Friday, June 14, 2019

Improving the orchard

My apologies for the blog silence over the last week! We've been nutty-busy renovating the house and property for our upcoming move. This process was hampered by a big shipment of tankards we had to finish up. We finally booted the shipment out the door and now we're able to devote our attention back to the house.

At this point our goal is to list the house for sale near the beginning of July. As such we've been frantically tackling projects. One of the overdue projects I wanted to complete was improving the orchard.

We planted our young orchard, as you may recall, in giganto tractor tires three years ago. It was something of an experiment, but I'm pleased to report the trees have done very well.

Last year we didn't have much fruit production by the peaches or plums -- evidently they took the year off -- but this year they're all loaded. Here are baby plums:

Baby apples:

And baby peaches (my all-time, hands-down favorite fruit):

The one drawback to growing trees in tire, I've learned, is weeds like to share the space. Most of the tires I keep fairly weed-free, but this is an example of what happens when I don't keep up (sorry, that's a white pole leaning against the tire I didn't notice until I took the picture):

I wanted to leave the orchard as pretty and weed-free as possible for the new owners, so I decided to line the tires with weed cloth with a layer of bark mulch on top.

First step, get the bark mulch. They give it away for free for a short window of time every week in the nearest town. Free is good.

Next step, cut weed cloth to fit inside the tires:

Some of the trees had little suckers growing, so I trimmed them off before putting down weed cloth.

Next, shovel bark onto the weed cloth.

The result looked absolutely positively splendid. A huge improvement.

The cows were fascinated by the activity and hung around the fence a lot.

Tree by tree, tire by tire, I worked my way through the orchard. Each tree took about half an hour, so to do 14 trees took me a roasting grueling seven hours in the hot sun to complete.

It's a project I should have done long ago so at least we could have benefited from it, but oh well. Whoever buys our homestead will have a lovely and productive orchard.

By the way, some may wonder whether we've found a place we'd like to buy. The answer is no, but to be fair we're not looking very hard. If "the perfect" house came on the market tomorrow, we wouldn't be in a position to buy it until we sell our place, so we figured we'd wait until we're on a surer financial footing before commencing a more serious home search.


  1. Not buying until you have a contract on your existing home is good. In 2007 we started building our retirement house out in the boonies and had just put our existing home on the market. There was a time where we owned 2 houses which was untenable. We closed on the sale of the old house 1 week before the 2008 implosion and I then retired. There were a number of months that I was really sweating it I will tell you.

    1. I do need to add that our previous move had us living in an unfinished shop room, cooking with a microwave with 3 cats and a dog, one very snowy channel on the TV, and cardboard for a sidewalk, for about 4 months because our previous house sold too soon. That was the reason for almost getting caught with 2 houses. I really did not want to go through that experience again.

  2. Yes, that DOES look nice. Best wishes on the sale and new home search.

  3. I was going to suggest ground cover. Each one looks really nice.

  4. We had loaded peach trees but alas the squirrels ate everyone of the baby peaches and also decimated the fig trees. I think that we may have some squirrel stew in the near future! Good luck on your moving adventure.

  5. those tree little suckers propagate new trees sometimes..?

    1. Yes, but they are from the root stock, not the grafted top of the tree, so they won't be the same.