I bought some more fruit trees! OMG how expensive are they now! :eek But it had to be done.
We are trying to start off a food forest. What is a food forest you ask? No, you didn’t ask? Well ping off then because I’m going to tell you anyway!
It’s a fancy name for a vegetable garden with some fruit and nut trees, and everything else you might need to keep it going. It’s the biodiversity/permaculture thing, and it’s catching on with people wanting less put onto their plants to grow their food, and for it to travel less.
I also like the fact that when you grow your own, apart from making the season a little longer by using poly tunnels and shade houses, you are basically eating what is in season. Not what is in the cold storage.
Right now we can’t sustain ourselves on what we grow. And we’ll be freezing a lot of things so there will be some sort of ‘cold storage’ happening here too. But I love the flavour of food when it’s just new out of the ground, and off the tree.
Prior to last week our count was – some cabbage, and a couple of sad looking lettuces and a couple of struggling leeks (we’re talking -0.6C overnight here,) two apple trees – pink lady and granny smith; a mulberry tree – may have to move that one to the new forest area; two yellow plum trees; a jostaberry bush; and a dead cherry tree(or stick) which I’m using as a stake now for another purely for decoration plant.
But last week I went to the nursery (always dangerous) and after buying 25 native plants to test in the paddocks, before buying more and getting into the connectivity event (connecting parts of australian bush to other parts – getting rid of the gaps would be another name.) And as I swung past the last bit of the nursery ……………………there they were! Three young people had just put hundreds and hundrreds of bare-rooted fruit and nut trees into a raised bed with sawdust to protect the roots.
I was in permaculture heaven! A state of biodiversity…………..A nutter in fact!
After much perusing I ended up choosing two Cox’s Orange Pippin apple trees – they pollinate with themselves and both of the other apple tree types I have so that is win/win. I also chose them because when I was at the apple orchard last year I talked with the guy selling apples and fresh apple juice. He reckons that they would grow well here where we are, and also said that they grow small apples that stay on the tree. What’s that mean? you might ask. Well it means you won’t find all but two lying on the ground before they are ripe as I found this last season. Very annoying. Just as I’ve got the branches trimmed out of kelpie height to stop Knic Nac shaking the branches so she can play ball with them, and they just fall off on their own!
I bought a box of the little Cox’s Orange Pippin apples at the time, and they disappeared in a couple of days. My teens are like a flock of parrots. Descend and demolish is their way of dealing with fruit. They were very little apples which amused them, so they just ate 3/4 at a time.
The other two fruit trees I bought are not old heritage style fruits. Just for something different I wanted to try the multigrafted trees. I got a multigrafted peach/nectarine . Well, I got two . They are dwarf so won’t grow really big – altho dwarf is not such an issue when you have nearly 100 acres. And aren’t they expensive little things!
Brought them all home and put them to bed on the deck, wrapped in a doona to keep their roots safe. One of the grafted arms was loose when we went to plant it – I’m thinking that Knic Nac curling up on them may have caused that.
After some research, choosing the area, mowing it, digging out the holes, putting the plants in, mulching them, staking them until they can get enough root growth to support themselves in the wind, they are in place. Usually I just put them in with a seaweed extract drink and just wait for everything to happen – full of optimism.
This time though I’m worrying – worse than kids they are! Not sure if it’s the cost of them this time. Or just that it is the start of the Project Permaculture, but I’m hoping they take to their new home and arent too close together for growth, too far apart for support, that the wombat doesn’t dig them up, that the electric fence keeps the horses from eating the mulch, that the wind isn’t too ferocious for a while, that the overnight temp hovers closer to zero for a while, and that we please, please, please have some sun for a few days!
We haven’t had as much fruit as we used to when we lived in the city. Fruit and veg is more expensive here. Especially when you have kids like mine who demolish boxes of apples in a few days. Well it’s on – the project is started. Probably started with the other fruit trees, but now we are really looking to make it happen. I’ve been on the trail of an apple tree that was bred to grow here. I’m after some nut trees. I’m also after a manual cold press juicer, and I’m planning to make some apple cider some time in the future. I could have a cider stall at the front gate for those who like their cider organic 🙂