Month: April 2012

Sweet beginnings

My small orchard collection from Fedco Trees arrived! One long, 40 pound box, filled with bare roots plants. It was two weeks earlier than expected, so I rearranged my schedule and spent every extra moment, preparing soil, digging and planting. It was physically exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.

I couldn’t plant the trees that day, but I was determined to get them in within 24 hours. I really could not believe how anxious I was about the whole thing. I could hardly sleep that night. I actually GOT UP in the middle of the night to make sure the roots were still moist since I knew that the MOST IMPORTANT THING was that the roots not dry out!

I had been reading about planting trees and placement since January. I probably read too much because you start to find contradictory advice, like how deep to dig a hole, how much to amend the soil, how much pruning to do.

What if everything died? I have been gardening for a number of years. I have had things die. I have read about gardening. In retrospect the anxiety was also a fear of actually successfully seeing something thru. It’s one thing to dream, to plan, to dig. But to put it all together seemed huge to me. I am sure I imagined there was more riding on this then there was.

What would my neighbors think? I have enjoyed telling them about my plans since I am out in the yard so frequently, we live on a corner lot and lots of people like to walk.

What if it becomes really weedy and ugly?  This was a fear of my husband’s too. Lots of mulch for that. And, the yard has gotten overgrown and neglected the past two years anyway.

So, I dug in and 6 hours later had many plants in the ground.

First tree planted. Dwarf Mesabi Cherry.

Dwarf Cherry Trees: Montmorency and Mesabi

Dwarf apple to, hopefully, espalier.

Elderberries in the lasagna garden

I did amend the soils some, with Espoma Tree Tone and garden lime. I also added, towards the top of the hole,  a combination compost that O got from my local compost facility, and Pro-Mix. Then I  mulched with mulch I collected from work, a maple tree that had needed to be cut down. Good stuff! I also used pea gravel around the cherry trees to prevent any rot. Much of what I went with came from the book, The Holistic Orchard: Trees Fruits and Berries the Biological Way, by Michael Phillips.