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Friday, November 30, 2007

Tools Used in the Orchard

This is part 5 of the Tools {used on my homestead} series. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 can be found by clicking on the links.

Our orchard is still young. We were expecting are first harvest this year. But as some of you recall, to my horror, a late deadly frost covered my area, killing all the blossoms on my fruit trees. This list will be incomplete, due to my lack of experience with the orchard. Those of you that have fruit trees, please, feel free to add to the list of tools needed in the comments.

For Planting, your best tool is your local extension office. Believe me when I say, use them up! Not only can you find some great deals on trees, but you can take soil samples in to be tested for a small fee. Testing the soil in the area that you wish to plant in will tell you what you need to add, or subject from the dirt.

Next are your trees. Find trees suitable for your climate. I saw someone purchase a citrus tree just because the local farm store had one out for sale. But unless this person has an arboretums, I don't see it surviving in our brutal cold weather. Maybe it was a GMO, and spliced to make it here. I don't know, it was listed that I could see. Your local extension office will be able to tell you what tree thrive in your area, if you have any questions.

The next tool used is what ever was missing from the soil. As our top soil was stripped, we had a lot of "adding" to do. Mist of it was in the for of compost. Mulch is another thing to have on hand.

Once trees and your add-ins are on hand, planting is your next step. We use a spade for ours. One reason we use this and not a shovel is because we snap shovels, just like we snap those potato forks. We work in the add-ins to the loosened soil with that ever present Garden Claw. And depending on what the add-in is, we may wait a few days before planting.

Once the trees are in, we must use stakes and tape to keep our trees straight. Otherwise that old reliable Kansas wind will have our trees almost laying down. Hoses now come into play. We are in the process of turning a horse tank into a rain barrel (will update you on the project at a later date) A water source is important (another up coming project is a windmill)

Pruning shears and a field knife are also tools e use. Some trees require certain pruning to happen. Shaping the tree to keep them from going "wild" is said to improve the fruit quality. The field knife come in use when suckers begin to grow.

Companion planting your orchard is a good idea, this tool we will call the cover crop. I am trying to locate clover seed for mine (as the bee hives are in my orchard) but there are other cover crops good for your orchard.

Lay out of the orchard is a good idea as well. Placement for your trees can help with pollination, even those trees that claim to be self pollinating can receive benefits from a companion.

This is an outdated drawing, as trees have been added.

We are prepared for a harvest. Bushel buckets, ladders, and netting. Hopefully next year looks like our apple picking adventure of last year.

Remember, by clicking on my tags, you can see other posts on the subject.


Given55 said...


Celeste said...

I lose my peaches every year due to wind or frost.

Phelan said...

Thank you mom.

Celeste I am sorry to hear that. Hear's to hoping about next year.

abbagirl74 said...

Happy Birthday Phelan!

Phelan said...

Thank you abba!

KF-in-Georgia said...

Happy birthday, birthday-buddy. Belatedly, though, since I worked a late shift. And thanks for your birthday wishes to me.

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