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Archive for May, 2012

Beautiful Fig Trees and Loquat Tree at Pike’s Nursery

May 24, 2012 Leave a comment

I have been searching unsuccessfully for a local source of loquat trees. I had loquats growing up on a tropical island and really wanted to be able to grow these delicious fruits. Today, my friend who runs a local community garden was informed by his partner who manages one of the local Pike’s Nursery stores that they had a loquat tree in stock.

I rushed over to the store after work to pick the loquat tree. While there I saw some beautiful fig trees which were much nicer than anything I have seen at Home Depot. So aside from the one loquat tree, I also picked up two 5 feet Black Mission fig trees, one 4 feet Brown Turkey fig tree, and a smaller 2 feet Brown Turkey fig tree.

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Categories: Fig, Loquat, Orchard Tags: , , ,

Orchard Cherry Tree Planting

May 24, 2012 Leave a comment

I brought 5 cherry trees over to the orchard today and managed to get them planted before it got dark. The cherry trees are the fourth row of trees being planted at the orchard. Today’s row of plums were spaced 15 feet from the row of plum trees planted yesterday. With today’s planting, the total tree count at the orchard is now 18!

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Here’s a diagram of the current layout of the orchard:

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Categories: Cherry Tags: ,

Another Source of Mulch!

May 23, 2012 Leave a comment

On my way to work today, I saw another tree crew working on the trees lining the freeway onramp. I asked for their mulch and they happily took down my number. Later in the day, the truck driver called me to let me know that he had a truckload of mulch ready for delivery. I met up with him and then led him to the orchard. After unloading the much, Laver asked me if I wanted more loads. I told him I would take all he could bring me. He told me his crew would be in the area for the next four month so there should be many more loads to come.

The other tree crew which I found at the end of April has been routinely bringing mulch to the orchard. So far, they have unloaded about six loads. Now that I have found a second tree crew to bring mulch, I am thinking about just letting the piles of mulch accumulate and then renting a bobcat again to make quick work of spreading the mulch.

I started of mulching the orchard after watch the Back to Eden documentary. When I started the mulching I was hauling mulch from other locations to the orchard by the trailer load. It was a time-consuming, back-breaking work and made the prospect of covering the entire orchard seem extremely intimidating. A truckload of mulch is equivalent to approximately 10 loads on my 5×8 trailer. Therefore, being able to have the truckloads of mulch delivered directly onsite to the orchard is an absolute luxury and will at the very least save me from burnout.

The large amount of mulch is very welcome at this point. After several weeks of dry weather, we have recently been getting small rain showers. Each shower is followed by an astounding growth spurt for the kudzu which was completed cleared from the lot just a couple of months prior. The portion of the orchard which was already been covered with mulch is doing a very good job of discouraging unwanted weed and kudzu growth. So at this point, I am fervently racing against the kudzu to see who can cover more ground. Unfortunately, I have to admit, I am quickly losing the battle. The mulch is my only hope of winning these battles back. Now that it looks like I will have a steady supply of mulch, I am looking to cover the orchard at least 8 inches of mulch. This thick layer should choke out all unwanted plant growth as well as do an excellent job of retaining soil moisture.

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Categories: Mulch, Orchard Tags: , ,

Orchard Plum Tree Planting

May 21, 2012 Leave a comment

I brought 5 plum trees over to the orchard today and managed to get them planted before the evening rain started. The plum trees are the third row of trees being planted at the orchard. The first row of trees is made up of 3 Asian pear trees spaced 30 feet apart. The second row of trees was spaced 20 feet from the first row This second row of trees is made up of 5 persimmon trees spaced 20 feet apart. The plum trees planted today make up the third row of trees. Originally, I had planned to space all the rows 20 feet apart. Since then, I have decided that I will be pruning the trees to keep their height and width manageable. As such, going forward I plan on having 15 feet of spacing, rather than 20 feet of spacing, between rows of trees. Today’s row of plums were thus spaced 15 feet from the previous row of persimmon trees. With today’s planting, the total tree count at the orchard is now 13!

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Future Source for Bees: Rosehill Apiaries

May 19, 2012 Leave a comment

As part of my journey to become self-sufficient, I began raising meat rabbits in July 2011.  This endeavor has introduced me to many others who have the same desire to raise their own meat and I often learn or get introduced to new things which align with my self-sufficiency journey.  Today I met Stephanie who runs Rosehill Apiaries.  Stephanie met with me to purchase some of my New Zealand White kits for her foundation breeding stock.  Once my orchard plantings are completed, I plan on getting bees to help with pollination so it was fortuitous that we met as I know have an acquaintance that I can source my bees from in the future.

Categories: bees, Rabbits Tags: , ,

Kittens and Orchard Cat

May 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I was planning on making some much needed progress on the orchard this weekend.  Unfortunately, this weekend’s plans have been fully derailed.  Yesterday, I discovered that a mother cat has been using the crawl space of my home as her lair for raising her four kittens.

After some extraordinary effort, I managed to catch all four of the kittens.  I was very surprised that noone called the police considering the murderous screams that each of the kittens bellowed out when they were caught.  I had no idea such tiny little things were capable of decibels as loud as my home security siren.  The only one that came quietly was the last one which I had to resort to catching with a live trap baited with a piece of sardine.

The kittens are still nursing but are also eating solid food.  They must think they have landed in heaven considering they are being fed homemade raw pet food that I make for my miniature pinscher. 

Three of the four kittens are orange tabbies like their mother.  The last kitten is a tortoise.  She is the only female in the litter.  I am going to try to see if anyone I know would be interested in adopting the kittens.  I am also going to try to see if I can find a rescue organization that can get the kittens and the mom vetted and spayed/neutered.  I am hoping the kittens will get adopted quickly just because they are SOOOO cute.  If the mom does not get adopted, I will try keeping her.  If she doesn’t play nice with the dogs then I will have no choice but to release her after getting her spayed.  She might even make a good “Orchard Cat” if I release her at the orchard to help keep the field mice/snake population at bay.  As the orchard becomes established, she can also help keep the squirrels, chipmunks, and birds from the fruits.

Here’s what I spent the weekend watching: