Sunday, February 7, 2021

Progress on the little orchard.


I'm pretty much out at our property every weekend. Which is really saying something for someone who doesn't like winter. But once I get working, I don't really notice the cold. One of my ongoing projects is the area at the front of the property. I've been trying to find ways to use up the eleventy bazillion cement blocks from the collapsed (demolished?) logging office. Immediately in front of the cement pad, I put in a raised bed. No idea what I'm going to put in it, though. In the blocks in back and behind the bench I'm growing scallions. On either side I put in blocks for steps to make it easier to get to the garden.

Hard to see it, but this bed is made from cement blocks that were buried so solidly I could not dig them out. I have two blueberry bushes in the well in the middle. Other berries I've put in are three other blueberry bushes I transplanted from home, three little boysenberry bushes, and some red raspberry canes. I have some yellow raspberries on their way that I will add in. Oh, and both wild and domestic strawberries along the front fence.

I've corralled the wild blackberries along four trellises made from hog panels and garden stakes, and added some thornless blackberries transplanted from home. I had to move some of the wild blackberries to make them fit on the trellis and let me tell you, it's prickly work. 

And then there are the trees. I transplanted four fig trees from home. They've never done much, but someone suggested I mulch them deeply in the winter, so I did that and added clumps of moss. Earlier this year, I planted two persimmons, two pawpaws, an American plum, a chickasaw plum, a winesap apple, a Jonathan apple, and a Whitney crabapple. Yesterday in the mail I got the ten free flowering trees that came with my Arbor Day order, so I added two Sargent crabapples to help pollinate the winesap. (The other trees weren't fruit trees, so I planted them elsewhere on the property - two Washington Hawthorns, three redbuds and three dogwoods.)
The alpine strawberries I planted in the cement blocks along the old wall seem to be hanging in there.  I also added some fall blooming saffron crocuses so I can harvest my own saffron. The cat is always supervising my work. She likes to climb up the old metal window frames like a ladder and watch from the top of the wall, too.

Sometime in the next month or so I'll be getting some more fruit plants in the mail - four maypop vines to put on that fence and a bush apricot. A few others will be farther back on the property - another couple American plums and a red mulberry. And I have made a total of four of those cement block raised beds. They have layers of straw, leaves, and soil and I'm just letting the whole lot decompose while I decide what I'm going to do with them. Sweet potatoes in one, I'm pretty sure. Only one of the beds has anything in it - a friend gave me some sunchoke tubers and I planted those. I believe that's it. I know it will be a while before we start getting much fruit, but I'm excited to watch things develop this spring and summer.

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