Orchard Update


Karrie SteelyWhen my partner and I first started talking about an orchard last year, I had visions of bountiful, overflowing baskets of fruit, lots of pies, canning, and sharing with family and friends. Reality hit quickly when I realized that it would take several years before we could count on fruit production. Undeterred, we decided to jump in and give it a go. But last fall our orchard got off to a rough start.

We had picked an area in town between his shop and our old-church-turned-art-studio to put in fruit trees and bushes. We figured that since we’d be in town on a daily basis, it would be a nice place for the orchard. We bought the plants in containers late in the season, when they were on sale. Most of them were root bound, but we thought we’d give them a try anyway. Two out of six trees survived, and three out of four berry shrubs made it. Good thing most places have a “no questions asked” return policy on plants!

a hole

Then, plans changed, and we decided we needed a building for the equipment we use for the wheat cleaning business. The surviving trees and shrubs had to be dug up, which was done in the late fall after they had lost their leaves. We put them in 5-gallon buckets and stuck them in the church basement, where they spent a cool but unfrozen winter, being watered every few months.

ready to plant

Amazingly, they were all alive this spring (you could tell because the twigs were springy and green inside). This year we ordered bare root trees and shrubs through the Internet. After clearing a few acres of an old tree lot on the farm down the hill from where we are building the house, I got to work planting the new orchard. The soil out there is fantastic, and it’s in a little bit of a protected hollow, so we’re hoping it is a good spot.

4/19/2015 6:48:35 AM

I have also started my own planting of fruit trees. I am starting with several peach saplings mainly because they were free! I will be adding at least two different pears, two different apples, figs and grapes. There will also be at least 50, and I am hoping for 100, blue berry bushes. Those will be income producing I hope. One acre, by hand and no power machinery other than a tiller and a lawn mower. Oh and my chain saw! LOL I hope to hear from you about your growing adventures! Sincerely, Jim jwbgso@aol.com

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