Saturday, April 25, 2015

Planting Apple Trees

Five Trees planted
You know the best time to plant apple trees, right?
Ten years ago!

Well, it would be nice to have mature, producing apple orchard, but we begin where we can.  We have three OLD trees. I don't know how they will produce, but they needed trimming in the worst way. These new plantings won't give us apples for another few years.  I think I will be impatient.

My new apple trees arrived by UPS yesterday. These are bare root trees, so needed to go in the ground as soon as possible. Thankfully, today was actually a pretty nice day.  I did lots of hemming and hawing about exactly where to plant these trees, and finally decided to put them along with the already existing pear and old apple trees at the bottom of the hill.  Though access is a little inconvenient, the trees would not only receive full sun, with maybe a bit of afternoon dappled light, but also, because they are located about midway on a slight slope, water will drain through the soil and should give them an advantage.  I had five trees to plant. Three small ones, and two slightly larger.  These are all heritage apple varieties. You probably wouldn't even recognize the names, but there are mid and late season apples, some specifically useful for cider, and some for canning, and some that store very well.

sorry about the washed out photo, but look at the depth of the topsoil
This particular hole was about 6 or 7 inches of loam.  One other tree hole I dug, the top soil was close to 12 inches! This confirms that this is a good planting location.
My assistants arrived, eager to help mop up any earthworms.   Who says chickens aren't smart? They seemed to just KNOW I was digging and came down to "help".

Like everything else on the homestead, I wish we were several years ahead of where we are, but, it felt good to get these trees in the ground.  It feels like a real beginning.  Next up will be blueberries and raspberries and elderberries and strawberries.  And grapes... Remember our goal is to produce as much of our own food as possible. These fruit bearing shrubs, tress, and vines will be a big boon once they are are up and producing.

This week was full of lots of hard work. AFter digging the tree planting holes today, I think my arms have had it. Good thing I have a wonderful helper.  While I was doing this planting, Steve was working on the house, doing the bat exclusion. This meant sealing up any holes where bats could get in, and putting in one way doors.. so they can fly out, but not get back in.  I failed to get any photos, but it was impressive seeing him up on the big ladder.  We hope this works.   A pest company wanted $1000 to do what Steve did today with very little materials cost, and only a few hours labor.  Hopefully, this will cure our attic bat problem.  We like the bats nearby (they eat soooo many mosquitoes!) but not in our attic making a huge mess.  Bat Guano, anyone?

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