I can not tell you how long I have wanted a little fruit orchard. The idea of growing baskets of apples and pears, peaches and cherries makes my heart go pitter-pat. Wanting to provide these three little people with the healthiest food possible does not just mean veggies to me. When the Super Awesome Husband said we could clear out a little area in the woods for a mini orchard I was over the moon. I knew I wanted to set it up Back to Eden film style using wood chips and grow everything organically, but I was kind of stumped as to how to deal with pests and disease and how to best attract and keep pollinators.
About a week after we put down all of those wood chips I was reminded of a documentary I had wanted to watch by a fellow gardener. (Thanks Brad, if you’re reading)!!! Once again the timing was perfect. The film was beautiful and I was overwhelmed by the possibilities. I watched it three times over the next four days. Obsess much??? 🙂 It was exactly what I was looking for, and meshed perfectly with the method I was using. Can’t really ask for more than that!
The documentary is called The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic. I had an idea of what permaculture was prior to watching the film, but I had no clue what it looked like in action or just how much there was to it. If you don’t know what permaculture is, (and WordPress clearly doesn’t since it is giving me the red underlines of idiocy every time I type it) in the simplest terms it just means working with, rather than against nature in a sustainable manner. They used the term in Back to Eden, but before then I had never heard of it. No chemical pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides always gets my attention. 🙂
This would probably be a more exciting post in the spring when I could fill it with pictures of flowers and pretty herbs, but since I am starting to implement this now, and we just talked about starting the orchard, I thought I’d go ahead and share. We’ll be doing tons more in the spring, so I promise you’ll get all those pretty pictures. So I KNOW 😉 you are just dying to know what I’ve done so far. My order of garlic (Music variety) that I placed in the spring just came in, and I went to my local farm stand and bought another bulb of the yummy garlic we’ve been enjoying from them. I’m planting a full bulb’s worth of cloves of each of those in various places around my trees. Yummy for us, but will help to ward off animals and insects. I also got my hands on some Egyptian Walking Onions that I am going to plant out there as well, for the same reason as the garlic. It’s a neat little plant that I’ve wanted to try since last fall. The longer I garden, the more interested I become in finding as many perennial (comes back every year) or self re-planting (I believe I have warned you I make up words and terms all the time, so don’t write to me about self re-planting 🙂 ) plants that can help me create a wonderful, sustainable garden with less effort and money on my part.
I divided up some of my chives and oregano that were really
out of control growing too well in my window box and needed to be pulled out to give them some space. Some of my strawberry runners that had rooted in the wrong places got dug up and also put out there. I found some Yarrow, Salvia and Echinacea (coneflower) neglected and unloved on a clearance cart at the nursery. They aren’t pretty now, but they should come back beautifully next year, and the bees and butterflies will love them.
Diversity is very important in permaculture. Mono crops are causing so many problems with disease and pests. Our little orchard already has many different varieties of apple trees, but will also have peach, pear, mulberry, fig, plum, cherry, crab apple and paw paw. I know choosing varieties of trees has been a struggle of mine, and I have done tons of reading and taken lots of suggestions. I am going to add a page to the blog here with a list of all of the varieties of trees and plants in the orchard for you all to use as a reference. It’ll be an ongoing process, and I’ll update it with pros and cons and opinions regarding growth and fruit production and taste as time goes on. Hopefully it will be helpful for some of you with your decisions when you plant.
Much, much more on this to come. If you would like to watch the film, I am going to attach the trailer right below, or you can order and watch here (This post does NOT contain any affiliate links. I am not being compensated for sharing this film in any way. The same applies to the Back to Eden film. I just find them both wonderful and am using their methods in my gardens and want to share).
The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic
Have a great week everyone!!