Friday, January 20, 2012

Home Orchard Care

I'm not sure how commercial orchards operate as far as maintenance goes but the home orchard really is fairly simple. What I do think is a good idea though is that if you buy a property or even if you rent and plan to stay long term, and want to grow your own fruit then planning and planting the fruit trees is one of the first things to do. Simply because they do take time to establish and bare significantly. Of course added expenses such as fruit trees isn't welcome when moving into a new house but a new tree every month or so or for a birthday gift can usually be worked into the budget. That's how we did it anyway. Now we have over 60 fruiting trees and berry bushes. The beauty of the home orchard too is that you really can grow a large variety of trees. As our orchard is in close proximity to the house, I like to keep the grass relatively short. This is more for snake spotting rather than a need for neatness. I do like a meadowy look but just not in the house yard.

Mulch is another orchard helper. We have managed without it when mulch was not available but it certainly meant more watering. Now when I see spoilt hay for sale at the right price I snap it up because I know I will use it.

I have cages around all of my trees. I don't like them because they are quite ugly but we have rabbits and I have seen the damage they can do. Even in one night they can ringbark trees and then all the effort and money is for nought. The rabbits here seem to have a preference for apple trees with cherry coming in a close second.

Water is vital to the home orchard just like it is to any garden. After the trees have been established though, it isn't often needed, the rain is enough. That has been the case for us this season and we haven't had to give the fruit trees any additional water.

Prune d'agen

Today I worked solo in the orchard therefore the rewards all my own. Sweet fruit and satisfaction from doing something that is worthwhile to me.



Kim said...

Thanks for posting about this. I always feel the orchard part of my garden is the part I need to work at better. It is so inspiring seeing yours. Would love to see more pictures of it too!

Paola said...

I agree about establishing the fruit orchard at once, despite the one-off expense. Our eight year old orchard is just hitting its straps now, there is always fruit of one variety or another to pick.
TO me the orchard is at once frustrating but rewarding.

joolzmac said...

We have been on our 2.5 acres for nearly 8 years and I wish we had've established some fruit trees back then. We have 2 sheep that graze our back paddock and we have lost a few trees to them having a nibble and ring barking them! Plus a water supply down the back is a bit hard to establish (but could be do-able). We just don't seem to find the time with our busy business keeping us tied up.
Maybe I'll suggest it to hubby - we would need to fence off a small area to enclose the trees.

Your orchard with trees/bushes must give you great satisfaction when you harvest the bounty.

Cheers - Joolz