Liberty is not a big producer, also needs tree pruned in an open fashion so sun can get to places it needs to. Its nice if you want a speciman organic apple tree you dont have to spray. Look at Pristine. Its resistant to every disease out there, fast growing, and very productive. Just remember its a summer apple so not the tastiest and doesnt keep long time, you would need to dry it, can it, or whatever. Oh and if you are going to go for grafted trees, pay attention that your rootstock is as hardy as your scion. You also want full size trees if water is problem. Dwarf trees need more care and watering. Doesnt matter if its fenced backyard in suburbs, but it sure does if you are out in rural area without plentiful water. Thats why I got interested in Antanovka with its deep taproot, I dont have lot summer water available, sometimes my well goes dry in summer. Once Antanovka gets established it seems to survive even in severe drought summers with no watering.Apple trees are a definite choice. Liberty apples are the most disease resistant, but require other varieties for pollination. .
Yep water is a biggie so long as you dont get floods, you are golden. Again rootstock is as important as the scion. When I moved here 30 years ago, planted a full size Snow Apple, (antique variety). It got big enough to produce bushel apples one year. Then few weeks later it fell over. Yep, dogwood borers liked the rootstock it was on, nothing bothered the upper part of tree. they destroyed root and nothing i could do in middle of summer to save it. If it had survived until it went dormant, would had chance of grafting scion from it. Course back then didnt know that much about apples. I frankly just figured apples werent good idea here and gave up on them for twenty years.Stark's says Pristine is an early apple ripening in mid-July. I plan on using a solar dehydrator for the apples, so that would fit in well with summer dehydration. My water table is about 12 feet down with several creeks and a spring. If anything, too much water here.
I also am in zone 6B Cumberland Plateau of Tn. I grow peaches Georgia Belle, and Blood Red Indian both older heirlooms that seem to be able to beat the notorious late frosts of my area. Also grow both the Choctaw and Sand plums. Both native varieties. Sand plums especially bloom late and are hardy in my sandy soils and I get crops every year with a minimum of spraying and fuss. Native Catalpas provide fish bait from the Catalpa worms and chicken feed if necessary. Two Mulberry trees. Blackberry and grape on the fences. 2 large established asparagus beds. Blueberries do very well, as do Nanking cherries. I also have Service Berry trees also a native edible. I have 6 Chicago hardy figs. in the more wooded part of my property 4 large hickory nut trees and 8 large oaks. At the edge of those shaded canopies are shade loving currants, gooseberries, Pawpaw trees and Cornelian cherry which is actually a shade tolerant native dogwood and Highbush cranberry ( viburnum) These are all hardy and pretty well care free. I get reliable crops pretty well yearly with no care. In a damper area of the garden I have 4 large elderberry. These are both edible and medicinal. Also in the damper area is the native Mayhaw a small native tree that makes great jellies. I also grow rhubarb and a large strawberry patch.My list had: squash, turnips, beans, potatoes, kale, sugar beets, sunflowers, corn, mulberries, and strawberries. All researched for suitability in my climate. If these are "gimmicky", then what isn't?