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A new orchard - I think I bit off more than I can chew

Monday, 17 Oct 11 Cloudy 17°C / 63°F

I have been prepping for a new orchard. My garden is about 100 feet long (Photo-2) and behind that is about 200 feet wide x 450 feet deep of the gnarliest brush, trees, and briar bushes that I’ve ever seen. I have been mowing a narrow 30’ wide strip for years, between the woods and gnarly brush, just so I can get to the back of my property (Photo-3). I’m trying to clear an area about 200 feet wide by 450 feet deep (2 acres or 0.84 hectares) with a chainsaw and my new toy …. a brushhog. Unfortunately some of the trunks of the brush is 4-5” diameter and way too big for the brushhog’s 2” capacity (Photo 4). I have a 250 foot wide strip mowed on the North side of the brush-patch that I also keep mowed (Photo 5).

(Photo 1) The plan is to plant peach, apple, and cherry trees in this area. I figured that a distance of 20 feet between trees is about right, so I have room for about 200 trees. I don’t plan to put that many trees in next Spring. I don’t have the budget, time, or energy for that many. My daughter’s boyfriend worked weekends at a tree-farm preparing for a bankruptcy auction. His friend won a bid on 2000 fruit trees for $400. They are all about 5’-6’ tall and potted in 5 gallon pots. I made a deal for 15 peach, 15 apple, 10 cherry, 5 plum, and 5 pear trees for $2.00 each which I’ll plant 5 rows wide by 10 trees per row. I saved 50 pits from my 3 bushel of Pennsylvania peaches that I got in trade for strawberries this fall. I also saved seeds from my Cortland Apples. I’m going to try to start seedlings in my greenhouse this winter. Hopefully I can get enough size on them to plant them next fall.

The rest of the plan is to put in two 50 foot rows of grape vines. I already have 10 Concord cuttings rooted from my existing vines. I have friends that have green and red seedless that I’ll take cuttings and also attempt to root. I also plan to relocate my blackcaps, blackberries, and black raspberry bushes into straight rows. I’ll have to break down and buy red raspberry bushes. Finally, I need to locate some red current and black current bushes as well as Elderberry bushes.

My wife doesn’t get it – why at 65 I would add another 2 acres to take care of. I’m in pretty good shape right now and my cancer tumors are completely gone, so I’ll still be able to harvest in 5 years. I plan to live forever.


This entry is about

Orchard garden


  • flowerweaver

    flowerweaver wrote:

    Glad to hear your cancer tumors are gone, and am excited to hear about the orchard plans. You are always getting good deals! What I really want to know, though, is how your strawberry plants survived the flooding. I know they don’t like wet feet and have been worried about them.

    Posted on 17 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • hotwired

    hotwired wrote:

    The jury is still out on the strawberries. Next spring is when I planned to put in a new patch anyway. Hopefully I can get a few hundred pounds out of the June-bearing next Spring. I was going to rip it all out next Summer and prep for new plants in 2012.

    Posted on 17 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • SneIrish

    SneIrish wrote:

    Glad to hear the tumors are gone. YaY! I plan to live forever too, so we can keep writing and reading each other’s journals. I have no room for an orchard or small vineyard. I can have one raspberry bush and one blueberry bush and a small strawberry patch. My grandiosity will have to settle for virtually sharing yours! Thanks!

    Posted on 18 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • nickyn

    nickyn wrote:

    yay! Glad to hear the good news! Just one question – Why stop at 2 acres!!! Joking!!! Great deal on the trees. I`m sure it will be amazing!

    Posted on 18 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • anelson

    anelson wrote:

    Yay about the cancer tumors. Sounds like you have a good plan! That’s quite a deal on the trees.

    Posted on 18 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • TeresaGreen

    TeresaGreen wrote:

    That’s fantastic news hotwired, my you’ve got a LOT of energy, sounds like a terrific project, I’m with Snelrish – no room for a proper orchard, so will have to enjoy reading about yours instead!

    Posted on 18 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • tash

    tash wrote:

    wow awesome about the tumors.
    great price on apples. I thought I was getting a good deal when I paid $20. are you planning on grafting something to the seedlings or just letting them go and see what you get?
    what kind of brushhog is that? my husband has been thinking of getting a pull behind. I keep thinking we don’t really need one though, we don’t have brush, just tall wildflowers and grasses…..

    Posted on 18 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • Deanna

    Deanna wrote:

    Glad you are well. I think the biting off more than you can chew part is going to happen when all those trees start producing fruit! You will be the barter king when those trees start producing!

    Posted on 20 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • anelson

    anelson wrote:

    I realize another awesome thing about this orchard is that we will be able to enjoy your postings about how you vanquish the raccoons, squirrels and birds, and hopefully we learn some pointers too.

    Posted on 20 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • halhurst

    halhurst wrote:

    Live forever, or at least long enough to enjoy a peach, a chinese symbol of long life. And maybe your daughter and her children will enjoy this orchard for generations to come. And don’t forget Queen Anne cherries!

    Of course, now you will have to have bees too…

    Posted on 20 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • Tubasteve42

    Tubasteve42 wrote:

    Wow, I dream about one day having enough space to make a garden/orchard like that. And as we say around our martial arts acadamy: Cancer Sucks!! Good luck with it all.

    Posted on 21 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • Loratika

    Loratika wrote:

    Great news about the tumors! I’m sure you had a fight, but it seems like you can take on challenges that most of us wouldn’t dream of taking on and then you seem to tackle them with what at least appears to be ease, careful planning and persistence. I think what we’re doing in our gardens helps to keep us all young and hopefully alert through the years. I think that’s why Folia has such a great group of people.

    I’ve heard that you can get a special energy from working in the soil with your bare hands. I don’t know how much I believe that but I do believe that your good karma or spirit or what ever else you want to call it is the key to your success and fight against cancer. Keep doing what you’re doing and I’m sure you’ll stay young a lot longer than most people who complain about there lives and don’t do anything to improve it or someone else’s. Thanks for your inspiration and helpful tips. I went from wanting to plant a few fruit trees to wanting to plant a couple dozen, even if only from small seeds.

    We are conditioned to think that we need to buy fruit trees that are ready to bare rather than take the time to plant a seed and wait to see it grow. I’m envious of your fruit tree buy, but I was happy to see you saving the pits, seeds and cuttings to plant. Those of us who don’t seem to find the buys that you do never need to narrow our horizons just because we can’t find the trees that we want to grow or because of a lack of money. Even if you don’t have your own property or if it only consists of a small balcony to put a few pots on, you can do a little research to find out what varieties will grow best in your area and then find out which varieties grow true from seeds. Once you’ve armed yourself with that type of information, your options can seem endless, no matter what your circumstances. You can then have your larger fruit trees ready (in pots) for when you get that new house sometime in the future.

    Who cares if the trees may take ten years before they start producing well? One thing that I’ve learned as I get older is that each year the years go by quicker. Before I know it, ten years will have passed and I will be enjoying the “fruits” of my labors rather than thinking, I wish that I had planted those mango, key lime and avocado trees back when I first thought of doing it, because I’d be enjoying them by now if I had. Plus, why deny yourself the experience of nurturing your little trees through the years? Watching the stem rise out of the ground, the first leaves unroll, the trunks get thicker and taller…wait, I know I think of them as my little babies, but am I getting ridiculous?

    Again, thanks for your inspiration and for helping me to open my eyes to the possibilities!

    Posted on 22 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • xan

    xan wrote:

    When I had thyroid cancer 3 years ago I put in asparagus as an act of faith, that I would be here to harvest it.

    About the apple seeds- I though apples don’t grow true from seeds. So are you hoping your own new type?

    Posted on 22 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • digfrance

    digfrance wrote:

    nice to know you will be around longer to keep posting answers.

    Posted on 24 Oct 11 (over 3 years ago)

  • chobbzy

    chobbzy wrote:

    I totally agree with digfrance, don’t get on here much these days but l have learned a lot from your posts so here’s to longevity for hotwired, by the way because of our climate blackberrys are a pest we have to spray to keep them in control.
    All the best for the future

    Posted on 11 Nov 11 (over 3 years ago)

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