Tuesday, September 6, 2016

LOCATING A MINI ORCHARD

After I mowed over the weekend, we roamed around planning (and daydreaming).  Here is our dilemma.  We have some fruit trees on "standby"...bought and being cared for but still in containers until the Fall when we plant them and of course we'll be buying more.  There are two places we are trying to decide between.  We have already planted a few trees scattered around the property but it turns out they are too far from water sources and therefore, much more difficult to care for.  

So we've narrowed it down to two spots:


The first spot is here.  

This is just behind the house.  

Our backyard I guess you'd call it.  A big, wide open space with a water faucet on the back of the house.  This space is bigger than the other one.  Plenty of room for the trees, and we'll still have space left in the backyard so it's not like we're giving up our yard.  It's not too close to the house either, this picture is a bit skewed.


Here is the second spot.  

This is directly behind the garden.  

Again, water access is pretty easy, coming right from the garden.  This spot is smaller but still enough room for just the fruit trees, which is all we are needing.  The thing with this site is that we had thought that it would also be the perfect spot for a future greenhouse but that is still a few years down the road and we need to get some more fruit trees started now. Plus we have many more alternate places for a future greenhouse.


Both areas have the space, both would provide privacy, with the one behind the house providing more personal privacy (somewhat hiding the back of the house from the property behind and whatever someday ends up back there.  The one behind the garden would sort of shield the garden from view as well, not that that is so important.  The backyard is bigger and gives us more leftover space for future use.  The backyard would also be closer to the house for easier monitoring.  The garden  of course would be right there with the vegetable garden so it's sort of like working it all at once, having tools and things already nearby if needed.  Having large trees could, someday of course, put part of the garden in the shade.  

The soil is the same in both spots so we are going to plant the trees in 4x4 raised bed boxes to give them a better head start.

We have to make sure we are happy with the final spot because wherever we decide, they are there forever... 


33 comments:

Colleen said...

You really need to be getting your fruit trees in the ground pretty soon so that they can get somewhat established before winter sets in.
What I do with planting trees, shrubs, etc. is move my container plants around to different spots to see where it would look best. You might consider doing that before digging your holes, making sure you are satisfied with the area and spot they are at.
considering spacing, etc.
Mowing day again today for us here.

Linda said...

Trees in 4x4 raised beds? One tree per box? won't that make getting at the fruit a bit cumbersome? Plus the edging & mowing around? Do you til the soil under the bed so the roots can easily get into the original soil?
I like the idea of having them right behind the house where you can keep an eye out for pests &/or disease.

Anne in the kitchen said...

I guess I was not thinking about the pests or fruit blight, but I would love them close to the house so I could sit on the porch or look out a window and enjoy the blossoms. We have iffy soil here (clay) and just amended the soil when we dug the holes. The trees are pretty darn healthy now, but we decided to save space we would plant 2 apple trees and use the fence to espalier the trees. 6 foot fence in Alabama= squirrel highway. Bad move on our part! No fruit for us!

Margaret said...

Well, I'll put in my 2 cents & go against the grain. I would think that the further spot would be best for the fruit trees. You will really only be harvesting from those trees once a year over a fairly concentrated period of time and keeping an eye on them for pests, etc, would still be fairly easy to do.

I'm thinking the spot closer to the house is prime space for things that will require more attention and care/give you more day-to-day pleasure throughout the season - cutting flower beds, more veg beds, a patio/deck and even that greenhouse - chances are you would need to get out and monitor what's happening in it once or twice a day vs. an orchard where every few days or even once a week (depending on the time of year) would likely be enough.

jewlz said...

Being a bit older, I always ask myself how often i'll need to work on/with something, and place it closer the more often I must access it. I'd probably use that closer space for garden rooms or grapes- something less production and more outdoor living oriented.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

How much of the garden would be shaded by the trees? Maybe you could put the trees by the house and use the space behind the garden to grow grapes or raspberries/ blackberries? This is quite the dilemma!

Margaret said...

Oh what a decision, lots to consider, planting to get the Winter sun but not baked in Summer, grouping similar watering needs or full sun needs (citrus)what the maximum height growth will be,so something doesn't overshadow a shorter tree.
If you decide not to use the back of the house you could still plant a beautiful hedge along the fence for privacy and change the height depending on what you are dealing with on the other side.
I spent yesterday with my little chainsaw on a pruning pole lopping some unwanted branches off the Jacaranda tree and felling some old Banana trees, they are saturated with moisture and very heavy to move,so a few weeks drying out then off to the greenwaste recycle facility. A fabulous idea, the local council takes in all green waste and chips it, stores it in massive piles and then once a month you can get a trailer load of mulch for free.

carol pavlik said...

What a fun dilemma to have. We are rich in trees, not fruit, we only have two pears, but trees in general. You can never have too many trees.

FionaG said...

I would vote for the bigger space. It is my experience that over time your orchard grows in number of fruit & nut trees. You don't want to be in the position of having an established orchard that has no space for new additions and you certainly don't want those same trees shading your veges. Future planning is such fun. Good luck.

Practical Parsimony said...

I would not want to shade the garden. But, behind the house does not seem right either. I would plant further from the house, not in either of those places. The greenhouse needs to be near to you for tending things. You don't need shade on the garden! Plant further away.

Tomato Thymes said...

Have you asked an expert about planting fruit trees in a 4x4 raised bed. That could be problematic for roots but I am not an expert.

Texas Rose said...

Another idea: you could plant them as a border for your back yard, which would provide some privacy and also would leave space for other backyard uses. And then also plant more behind your garden, leaving enough room between them and the vegetable garden so your garden is not shaded.
Also, it is recommended planting them in their native soil.
Good sites:
http://texastreeplanting.tamu.edu/PlantTreeProperly.html
and
http://www.texastrees.org/learn/plant/how-to-plant-a-tree/
and
https://www.houstontx.gov/parks/pdfs/2015/TreePlantingGuideBooklet_Eng.pdf
and
http://harris.agrilife.org/files/2011/05/fruitnut.pdf
and
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/publications/fruitlist.html

Janie V said...

I VOTE for behind the house. If I recall, isn't that a side you were worried about wind blowing under the house for freezing pipes? The trees could help that AND help keep some shade on the back of the house (eventually).

Anonymous said...

Well if we are all voting, haha, I think behind the house will be better because you will have room for expansion. Though I like the idea of some in BOTH places like Texas Rose said. Best of both worlds!

Anonymous said...

The problem with the house site is that fruit fall will attract stinging insects. You really don't want them that close to the house. Or to think that somewhere around the house is a good place to set up a hive.
The problem I can see with the garden site is that it is close to the fence line for the cattle and horses. So you want to be sure that you have a good space gap that they can't lean over to grab fruit. And make sure that the fence stays sturdy.
Either site, make sure that you keep up with the dead fall fruit and get it out of there on a regular basis. And keep an eye out for yellow jackets so that you can wipe them out quickly before they can harm your hives. I found a clear glass bowl put over the entrance/exit to be a good nonpoisonous way to wipe out a hive.

1st Man said...

Yep, hope to get them in in the next few weekends but if not, I can baby them to the spring but will still work on the beds. I like the idea of putting them around. Thanks!

1st Man said...

Yes, I should have explained more (and will when I put up the post too). It's a method for when you have bad soil or moreover, hard clay soil. You do prep the ground underneath, tilling it, adding to it, but then the raised beds give them a head start as the root ball starts out in the raised bed and the roots find their way down into the ground and over time, the ground gets adapted. At a future point you can even remove the wood around the beds and just have a mound. I would make room for mowing between, and of course there would be edging but it's what I'd have to do, ha. .

1st Man said...

Our soil is SO bad plus not very well draining (kinda flat AND clay and the raised beds will help that too). Do you know I have never ever seen a squirrel at the farm? Weird. I see them in town all the time...go figure.

1st Man said...

Cutting beds, I like that idea. That's a good aspect, keeping stuff like that near the house. Thank you, that's why we wanted to the different suggestions. :-)

1st Man said...

Great suggestions (and we are in our 50's have to think about the future too). Thank you!!!

1st Man said...

Not much at all, but of course, large tress might come of them that I'm not imagining at this point, ha. We DO have grapes! I didn't think about that. Thanks!!!!

1st Man said...

OK, last things first, what a brilliant idea about the mulch. Every municipality should do that! Cool! It's a total win win! And now the first part, good point about the heights, I will have to check that. I like the thought of similar needs being together too. Thank you for this great advice!!!

1st Man said...

We are rich in "trash trees", ha, and "thorny trees", LOL, but yep, we need an over abundance of fruit, we'd be ok with that, ha.

1st Man said...

Yes, I lean toward that thinking too. We would have LOTS of room for expansion behind the house...not so much in the garden. Thank you!!!!

1st Man said...

Shade in the garden would not be good. I need to think ahead like that. And the (future) greenhouse could be close to the house too. Thank you for the advice!! Stay tuned!

1st Man said...

Yep, been doing some research and it was actually suggested by the tree guy we had out last year to do some trimming. We told him about our soil and he said to try the raised bed idea. It's an open bottom box. It's not unlike a mound and planting them more above the ground in the "mound". The box also allows much of the roots to remain in the draining portion of the soil. And in the future, when established, you can remove the boards and just have a mound. We'll see! Thanks!!!!

1st Man said...

Between you and Colleen, you all find the great links. Thank you for these! And look at you, thinking outside the box. Plant a few in each area, so both spaces aren't overwhelmed and dealing with 'future' shade. Thanks!

1st Man said...

Thanks, that is very true (good memory, ha). Of course, fruit trees would lose their foliage in Winter so they might help a bit and the raised beds would do that too. That's a great reminder. Thanks.

1st Man said...

Best of both worlds is a good idea. We're going to have to just walk it and decide. And expansion is important, in case we get bitten by the fruit tree bug, ha.

1st Man said...

WOW! Another great consideration that we didn't think about. Fenceline is a consideration too (in both places as the people on both sides have livestock). Those we will take into account. You are great, thank you!!!

Colleen said...

Before planting, talk to a reliable nursery person and they can give you some pointers / tips on planting fruit trees, etc. They can provide a great use of information.

Anonymous said...

Okay, a thought from experience. You said you have bad soil. Hold off on buying any more fruit trees for a couple of years.
Instead, choose where you want to put trees. Multiple spots if you want to. And focus on prepping the soil. My preferred way for doing this is to put down thick layers of newspaper covered by compost and mulch. (about 2 sunday papers thick) Then, as often as possible, keep adding compost and mulch to the top. Actually, it doesn't have to be finished compost at this point. Anything compostable will do. And some worms. Repeat over and over and over again for a couple of years.
A couple of years before you are going to move out there permanently, have someone use a tractor to turn it all if there is a problem turning it with a shovel. Once in the spring and once again in the fall. But if you've been doing it for a few years and adding worms, the worms will probably have already done it for you. Still keep adding lots of amendments but no longer "hot compost" stuff.
About 6 months later, in the spring, add the trees. (Okay, in TX, fall might be better.) At that point,add drip/soaker irrigation and do a thinner layer of paper on top of everything else (about one sunday paper thick). Then add just mulch on top of it. From that point out, add compost at the driplines rather than all over. The mulch layers will help the trees maintain moisture at the root levels and the compost will drip down into the root zone whenever the trees drip rain. Using drip/soaker irrigation under the mulch will get the water where it needs to be and help it stay there much longer. Something that is important in hot climates. Also, mulching under the trees will help prevent accidental damage that can lead to infections. (Done that a few times here.)
For the first two or three years, depending on the age of the trees you buy, don't allow any fruit to grow. Pick it off as soon as it appears. Focus on pruning to provide strong trunks and limbs. Then let them go. Just remember to thin the fruit set so that it doesn't overload the limbs or you'll end up with broken limbs.

1st Man said...

WOW, you have given some great information. Thank you so much. I think we'll have to consider a lot of that. Thanks again!!!