I have two areas set aside for growing fruit which I guess could loosely be described as orchards. And what I learnt today is that they are difficult to photograph (for me anyway).
The first orchard is mostly well established and provides us with some of our fruit but although I dream of self reliance as far as food goes, realistically it isn't going to happen in the orchard. If I went down that road I wouldn't be eating a mango or banana again and I really want mangoes and bananas in my diet. Last summer we wouldn't have eaten much fruit at all if I relied on the orchards. It was a dismal year for the fruit because I couldn't spare the water for them so they survived rather than thrived and the fruit that set went mostly to the birds who were hungry in the lean year too.
This year looks a little better. The leaky tank is mended so there should be enough water for us, the livestock, the garden and the trees.
The newer part of the orchard is immature to say the least. And it's at this youthful stage that it requires the most attention. Plenty of water, mulch, compost and protection from rabbits.
And even though a lot of the trees are little more than saplings right now, one day (hopefully) they will bare fruit. That's what is all about, planting and hoping and a bit of hard work now and then. The fruit is an added bonus along the gardening journey.
This season I want to work on improving the soil in the young orchard. It is really not the best soil but it is what I have here. In this part of the yard it alternates between sandy and clay depending where you dig but never the much lauded loam. So that's my aim. Improve the soil and the plants should come along for the ride.
|Bee foraging Prune D'Agen|
I'm not sure how other people choose their plants but I am a sucker for plants with interesting names and stories. I do also buy regular non-heirloom varieties at the nursery but the seed and plant catalogues that offer Amish deer tongue lettuce, Yellow sausage tomatoes and apples such as Improved Fox Whelp, Sugar Loaf Pippin, Worcester Permain and Geeveston Fanny draw me in every time. And yes, I have all of those varieties planted. I'm being tempted by the newest Diggers catalogue today obviously.
Better than buying anything new though, I am going to head outdoors now and plant some of the seeds already in my collection. Corn today. Planted early with the hopes that any frosts we might still have won't be too severe.
Do you have fruit trees? What are you planting now?