Saturday, July 12, 2014

an orchard

about a week or so ago i got around to putting some fruit trees in the ground.  some of them will be grown as espaliers on trellises and some will just be kept small and kind of bushy.   we don't eat much fruit but we do enjoy it so my plan is to grow a wide variety of fruits but not a huge quantity---basically lots of small trees so we get a taste of everything we like but don't make ourselves fat and sick on fruit sugar.  smaller trees means easier pruning and harvesting too---i've never been much for ladders in the orchard.

so far i've got 13 trees planted on the east end of the garden between the squash beds and fence.  i'll probably put some more trees in on the west side along with some blueberries, artichokes, and other perennials, then fill in the center of the garden with more veggie beds.  

here's how things are looking...

looking south

looking north

each tree was planted in a wire basket (staal was a huge help making the baskets) and each hole was partially filled with small oak logs (that staal cut while trimming the dead wood out of the trees and making our 6 fire safe and sexy), grape prunings, dried weeds pulled from the veggie beds, horse manure, and some rock dust (to supply some minerals the soil test showed to be needed here).  the process is sort of a modification of hugelkultur like i did with the raised beds in the kitchen garden.  as the logs rot they'll slowly release fertility to the growing trees.

hole being prepared for planting

'bartlett' pear getting cozy

the trees are looking good...

'black mission' fig
while staal was courting me, he used to send me fruit from his trees in isleton.  i'm not the kind of girl you send flowers, but a box of pears---the man knew what he was doing.  he sent me some of his 'fuyu' persimmons and got me hooked (on the fruit and probably on him as well).  so i planted a 'fuyu' here because i love them and because they remind me of the love parcels staal used to send.

picture taken in 2012 by anna friedland---staal picking persimmons from his tree in isleton to send back with her to the ranch in catheys valley

newly planted 'fuyu jiro' persimmon
i enjoyed planting and working in the orchard at the friedland ranch in catheys valley and have wanted an orchard of my own for years...pretty exciting to be making that happen now.  many of the trees starting this orchard were purchased with a gift certificate given to us by fred and kerstin friedland (thank you) when staal and i were married.  
i don't know how i wound up so fortunate---i try not to question it and just be grateful.  when staal would come visit before we were married he'd listen to me go on about chickens and gardens and orchards and tell me he wanted me to have it all.  he took me to look at house after house---to find a place where we could be together and i could have a garden.  and when i fell in love with this sunny little place he did everything he could to make it ours.  and now he takes care of this place and he takes care of me and lets me spend my days grubbing in the garden and listens to me go on about chickens and gardens and orchards.

thank you, staal.  i love you.

staal and our new 'fuyu'