Sunday, August 24, 2014

Coming attractions

The so-called meadow for the birds, bees, and butterflies has been a problem for quite some time, primarily because it is too large for me to maintain, even with the help of my SO. So now the plan is to turn that area into a mini-orchard. Toward that end, today my SO helped me relocate the patio beds so that they may become blueberry beds. (I know, I know, this year I planted blueberries on the south side of the house, but I decided that just was not going to work out. I'll move them next spring.)

The patio beds needed to be moved anyway. If I ever make up my mind on a contractor, the patio will become a deck and the beds were in the way. Also, their location was not very conducive to growing sun-loving plants, most of which have been relocated and most of which are much happier. My only remaining concern is the treated lumber is really old, so it may have arsenic in it. To waylay that issue, we are going to line them with cedar shingles. Blueberry plants are shallow rooted, so I think that will be good enough.

The mini part of a mini-orchard will hopefully be accomplished by following the directives for a backyard orchard culture, found at Dave Wilson Nursery. Instead of planting one tree every ten feet, I will plant four in one hole. Instead of letting the root stock determine the size the trees grow, I will keep them severely pruned. The goal is to have some fruit from many varieties instead of a lot of fruit from very few varieties. Between this strategy and the holistic orchard techniques described in The Holistic Orchard, I hope to grow tree fruit that is as close to organic as I can get. Also, I won't need to climb ladders and, theoretically, if frost threatens, I may be able to save the crop by throwing sheets over the trees.

I've had crazier ideas.

1 comment:

Jason said...

We're also going to put in a patio this fall. I'm fascinated by the mini-orchard concept, I'm very curious to see how that goes.