How To Plant an Orchard (with adorable farmers)

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I had an adorable work crew yesterday on Pumpkin Hollow Farm.  Our mission was to plant trees.  Apple, plum, and apricot trees to be exact.

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“Can we climb the trees?” the younger ones asked.

“Maybe your kids will be able to climb the trees!” I responded.

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That certainly seemed a long time away for my young farm hands.

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We live on the property with our landlords, us in the little, old homestead that was built here one hundred and ten years ago.  They are sweet enough to let us farm this property.  We would like to stay here a very long time.  Trees will outlive me and give future generations something wonderful to eat.  These children have decided to eat all the fruit available in the meantime!

“When will there be apples?” they asked.

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The young man pictured above is Will, the son of our neighbors here.  His older sister and husband are here for spring break with their four darling boys.  They are full of fun and energy and a fair amount of humor.  “Hello Mr. Rogers!” they shout as Doug walks by.  “Sanders!” he corrects. “Hello Mrs. Sandra!” to me.  Shyanne and I couldn’t stop laughing at the kids calling Doug Mr. Rogers.  Thoughts of my favorite childhood show in mind.

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Maryjane was in heaven with this many little boys.  She generally stays very close to me, often wanting to be held, but yesterday she wanted to be near the boys.  She walked down our porch and boldly out the gate.  She tried to get them to come back with her.  At one point she was in a large dog kennel with them.  She was completely enamored with these older boys.

To plant trees:  This is a perfect time of year to plant trees.  They are still sleeping and when they wake up next month they will stretch their roots and begin to grow and thrive.

Dig a hole about 18 inches by 18 inches to start.  That very well may be big enough for the trees but you could always make it bigger.  Make sure there are no electrical lines beneath you!

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Then fill the hole half way with water.  This lets you see how fast the water drains.  One of the holes we dug didn’t drain even after two hours so we filled it back up and dug a hole four feet from it and it was perfect.  By watering the hole you are also putting in moisture for the new trees.

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Will and Doug took Maryjane back to Elizabeth when her mom got off work and headed to our favorite nursery to pick up the trees.  I love to support local business and families in the community and Holly Acres in Elizabeth is a great source for plants at a very fair price.

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Stand tree upright in the hole and fill hole half way with organic garden soil.  Then top with the soil that was initially removed from the hole. This allows the pile of dirt to nestle around the neck of the tree and adds a little extra nutrition for the roots.  Don’t put compost on yet as it will burn the sleeping tree.  We will put some compost on in June.

Draw a ring around the tree a foot away from the trunk and fill the little ravine with water.  Mulch with straw or wood chips.

Keep watered year round to ensure a healthy start!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. juliepullum says:

    Bother! We planted a couple of fruit trees recently and I’m not sure that we dug the holes big enough, only time will tell, we definitely will not be living here when they are full grown, quite sad for us but for future owners of our house it will be wonderful!
    The weather looks glorious and kids learn so much from days like this, there are children in the cities in the UK who have absolutely no idea where their food comes from, our education system is changing a little for the better, so that children learn these things even if they don’t get the chance to actually go to a farm although many will as charities are set up for the purpose of running city farms which then allow school visits.
    The photos are wonderful, loving Maryjane’s dress! So cute!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Oh I bet you did just fine! 🙂 Trees are a gift back to God, I think. Thanks for letting us be here, sorry we are messing it up a bit, here’s some trees! 🙂

  2. I just love your attitude! I’d be worrying about the property not being mine and maybe the owners might need us to leave. I’d be thinking the those that inherit the farm might not want me there in the future and so on. I’d be worried that I did not amend the soil yet and that the soil was yet ready….yada yada. And, you, living in the present moment just planted the trees. Bless you for reminding me all will be well!
    Donna at the Small House Big Sky Homestead
    http://smallhousebigskyhomestead.wordpress.com

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I try to keep my worries to a minimum. When I start thinking about things like that I just remember that I used to “own” a house until the bank took it. We don’t really ever own anything. And if all else fails and God says its time to move, we will get a new farm to write about! Such a fun journey!

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