I was so crazy excited to be asked by Jendi of Mom Prepares to be interviewed about growing fruit trees. Then I really thought about it and got crazy nervous. My very first interview of this sort. Eek! Jendi is really sweet and I have loved going through her podcasts and listening to them. If you’d like to listen to mine, you can follow this link or download it from iTunes, Stitcher or Beyond Pod: http://momprepares.com/grow-fruit-trees/
I will apologize in advance. I had no idea that I say “um” a lot when I’m nervous. I asked the Super Awesome Husband why he had never told me that I do that, and his response was that I’m not nervous talking to him, so he didn’t know, but that I do say “whatnot” way too much. (insert eye roll) So from now on I’m going to be super self-conscience when speaking in front of groups or to people I don’t know so that I avoid “um” and “whatnot.” Hahaha! 😀
So, what do I have coming up around here??? We have some snow on the ground right now, but when things thaw out I’m going to do a short video tour of our little orchard, and take some before pictures as well. I have sooooo much to do out there once spring hits, so I thought it would be a lot of fun for everyone to be able to watch how much it is going to change over the next six months or so.
I am working on my garden plan for this year and taking inventory of my seeds before putting together my seed orders. I’m definitely bringing you guys along and sharing all of my plans. Surprisingly enough, it is also nearly time to start some seeds indoors. 🙂 So much fun! I hope you’ll, um, really enjoy it and whatnot. 😉
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).
Sorry. Sometimes when thinking of a blog post title I’m overcome with cheesiness. I can’t help it. I type the first stupid thing that jumps into my head and there’s no changing it, no coming up with a replacement, no tweaking it and making it better. It’s like it’s super-glued to the screen and can not be removed. My SEO scores are always ridiculously low because I don’t title posts properly and I can literally hear readers’ eyes rolling as they see the titles pop up. If I were to write a book one day, it would never get picked up by a publisher due to whatever stupid title I chose for it. I accept this flaw in myself and hope you still read my posts after you’re done rolling your eyes. 🙂
So we’ve had multiple crews from a tree removal service for the power company in our neighborhood for months now trimming the trees around our power lines. I left my address with no less than three of them begging them for a load or two of wood chips so that we could put a covering on the area in our woods (behind the garden) that we cleared this spring to make room for a little mini orchard. Nothing happened. My Super Awesome Husband talked to a crew one day and we got a huge load the very next day. I was soooo excited.
Then we got another load. WOWEE!! This is great, I thought. Exactly what we wanted!!
Then I came home to a third pile. Well, okay. Now we can maybe mulch a nice path along the fence so I can easily walk back to the orchard. By the time I came home to pile #4 I was starting to get concerned about all of the work involved in moving the chips. #5? They can’t possibly dump any more. That load needed to be shoveled and swept from the road. There is NO more room. WHAT must the neighbors be thinking??? #6 #@&#@ @#%&@@!!! Why are they still doing this? #7 I got home with the kids and stared at the mountain and laughed. It was beyond absurd at this point.
That last photo? Not all of it. They put some in the woods off to the left. There was no way possible for me to move it all with shovel and wheelbarrow like I had two years ago when I started Back to Eden gardening. We had to borrow a bobcat. I even got a visit from the HOA office at this point. “Good morning. Is, uh, this all yours? We’ve had a few complaints from your neighbors.” Nice. Gotta love HOAs. Luckily the bobcat was in the yard waiting for the weekend at this point, so I just gestured in that direction. I had to eventually put a sign in our yard so that they wouldn’t bring us any more.
I’m off topic again. Another flaw. I write the way I think. Welcome to my head. Scary, isn’t it? 🙂 Back to Eden gardening. Quite possibly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to watch this film. It’s free to view online, so you have no excuse whatsoever not to watch it yourself here. You can also purchase a copy if you aren’t able to watch it online, or if you’re like me and want watch it over and over. When you are done watching it five times, you’ll still want more, so I totally recommend the garden tour videos and interviews with Paul that are done by L2Survive on YouTube. You can find those here. If you fall completely in love with the idea and want to try it yourself, I am a member of an awesome group on Facebook that you can request to join here. Gardeners rock!
The method is sooooo simple. It just models nature. If you look in a forest, the ground is never bare. It is always covered with composting leaves, needles, plants and fallen trees. With this method you never, ever till (this makes someone in my house VERY happy), you just cover. If you are planting over weeds or grass you lay down a layer of newspaper, then compost (if you are planting right away) then wood chips. We are not talking bagged mulch or bark, but chipped branches of trees that are mostly leaves and needles. That is a very basic rundown. Watch the film to get all of the reasoning and see the results. For me it has meant very little weeding, hardly any watering, beautiful, healthy plants and delicious veggies. I can’t say enough wonderful things about it.
We used cardboard along the path we made to the orchard to block the weeds. We won’t be planting here, so I don’t have to worry about how long it takes to break down. All I wanted cleared was the area the cardboard is laying on, so I could walk back without having to walk down the road. The Super Awesome Husband cleared extra space to the left and I was THRILLED to have that extra room for some blueberry bushes and raspberry canes.
You can see little patches of weeds here and there, so they got a little cardboard treatment too.
Then the wood chip moving began.
Thank heavens for my Super Awesome Husband and this little machine.
I even got in on the action! When I wasn’t worried I’d run over one of my little trees or terrified I’d hit a big one, this was FUN!! 🙂
“Someone” had a moment of non-super-awesomeness and bent my little fig tree over. Hopefully it will be okay.
The path looks fantastic!! And look at all that extra space!! Woo Hoo!!
I have a lot of raking to do to smooth the piles a bit, but I was done being attacked by a bazillion chiggers, so that will save for a day this fall when the cold weather has killed the little demons. “Some” people are tired of my whining, but here we are five days later and I am still itching like a maniac with the pox. I don’t recommend it.
For the record, that’s a LOT of freakin’ wood chips people.
My magical little orchard at the edge of the forest. I’m so excited for the gifts it will provide.
Gardening really is a lesson in faith and hope and patience. You have to believe that all the work you do will lead to great reward, you must hope that everything goes well and that you’ve done all that you need, and you must wait patiently while the little trees sink their roots deep and bear fruit, or for the tiny seed to grow and flower.