Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Small Orchard

One of our first projects at the property was planting four fruit trees to start a small orchard in the far field on our hill. My lovely & thoughtful coworkers at Google gave Josh & I an orchard gift certificate as a going away gift, so a few weeks ago we brought home Macon apple, Honey Crisp apple, purple plum, and peach trees.

After mowing and measuring our orchard site, we dug four large holes about 1' deep by 3' wide each. We made sure the holes were at least 15-20' feet apart to allow for sun exposure & pruning space between the trees once they reach full size. One by one, we unballed the tree roots and planted the trees with a 2:1 mixture of dirt from our field and "moo doo" fertilizer from the orchard. We wrapped the trunk bottoms with plastic guards to prevent animals from nibbling the bark, then placed hay around the base of each tree to deter weeds from growing and depleting the soil of nutrients. Josh gathered hardwood branches from the woods and we split them and sharpened one end of each stick with a hatchet to make stakes. After the stakes were outfitted with staking wire, we arranged them just so and pounded them in place with a mallet. Josh ran a gravity fed drip hose from the overflow well pipe by the barn to provide a slow trickle of water to the hill. He's been walking to the orchard site every day to check on the trees and turn on the hose as necessary. If all goes as planned, I'll be sharing photos of ripe apples, peaches, and plums when the trees start baring fruit in a few years.

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