land at all, don't give up completely. They make dwarf sized trees and a few patio miniature trees that stay in pots or narrow trees that will grow in alleyway-like spaces for those with little or no land.