A few months back, I blogged about trying to decide where to place our fruit trees. After some research on tree size, cross pollination need for some varieties, etc, we decided it was best to keep the "big 8" as we call them, together. They need a large space if we want to let them grow to a bigger size so the area behind the house was much better suited to that.
2 plum, 2 peach, 2 pear and 2 apple.
We have decided to go with raised beds. Our soil is just not right for direct in-ground planting of fruit trees. They will grow but VERY slowly. So we've done our research and are doing 4' x 4' open bottom raised beds that are one foot deep with a layering of soils/compost (more on that in another post). This will give them a huge head start and give us fruit much sooner (still a few years down the road for that of course).
The first thing I did was move them behind the house and start spacing them around just to see how much room we had to work with. Side note, I love our Rubbermaid cart...it worked out great for moving them (five at a time, ha).
After moving and rearranging and moving yet again, several times, we came up with a plan of how far apart they could be and how far from the house they should be. Then we put the trees back on the porch to baby them through the Winter and to do some more planning.
|Raised bed corner brackets|
Last Summer, I had ordered more of these corner brackets in preparation. They are used to make raised beds and wow do they ever make it easier. We've used them for all the raised beds in our veggie garden.
Raised Bed Corner Brackets at Amazon.
I've ordered them from Plow & Hearth on sale and then found another place online where they were on a deep discount for end of season sale. We still have three sets for the citrus beds, but those will have to come later.
Over the last few weekends, as I travelled to the farm, I picked up wood at the hardware store. Since 4' x 4' x 12" raised beds were the plan, I would buy 8' long boards and have them them cut in half. They fit nicely in the back of my Jeep and I didn't have to do any cutting myself.
There's that Rubbermaid cart again. This time, it held the wood and brackets for two beds at once.
The brackets come with screws but we could tell they would not hold up for years outside so we purchased outdoor rated deck and fence screws.
These should be much better!
|Building raised beds using corner brackets|
I just place the wood down, edge to side and then the bracket slips over each corner, holding them in place (it has a lip) Then you just put the screws in and repeat on each corner. Did I say I had to build EIGHT?
I built them over the course of two days last weekend (had to make a few trips to the hardware store to get all the wood so it took longer).
|Raised bed boxes|
Phew! I got them finished. Yay! All of a sudden we had eight giant boxes on the porch that had to get to the backyard. Oops!
That was accomplished this past weekend, more on that tomorrow in part two.