Sunday, 19 July 2009

Mini-orchard update

Last week, after a few fine days, the man with the auger came over to dig the holes for the mini-orchard. Yes, we COULD have dug the11 holes and 4 post holes ourselves, but in out compacted clay soil it would have taken forever and would have cost more in trips to the osteopath to fix up our backs!

The 600mm auger made light work of it all. In fact if we hadn't hit 2 water pipes 2 ft down that we had no idea existed the whole thing would have been doe in about an hour. It took a few hours to excavate out and re-cap the pipes (they don't go anywhere, but are connected to the house tank. Must have been part of some original creative plumbing!). We then had to abandon the first row we were planning (as holes 2 and 3 of that row hit pipes), and just go with a 2 row system for now. If we want to plant anything more than the 2 apricots in the first row it will be hand digging to avoid breaking more pipes.

On Saturday Jerry and one of our Sydney friends (aaah the luxury of having 2 strong blokes about!) put in the 4 timber posts to support the 2 orchard rows. Today Jerry barrowed up 11 loads of mixed soil, old chook mulch, cow manure and mushroom compost to put into the holes to give the trees a better start than the solid clay would allow. I planted the trees. I think I got the better end of the deal!
In permaculture style each tree has a mini-swale to catch water running down the hill and allow it to soak in. The front row of 4 will have espaliered apple and pear. The longer row of 6 will have the fan-trained plum, peach and nectarine. All that remains is to put up the wire for the espalier, and a trellis system for the fan training, and then do the watering.

It's been a good weekends work - so I gave Jerry the afternoon off!

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