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Tue Jun 23, 2020, 05:05 AM

Preliminary plans for my COVID-19 orchard

Work continues on the COVID-19 garden and I'll post an update on that soon. I've had some time to do some research, thinking, measuring and such for the future orchard.

The goal is to maximize the use of space to produce a variety of fruits over as long a time as possible during the growing season. To achieve this, I'll be applying techniques used in the backyard orchard culture movement. BOC is high density planting of several varieties to get successive ripening.

After much measuring and reading, this is what I ought to be able to plant in the remaining part of the backyard that isn't going to be taken up by the vegetable garden.

8 apple trees

4 pear trees

4 plum trees

4 peach trees

1 quince tree

2 elderberry bushes

24 raspberry plants

3 blueberry bushes

4 haskap bushes



The raspberries will be plants on 1 40' row while the blueberry and haskap bushes will be planted on the 40' row to the east of the raspberry row. The trees will be planting in 5 separate groups of 4 18' apart in a 10' square and kept pruned to keep the trees at a height and spread of no more then 8'. The quince tree is self pollinating and will be planted by itself to the northwest of the house. The two elderberry bushes will be planted to the east of the storage shack about 8' from each other.

The first step will be to cut down several trees in the ditch makes the southern border of the orchard. My son-in-law and neighbor will be doing that task. They both burn wood for heat so it's a plus for them. The second thing I have to do is get another 10 cubic yards of topsoil to build up raised rows and raised berms as the area remains quite wet during the spring and after a heavy rainfall.

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Response to Kaleva (Original post)

Tue Jun 23, 2020, 05:14 AM

1. That is so cool! I envy your acreage! Post photos so we can live vicariously.

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Response to Kaleva (Original post)

Tue Jun 23, 2020, 05:30 AM

2. At different times I've had a few fruit trees

Currently I have none, but will probably plant one or more in the early spring.

The last fruit trees I had were one each of two different varietals of peach trees which produced at different times. At their peak I had way more peaches than I knew what to do with even after culling about 2/3rds of them when they were marble sized. Even with canning and making every peach dish I could think up, I was still giving away most of them. I suspect the stone fruit trees are all going to produce over about a 3 month period even if you get varietals that produce at different times. Thatís going to be a lot of work harvesting everything and dealing with them. Iím guessing with that many you plan on selling them at a farmers market. Otherwise youíll easily be overwhelmed.

Cherry trees are a lot of fun and might be worth considering. Itís rather nice to pick and eat them immediately while they are producing.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 23, 2020, 12:38 PM

5. My goal is to provide fruit and veggies for my extended family.

Most whom live within easy walking distance of me and my wife.

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Response to Kaleva (Original post)

Tue Jun 23, 2020, 07:42 AM

3. Add Pluots

at least for me they seem to be more vigorous and prolific than plums

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Response to Fresh_Start (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 23, 2020, 12:38 PM

4. I live in zone 4 and it looks like Pluots are best in zone 5 and higher

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #4)

Tue Jun 23, 2020, 04:45 PM

6. I'm sorry I assumed if you could grow peaches you could grow pluots

but obviously I'm wrong.

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Response to Fresh_Start (Reply #6)

Tue Jun 23, 2020, 04:46 PM

7. I thought your suggestion was very interesting.

And would seriously have considered them had they been suitable for my zone.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #7)

Wed Jun 24, 2020, 08:50 AM

8. I moved from zone 3 to zone 9

So from growing pretty much nothing...we now have apricots, peaches, nectarines, pluerries, pears, asian pears, plums, pluots, apples, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, and figs. And pomegranates.

I've had zero luck with kiwis and avocadoes and currents.

Bananas went crazy and I pulled them out.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #7)

Wed Jun 24, 2020, 08:52 AM

9. don't know if they have this for your area

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Response to Kaleva (Original post)

Thu Jun 25, 2020, 08:56 PM

10. Are you going to buy mature-ish trees?

If not, don't expect any fruit for about 7 years. The elderberries will begin to produce in the 2nd or 3rd year, but again, expect about 7 years for a good harvest. Elderberries have a tendency (hahahaha) to take over, so leave room for that. You can dig up roots, cut down shoots, whatever, but they do not believe in staying in boundaries.

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries are more immediate and produce after a year or two.

Good luck. I'm still waiting for cherries from my trees and when they come, they are going to be divine!

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 26, 2020, 06:24 AM

11. I wouldn't expect produce from the trees for some years.

My goal is to have a garden and orchard that can provide produce for my immediate family, most of whom live within walking distance, for years to come and long after I'm gone. My family history suggests my time is very short, I'm 61 now, or I have another 25-30 years in me. It's one of the two.

Thanks for the tip on elderberries. I may rethink having them or maybe consider putting them in another spot in the yard further away from the vegetable garden and orchard.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #11)

Fri Jun 26, 2020, 08:50 AM

12. Yes, give them space. You can dig them up and give

starts to others to keep them under control as well. I do mow them under in a few places.

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