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Orchard Update – Spring 2013

April 28, 2013 2 comments

On my way back from Lowe’s today, I decided to swing by the orchard to see how things were doing there. All the trees in the orchard were just planted last year between late fall and mid summer. So imagine my surprise when I was greeted with tree after tree bearing an abundance of fruits.

The Asian pear trees surprised me last year by fruiting just months after I planted them. However, there were only one or two pears from each tree. This year there are plenty of fruits forming on each of the Asian pear trees:

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The fig trees also produced last year just months after their planting. It looks like I will continue to get figs this year since both the Black Mission and Brown Turkey variations have fruits forming:

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All five of the peach trees are filled with clusters of peaches:

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The two Medley plum trees have not formed any fruits but the Santa Rosa plum trees are fruiting just as abundantly as the peaches:

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The persimmon trees have just started sprouting leaves and no fruits have appeared. The loquat trees are full of leaves but no fruits.

Last year, I planted watermelon and cantaloupe in my backyard garden. They ended up taking up half of the garden. This year, I’ve planted them at the orchard where they will have plenty of room to spread.

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Another surprise that greeted me were several large leeks which were growing naturally under the pecan tree:

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Needless to say, I am extremely pleased at the progress of my year old garden.

In the next couple of weeks, I will be adding another 16 trees to the orchard by introducing apricots, nectarines, cherries, and Fuji apples.

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Shinko Asian Pear First Harvest. Yum!

July 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, I sampled my first Asian pear from the orchard. This pear picked from one of the Shinko Asian pear trees. The pears are about the size of a racquetball now. Not knowing whether the fruits will get bigger, I decided to sample one to see if it was ripe. Not only was the pear ripe, it was the sweetest Asian pear that I have ever tasted. If this is the homegrown difference then I can’t wait til all the trees in the orchard are in full production!

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Categories: Asian Pear, 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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Orchard Clearing Completed, First Plantings

April 7, 2012 Leave a comment

The orchard clearing has finally been completed. Clearing began on March 10, 2012 and as soon as the skid steer parted the overgrown vegetation, my contractor and I both knew we had gotten more than we bargained for. According to surrounding neighbors, some of whom have been there for forty years, the lot has always been vacant. From the looks of what we found under the overgrown vegetation, it appears that over the decades, unscrupulous individuals have been routinely performing illegal dumping on the lot. After the first day, my contractor told me that he had underquoted and was going to lose money unless he was further compensated. I typically stick firmly to the written estimate, however, given that we have had many dealings in the past, I cut him some slack on this one. Unfortunately, after the second day, he proceeded to tell me that he had once again underestimated and that more expenses would need to be incurred (dumpster rental and skid steer work) for him to complete the job without losing money. At this point, I told him I would look at other options.

I ended up rented my own skid steer and dumpster, and with the help of my very kind friend Ed who has previous experience driving skid steers, completed the clearing of the lot several weekends later. It was two long days of extremely hard work and I am very thankful and appreciative of the assistance that Ed contributed. I could not have done it without him. Since I was going to have the skid steer for the clearing, I also rented an auger attachment to dig out all the fence posts holes.

It’s been a couple of weeks since that long, grueling weekend and I am still recovering. Since then, I have put up about 100 feet of fencing starting from the northeast corner of the lot. I am installing 6 feet Red Brand welded wire fencing on 4 x 4 x 8 pressure treated posts set in 2 feet of concrete and set approximately 7 feet apart. This is the first time I’ve done welded wire fencing and it’s much more time consuming than I had hoped. Being a perfectionist, I decided to step down each section to accomodate for slope rather than just unrolling the welded wire and have it installed at an angle to the posts. The requires stretching each section separately as well as burying a portion of each section in the soil While the results look very nice, progress is slow. I have approximately 500 feet more of fencing to install so I am estimating it may be summer before the lot is fully fenced.

Here’s a view of the orchard now from the south side of the property:

 

Here’s a view of the orchard now from the northeast corner of the property:

 

Here’s a view of the orchard now from the northwest corner of the property:

 

Last weekend I decided to take a break from the fencing and started the planting of my fruit trees. I’ve started off by planting three Asian pear trees. These will grow to 30 feet in height and width. Since this will be the tallest of the trees I plan to plant, I am starting with them on the north side of the property so that they will not block sunlight from the south for the remaining trees. I purchased the Asian pear trees from Home Depot and planted them 30 feet apart. Two of the trees are of the Shinko variety while the other is of the 20th Century variety. It’s been a week since then and I have watered each tree twice now, each time with a 5 gallon bucket for a total of 10 gallons of water for each tree. So far, this appears to be sufficient. I plan on bringing over mulch to cover the base of these trees to help conserve soil moisture so that I can minimize the amount of water I need to haul over.

 

 

Categories: Orchard Tags: ,