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Posts Tagged ‘orchard’

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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100 Cubic Yards of Mulch… Yes, 100.

August 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Unfortunately, all my sources of free mulch has dried up. Only half of the orchard has been mulched. The other half of the orchard is cleared so I have been anxious to get it covered with mulch to prevent soil quality degradation, soil erosion, and weed/kudzu growth. It’s been great getting free mulch, however, seeing how I wanted to finish the orchard this year, I finally broke down and decided to pay for mulch.

The remaining orchard space is approximately 10,000 square feet and to cover that with 4 inches of mulch, I needed approximately 100 cubic yards of mulch. So just how much mulch is that? To put it into perspective, the standard bag of mulch you get at the store is 2 cubic FEET which translates of 0.07 cubic yard. So, 100 cubic feet is equivalent to 1,428 bags of the mulch you would get in the store. Since this mulch is not for decoration, I was interested in “single ground” mulch which is produced when tree limbs are passed through the chipper once.

When I inquired about my purchase, I was a bit surprised when the vendor told me the mulch would be delivered in one load. This is because the standard dump trucks have a capacity somewhere between 15 to 20 cubic yards so I fully expected that multiple loads would have to be made. I interrogated the vendor on the dimensions of the truck’s cargo space just to make sure that I would be getting what I was paying for. He provided me with dimensions of 53 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 feet high and clarified that the entire cargo space would be filled. By my calculations, this actually translated to 225 cubic yards.

Despite, all the back-and-forth verification and reverification, I fully expected there to be a misunderstanding when the truck arrived. Well, that was not the case. I got a call from the driver and drove out to meet him. When I saw the truck, I was pretty certain that it was in fact 53 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, and 13.5 feet high.

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While I was glad there was no misunderstanding, we were quickly subdued by the dilemma of getting this massive truck onto the orchard lot. The truck required a huge turning radius and therefore could not turn onto either one of the alleys unless all cars were moved off the street. Even if that were possible, then there was the issue of the tree limbs overhead due to the truck’s height. Lastly, the driver had no confidence that he could get his truck back out even if he was able to get onto the lot.

I was reluctant to throw in the towel so we finally agreed on having the load dumped in front of the front yard of the street lot I own which is adjacent to the orchard lot. This would mean longer trips for the bobcat I am going to have to rent to spread the mulch but at least I would not have to send the delivery back.

Given that the front yard is on a slope, the only space left was a 50 feet by 15 feet space consisting of the sidewalk and the city right of way. After chopping down a Crape Myrtle in the city’s right of way, we finally managed to get the truck in position and ready for unloading.

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Rear view of the unloading:

Side view of the unloading:

Once the truck had unloaded half of the mulch, I asked the driver to move the truck forward so the pile would not spill in front of the neighbor’s house. To my surprise, he began moving the truck forward without getting back in the driver’s seat. Apparently, the truck comes equipped with external controls to scoot the truck forward. Very cool!

Here’s the mechanism which allows the load to be pushed out of the cargo compartment without raising the bed.

View of “Mulch Mountain” after unloading was completed.

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Categories: Mulch, Orchard Tags: ,

Farming With Nature: Permaculture with Sepp Holzer

August 7, 2012 1 comment

 

I came across this documentary on Sepp Holzer this weekend and found it absolutely amazing.   This is much more than just a “back to the land” approach.  I find this “back to nature” philosophy very appealing since it really makes sense to work with nature rather than against it.  The results are phenomenal and also ecologically rehabilitating.  I am too far in with my orchard project to change direction now but this approach could be a good next project at the much larger “Dog Park” lot. Very inspirational. The scale of what Holzer accomplished makes my orchard project look like a toy project.

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: ,

Loquat Trees Planted

July 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Five loquat trees have been sitting in the sideyard at my house for the past month. Today, I finally found time to get them planted at the orchard. Despite the 90 degree heat, I managed to get the row planted and mulched in just a couple of hours.

Here’s a view of the new row of loquat trees.

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The completion of this row brings the orchard to half completion. So far six rows of 27 trees have been planted in an approximately 100 feet x 100 feet space. Based on the current state, once completed, the orchard will have approximately 60 trees.

A diagram of the current status of the orchard:

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Categories: Loquat, Orchard Tags: ,

Plum and Peach Trees Planted

July 14, 2012 Leave a comment

I had bought my plum and cherry trees a couple of months ago in somewhat of a panic. Fruit trees were getting increasingly harder to find at Home Depot and Lowe’s had put all their fruit trees on clearance. Afraid that I would not be able to find any more fruit trees to plant into the ground at the orchard this year, I bought and planted five plum trees and five cherry trees that Lowe’s had on clearance. While the price was good ($10 each), I was not impressed by their health or size.

This weekend I came cross a large number of fruit trees at the Home Depot in Dunwoody. Their plum and peach trees were good size and looked healthy. To compare, I also went by Pike’s Nursery and also found some nice plum trees there. I ended up picking up three Santa Rosa plum trees and five peach trees from Home Depot and two Medley semi-dwarf plum trees from Pike’s Nursery.

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The plum and cherry trees that I bought from Lowe’s were pulled out of the ground, returned to the store, and replaced with the new trees.

Here’s a comparison of the old plum trees with the new Santa Rosa plum trees.

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Here’s a comparison of the old cherry trees with the new peach trees.

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A view of the row of peach trees after planting.

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A view of the row of plum trees after planting.

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

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Categories: Cherry, Orchard, Peach Tags: , ,

Orchard Reclaimed!

July 11, 2012 Leave a comment

After much initial work earlier this year, I had managed to clear all the kudzu and weeds that have been growing on the orchard lot for the past several decades. Unfortunately, in the past couple of months a large portion of the orchard lot has returned back to its previous chaotic state with kudzu running rampant and weeds on steroids towering over 6 feet tall.

Two weekends ago, I rented a BillyGoat Outback Brushcutter from Sunbelt Rentals. This mower-like machine is able to take down saplings up to 1 inch in diameter. For $150 a day, this tool enabled me to mow down the approximately 1/3 of acre that was covered by kudzu and weeds in about 3 hours.

 

Then this past weekend, I rented a Terex PT-50 Compact Track Loader from Home Depot. For $350 a day, this equipment allowed me to spread approximately 12 truckloads of mulch in about 8 hours.  I used up all 12 truckloads and covered about half of the orchard lot with a thick layer of mulch ranging from 6 to 12 inches.

After the recent two weekends of work, along with recent plantings of plums, cherries, and figs, the orchard has been reclaimed and is once again much more pleasing to the eyes.

Here is a view of the orchard lot from the southern border of the lot.

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The three Asian pear trees that I planted back in April are already fruiting!  One tree has five fruits while the other two have one each.  The fruits have now exceeded the size of a golf ball.  Two of the trees are Shinko asian pear trees.

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One of the Asian pear trees is a 20th Century Asian pear tree.  The fruit looks distinctively different from the Shinko variety.

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Here is the row of fig trees that I planted on the Fourth of July.  I picked these up from Pike’s Nursery.  While they were more expensive than those at Home Depot, the quality was much better.  Not only that, they came bearing many fruits.

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Two of the fig trees are 5 foot tall Black Mission Figs.  I’ve already picked four of these and they were yummy.

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The other two fig trees are Brown Turkey Figs.  One is 5 feet tall and the other is about 3 feet tall.  Both of these are also already fruiting.  I am still waiting for one of these to ripen so I can taste the difference between these and the Black Mission Figs.

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The five persimmon trees planted in April are now tall, lanky, and well-leafed.

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The row of five persimmon trees is neighbored by a row of five Medley and Santa Rosa semi-dwarf plum trees.

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I recently came across another tree company working in the neighborhood and they will be dumping their truckloads of mulch at my orchard as their job progresses.   As soon as I have enough to cover another 20 ft x 100 ft section, I am going to plant the five loquat trees currently sitting in pots at my house.