It has been a busy winter season here at home. I’ve started working 5 days a week and so have been trying to cram in a week’s worth of gardening into the weekends. Time with the kids has also been limited so I’ve tried to convince them that they love gardening too so I can spend some time with them. They’ve pulled out a few weeds, argued about who’s done the most work, then spent most of their time finding grubs to give to the chickens before giving up after an hour. They tried.
Given the time of year, we’ve been pretty lucky that the weather has held out as much as it has. But it has been cold. Still, it’s great weather to be working on the foundations. Lots of digging, new garden beds going in, and the beginnings of an orchard. I am thrilled with this season’s progress so far.
When we first moved to this region, I brought with me a few trees in pots with the dream of having my own orchard. Fast forward 16 months and we’ve made a start on that dream. We’ve marked out a spot for 16 trees to start with, but we have plenty more on the wish-list. We haven’t even started with the nut trees!
I have a kalamata olive, orange and lemon to plant towards the back. Four different avocado trees will go in front of these, but they won’t go in until after the threat of frost has passed. They can be a tad temperamental while they’re young and need plenty of protection until they’re firmly established. Next up are two cherry trees, these we’ve planted so that we can see the blossoms from the house. We’ve also planted three different apricot trees, and I have four dwarf apple trees. Two of these apples I brought with me and are yet to be planted (this weekend’s job) and the other two we inherited in the garden. The two apple trees that came with the house we’ve moved into the orchard, and winter is the perfect time to move them while they’re still dormant.
The orchard was laid out so that trees that will need netting when they’re fruiting are grouped together. The olive, lemon and orange trees are quite hardy and don’t need netting, so we’ll plant them towards the western side where the weather tends to come from. This should give the trees some protection, but we’ll have to wait and see if it’ll be enough.
The vegie garden has been given a total overhaul this winter. We’ve removed the wobbly dry-stacked bricks and have replaced them with sturdy eco-timber. The blackberry bushes have been transplanted from the garden into the vegie patch. I’ve put in 4 raspberry bushes, a youngberry and boysenberry, tidied and replanted over 100 strawberries and planted our rhubarb. Next on the list is planting our kiwiberry, black currant, red currant, onion seeds, kipfler and King Edward potatoes. I was hoping to remove the roses that are planted along the fence in the vegie garden, but I don’t have the beds ready in the garden to transplant them to so they’ll have to stay put for another year. Still, they were brutally pruned back to about a foot (some were over 6 feet tall) and they’ve all started to put on new growth already. Next winter after they’re removed and planted elsewhere, the blueberries will take their place. Some gravel for the paths to supress the crazy amount of weeds is also on the wish-list.
The progress this last month has been fast. I’m so incredibly happy with how our garden is taking shape. We plan on extending the orchard one day to include a variety of nut trees, cut in wide garden beds for new plants, and I’d love to create a kid’s secret garden. I have a lovely vision of densely planted native trees and bushes in a circular shape, concealing a cubby, swings and trampoline. Grand idea, but probably something our grandchildren will enjoy rather than our kids. I have so many ideas for our beautiful garden and can’t wait to see it develop.