Tuesday, February 14, 2017

RAISED BED SOIL FOR FRUIT TREES

Here is our layering plan for the soil in our fruit tree raised beds.  

Why did we do it like this?  
Why not just have a truckload of soil delivered?  

I did a lot of research on fruit trees and bad soil conditions.  For our native soil, which is a lot of clay, we had to go with open bottom raised beds.  Trees will grow in clay soil but VERY slowly and if the planting hole is not done right, it can become an in-ground bowl and just drown the tree anyway.  So, a planting medium raised above ground level was our choice.  Since we left them with open bottoms so the roots will eventually work their way down into the ground underneath and by roughing it up and partially turning it, the layers above will slowly help to transform the clay into a more beneficial soil.  

So instead of a truckload of one type of soil (and not knowing what might be in it), we decided to know what we were putting in and we we did it in layers.  It is a mixture of composts (two different types), raised bed specially blended soil, and regular garden soil.  Layering will help give different mediums and nutrients for the roots to work through.

I missed the first photo though.  I used a pitchfork to turn the ground under the raised bed.  I didn't completely dig it all up, didn't want to create the bowl effect, just turned it to loosen it and then sat the box in place over it. 

Raised bed with cardboard 
The next thing I put down was cardboard.  That will help kill the remaining grass underneath and decompose over time, adding more nutrients to the soil underneath it all.  


The first layer I put down was a layer of cow manure compost, a 1.5 cu ft bag...


Then a layer of garden soil, 2 cu ft per bag...


Then a 2 cu ft bag of special blend for raised beds...


On top of this I put a mushroom compost mixed with humus...

Raised bed for fruit trees
To finish it all off, I put on another layer of garden soil, then two more raised bed blend layers.  So why not go with all raised bed blend?  Upon research, we found the answer was pretty simple.  Raised bed blends by their nature are a very loose soil and trees need something to "hold on to".  Of course, all garden soil would be too much the other way for a raised bed and not drain very well.    Since the ground below is still clay (for now), drainage is still a concern so we came up with this layering plan, mixing soils and a variety of composts.  Better to do this now, spend the money to get the best soils and give the trees the best chance they can have.

This weekend I'll finished getting the soil (one more trip to the garden center) and then we'll wait until the first weekend in March and get the trees into the soil.  Going to do some more research about what (if anything) we need to add to each tree to give it an extra head start.  Will research that by tree type.


Eight trees...two each of pear, plum, peach and apple.


P.S.  Happy Valentines Day to 2nd Man... 

Love you and love doing this for our future!


19 comments:

  1. I feel better about how you are planting those fruit trees after this explanation. Can't wait to see the finished orchard and the blossoms to come. Happy V-Day too.

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    1. Well thank you for that. Yep, they should do nicely, certainly it's the best chance we can give them and that we may have, to have fresh fruit growing at the farm. Thank you!

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  2. Wow! Impressive! We grew a fruit tree in an almost exact same bed, it produced lots of fruit for us!

    Debbie

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    1. Well that gives us hope, LOL, thank you for this!!

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  3. What a great solution I have heard of this for trees in raised beds when the soil conditions are not quite right, you give them a great head start. Oh and someday you can actually remove the raised bed sides and just have a mound where the tree is.

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    1. Head start is a great way to describe it. And I never thought about that but you are right, in a few years the sides could be removed and then it becomes a mound. Brilliant! Thanks!

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  4. I am so jealous you can play in the garden. (We still have 2 months to go) You will have a nice little orchard. I can't wait to read about it in future posts :) Happy Valentines Day to you and 2nd man (today is our 25th wedding anniversary!)

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    1. It was 85 the other day. It's nice but I'm afraid we'll have another freeze before it's all over.

      HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to you both! 25 years! Wow, SILVER. Y'all do anything exciting?)

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  5. Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!
    I have clay soil and planted my trees at the house directly in the earth (heavy clay soil). Maybe if I had done more research and put them in beds they would have done better. So far (year 5 after planting) they are all growing (slowly) but we have yet to see a bloom on any of them!

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    1. Thank you it was nice. Hope yours was as well. That's what I read about, the clay will allow them grow but fruit trees are inherently fickle and clay can slow their growth. We'll soon see how good the pre-research was, LOL!

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  6. My wife, who is originally from Houston, but living with me in Canada now, suggests tying the trees down to a location outside the bed to prevent them coming out of the ground during strong winds. You may have already thought of this.

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    1. Oh, great idea!! Thank you so much (and thank her for us!). We can have some strong winds (as she well knows). Thanks again! Don't be a stranger, come back and visit!

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  7. Happy Valentine's Day 1st and 2nd Man!
    Looking good!!! Before you know it, you'll be having fruit!!!

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    1. Awww, thanks for that! And amen to having fruit. We can't wait. I really am so excited to get them into the soil. Thanks again and happy Valentines to you and hubby!!

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  8. Your trees will have a wonderful environment to grow in. All your work will be worth it later.
    Happy Valentine's Day!

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    1. Thanks, fingers crossed. This will be giving them the best chance we can so time will tell.

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  9. I see the fruits of your labor in the future. A lot of hard, back breaking work but will be so worth it later on. Do keep us updated on their growing progress.

    I sure hope you didn't receive any damage from yesterday's storms that went through.
    Hope you and 2nd man had a wonderful Valentine's Day despite the storms.

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    1. "fruits of my labor" we certainly hope so (in a couple years of course). Will defiantly keep everyone updated. Good and/or bad.

      No damage, thank you, but they are now counting up to SIX tornadoes not too far from the farm. Well, it is a bit far, but a tornado close by is TOO close. Thank you!!!

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  10. We celebrated our anniversary 2 days early (on Sunday). We tried a nice steakhouse for dinner (the food was so yummy) then we went to Zales for what I thought was going to be necklace, but the hubbs surprised me with a super fancy diamond anniversary ring. A super blingy ring :)

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