Monday, February 6, 2017


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).

Rubbermaid cart
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 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.  

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. 


Janie Junebug said...

God bless the Rubbermaid cart. I hope you are surprised by trees that grow quickly and produce beautiful fruit.


Jay said...

I just discovered your site after googling dewberries. Happy to come across it. My partner and I want very much to move down south (where I'm from) where my family has lots of acreage in the country. Cheers!

FionaG said...

Very industrious indeed. You might be lucky with some of those trees and find you get fruit sooner than you think. They are quite tall. Our peach and blood plum both gave fruit, albeit only a small handful, in their first year. The blood plum had just one which we all fought over. What can I say? We couldn't wait for the year to roll around for more.

Colleen said...

Them carts are nice. I have a wheelbarrow that I use but I would like to get one of them larger carts to pull behind our rider mower.
We do have a garden wagon that will hitch to the back of our mower but not good to haul loose dirt in. Bags yes; loose dirt not so good.
Hopefully you flagged or staked on where you want them trees so that you don't have to go back and measure again.
Always; before you do any digging to have electric company to come out and flag the area first before digging any holes; just to be on the save side. (speaking of experience here)
Looks and sounds like you have your work cut out for you; digging, planting, building beds, etc.

Anne in the kitchen said...

I think planting the trees close to the house is a fantastic idea. You can easily tend to them while they are establishing their root system, but later on you will be able to enjoy the blossoms to the fullest. Nothing is more beautiful (or fragrant) than a blooming fruit tree. And how much easier will the harvesting be when it is so close to the house?
I prefer my cart to my wheelbarrow. I guess I am a funny driver because I have tipped my wheelbarrow over more times than I would like to admit, but the cart is always upright. (Plus it holds more )

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your blog. Have you researched fruit tree guild? Gillian

1st Man said...

I LOVE the cart, ha. It's very versatile. Thank you for the well wishes on the trees, fingers soon to be crossed!

1st Man said...

Yay!!! Hello and welcome!! I hope you'll come back and visit. And hey, dewberry season is coming soon, and I swear this year I'm going to take a day off during the week if I have to and spend the day harvesting them. Hope we get lots and lots.

Feel free to drop us a line (over on the sidebar "email me") would love to hear from you.

1st Man said...

We got lucky and got these trees on "end of season" clearance last Fall and they were pretty tall. They are still dormant now so this is a good time to get them in the ground. I know they say the first year to pluck off blooms so it will develop roots and we're ok with that this year but hey, maybe next year we'll get some!

1st Man said...

We have a John Deere cart to pull behind the mower but most of the time I just don't want to get the mower out for small things, ha. The cart though has come in handy lots of times. There is a post tomorrow with the raised beds. Yep, we sort of staked off the spots but we still had to maneuver them around.

There won't be any ground digging other than loosening the soil a bit. We're ok with lines, there is only one electrical line, no gas out there in the country, no cable in the back, and the water line is in the front yard coming from the well. So we're good for this go round.

1st Man said...

We kind of figured it would be nicer to have them nearby, plus they are close to the water faucet so that's easier too. And electrical outlet if we needed to run an extension cord from something later on. And the view out the bedroom windows someday will be nice.

The cart is what I use more than anything. it's worked out great I would recommend one to anyone with a big yard/gardening.

1st Man said...

Hello! Wow I just checked a quick Google of fruit tree guild, some great info there. Than you so much!!! And don't be a stranger, come back and visit!! :-)

Practical Parsimony said...

Planting trees in the fall is best. By planting in the fall, the tree can spend all its energy growing roots. By planting trees in the spring, the tree struggles to grow roots, leaves, blossoms all at once. It takes longer to establish trees planted in spring.

With trees right back of the house, you can go pick an apple if one ripens first. Nothing will be left if fallen on the ground. If the trees were far away, you would not be able to monitor closely.

Practical Parsimony said...

expend not spend!

Sandy said...

1st Man,

You've been pretty busy my friend!!! As far as I'm concerned it's requirement to have one of these great carts for working on your property. They make your job so much easier when hauling anything on the fact, I've used my cart inside the house to move furniture.

Can't wait to read more about your boxes for your fruit tress in part 2 of your post. Will your bee hives bee close to your fruit trees?

1st Man said...

We're kind of lucky with our climate here, we can plant mid winter too. Plus these aren't bare root. I would have done them in Fall though if I could have, but just didn't get enough time to get the beds done. But we should be good. I'll pinch off the flowers this first season. And yep, we're hoping for just as you said, close by and easy to get to. :-)

1st Man said...

Those carts are just amazing. Love it. I like the idea of a furniture moving, cool. I'll have to remember that.

The beehives will not be too close by, they'll be nearer the garden but I'm guessing they'll find there way to the flowers of the trees. :-)

Thank you for the kind words of encouragement!