The orchards  (2010)  by Mary

Remember my dream of having orchards and berries? The orchards were amazing to watch as those little sticks with four inch pruned branches grew into nice sized trees by fall. Dwarf trees make it easy to pick the fruit, and we are looking forward to a small crop next year.

Neighbors told us that this isn't apple county. Also, there are a lot of cedar trees on our property, which causes cedar apple rust. We tried to pick varieties that are disease resistant, and plan to raise these trees organically with hope that some ignore the facts and make us proud.  

Quote: "There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments." -- Janet Kilburn Phillips


Counting the garden bed that was already there, we have seven (20 X 30 foot) deer proof, fenced in beds:

Two are apple orchards with six trees in each, and one variety orchard with 2 plum, 2 pear, 1 peach, 1 nectarine, and 1 apricot.  They have all done well.

Another bed has two semi-dwarf cherry trees and six blueberries. The cherry trees have been slow starters compared to the rest of the trees. We have a neighbor in the city who lets us gather her pine needles to put around the blueberries to keep the soil acidic. 

The sixth one, we call the 'berry bed'. It has nine blackberries and multiple raspberries. Those tiny blackberry plants also surprised us at their growth, and we had a few berries to eat already this first season.    

The last bed we built holds three grape vines down the middle with plenty of room on each side for a couple rows of garden.

 The berry bed: The blackberries, on the left half, came in little containers similar to a six-pack of flowers, and grew this much in one season. 

Reminiscing: Already, it is difficult to remember the mess we started out with the first year, in order to compare to the present place where junk has been hauled away, weeds mowed, the huge dead tree and others removed, and the beds put in place. Larry and I sometimes say to each other, "Remember when this was solid thistles?" or something similar. Only we can fully understand the change, and appreciate the beauty that was underneath it all. There is still so much to do, and our minds, just as before, want to get it done yesterday. However, we seem to be more aware that our time of working hard is running out. Our bodies are telling us to go at a slower pace and enjoy the experience.        

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