A new orchard - I think I bit off more than I can chew
Sunday, 16 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.