Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Orchard origins

Where the orchard is planned is probably the flattest area on the block with only the gentlest of slopes towards the dam.  It would have been the perfect spot for a vegie patch aside from the need to plan an expedition, pack rations and don hiking gear and a Nepalese basket just to fetch some ingredients for dinner.  The driveway curves deceptively gently into the area and out again, making it difficult to design a staggered layout without adjusting the driveway which involve far too much lugging around of heavy gravel and result in me doing more staggering than the trees.

We decided to start the first row at the narrowest part and work either down towards the dam or each side of the row in the hope that there would be enough room to stagger the trees.  On marking it out it won't quite work that way but we should be able to fiddle with the edge of the driveway just a tad to make it right.

We started with the row marked Pecan, although the citrus will actually be there instead.  Still deciding whether to do a row above or just continue down towards the dam
I was trying to fit all the fruit trees of one family (eg citrus, rosaceae) together in a row but I'm not sure this is going to happen now unless we massively expand the citrus collection or abandon the lime as we'll only fit four trees across in this row. No doubt the former would mean a huge haul of citrus right through winter that we would then need to ply on our neighbours, families, work colleagues and perhaps even complete strangers when desperation finally set in.  The deciduous trees (rosaceae - apples, pear, stone fruit) were planned to be closest to the dam so that the cool air would help them get as much chill time as possible in winter.  This means we'd better decide what's going in the middle before we make the final row.

Despite all these grand plans we've so far managed to dig the grand sum of a single hole (a much easier job here than at the last place - no broken tools this time), mix in some mushroom compost and, nearly a month later, buy the first tree: a Washingon Navel Orange.  Something tells me this orchard will be a very long-winded work in progress.  At the present rate we'll end up starting row two as the first tree starts to bear fruit!

Just because I like things to be on the difficult side, currently there's no water supply to the area so a new hose attachment to the dam pump will need to be sorted out soon unless the rain decides to arrive. There's only so many times I'm willing to walk a bucket from the house to the orchard especially as I discovered yesterday I may now have to run the gauntlet of a swooping butcher bird.

To add insult to injury, all the fruit trees at the old place exploded in flowers shortly after we left. It's almost like they're celebrating our departure.  The only consolation is that we can still go back to harvest them for a short while.

The Washington Navel Orange looking a little exasperated at having to put down new roots

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