I previously did some analysis on the profitability of vegetables in your garden and there have been requests as well as my own curiosity of how fruits would stack up against fruit trees/bushes.
To keep things simple I made the assumption of fruit trees/bushes are fully mature with maximum yields. So please take into account that you will see some variance throughout the years. I have also used the fair market retail value of fruit when purchased by the pound, obviously all of these could be purchased cheaper by the bushel…but many of us you live in urban areas it can be difficult to make these discounted large purchases nor consume 48 lbs. of apples before they go bad.
After a crunched the numbers I was a bit surprised and happy to see blueberries at the top of the list. I have four blueberry plants already in the ground and two more waiting to be planted. Though one asterisk for this plant is that is take 3-4 years to really start producing but you get several years of good production and by buying a variety of plants with different harvest times, so unlike many other fruits you do not get a huge supply of fruit all at the same time.
Overall fruit compared to vegetables provides a similar range of harvest value depending on the variety. There are a couple of differences that should be taken in to consideration:
- Space: Fruit trees/plants range from a little over a square foot to over 60 square feet per planting
- Time to Maturity: It can take several years for some trees to become mature and start producing high yields.
- Size of Harvest: You could see hundreds of lbs. of produce within a couple weeks. You will need to determine a means to actually use this (canning, pies, forcing on neighbors)
- Commitment: Unlike annual vegetables if you decide you really don’t care for the produce it can be time intensive and expensive to switch out an apple tree for a difference variety.
|Apple (Standard)||$ 6.64|
|Apple (Semi-Dwarf)||$ 6.40|
|Pear (Standard)||$ 2.90|
|Apple (Dwarf)||$ 2.35|
|Pear (Dwarf)||$ 2.10|
|Cherry (Sour)||$ 1.13|
|Cherry (Sweet)||$ 0.84|
As always the common sense principles apply:
- Grow what you like to eat
- Cost is only one factor to consider, you can’t beat real fresh produce