• Tag Archives orchard
  • A Garden Morning

    Beltane                                   New Moon (Hungry Ghost)

    The potatoes have mounds around the growing plants and the hilled up earth from their trenches has leveled out.  The bush beans I planted there last week 06-05-10_garden_herb-spiral-670have begun to germinate and I plan to plant more bush beans tomorrow if the weather is ok.

    While checking fruit on our trees, I ended up weeding the blueberries, too.  The clover is exuberant, mostly a happy addition to our orchard, but overwhelming in the blueberry patch.  We do have apples and cherries and currants, but I could find no pears.  Our production will at least double this year, maybe more.  I counted six apples and several, say 8, cherries.  The currants have experienced substantial predation, by birds, I think.

    I mounded earth around the growing leeks, too, to blanch the stems.   The garlic, which grows near the leeks, looked ready to harvest, but when I pulled a few out of the ground, they looked like they had a ways to go.  I hung the five I dug from a bamboo pole in the honey house.

    Kate’s begun weeding and that helps a lot.  Keeping the bees, the vegetables, the orchard and the flowers in good shape requires attending to the plants we have, doing things like mounding the potatoes and the leeks, checking the garlic, watching for disease and insects, taking action if a plant seems to be in distress, replanting if, as in the instance of the carrots, germination is low.  Though weeding is an important, very important maintenance action, it doesn’t involve direct plant care which is what I enjoy.  I’m glad to have Kate back at the weeding.  She’s also our pruner and she has begun to recover our front sidewalk.

    Then it rained.

  • Pictures. Puppies and Plants.

    Beltane                    Waxing Dyan Moon


    Poppa (the big gray wolfhound, Guiness) and his children.  Our new pups are in this picture, but I can’t pick them out.



    The orchard early in its first growing season.  Currants in the foreground to the right, cherries and plums the trees in mid-ground.



    A potato eye view of its bed.

  • Before and After: The Orchard in Autumn, year 1

    65  bar steep drop  29.80  2mph W  dew-point 45  sunrise 7:12  set 6:51  Autumn

    Waxing Crescent of the Blood Moon    rise  11:04 AM CDT    set  8:00 PM CDT



    Ecological Gardens
    “What is permaculture?
    Permaculture (Permanent Culture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems that have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other needs in a sustainable way (Mollison, Bill. Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. Tyalgum: Tagari Publications, 1988.). Ecological gardening is an attempt to apply these design principles to backyard ecosystems.”

    We had the post-installation walk through in which Paula began to explain the plants, their particular needs and uses.  Lindsay came, too.  The plant guilds (see a post a bit ago) around the fruit trees fix nitrogen, fight off predators, attract beneficial insects and help build soil nutrients.  The clover sown among the fruit tree mounds and their guilds will further fix nitrogen and add a flash of white to the orchard. orchard-week-1frtrees400006.jpg

    Right now the primary thing is to provide the whole with adequate water.  The blueberries need some straw to hold in moisture.  In preparation for next spring I will clear and smother a belt 15 feet back from the truck access way, creating a place to plant a forest edge.  The edge plants will be shrubs which birds and other animals prefer to the fruits in the orchard.  That’s a permaculture strategy for reducing animal feeding on human edibles.  It also attracts wildlife, which we do to some extent now anyway.

    Over the winter Paula and Lindsay will complete a site design that will begin to integrate the features of permaculture even more tightly into our overall landscape.  As years go by, a great virture of permaculture is that it requires less and less maintenance because it mimics or recreates natural ecological balance through plant diversity.


  • A Clear Week Ahead

    65  bar rises 30.02  omph NW  dew-point 64  sunrise 7:03  set 7:07

    Last Quarter Harvest Moon  rise 12:10  set  4:24

    Pouring rain.  Thunder and lightning.  Good for the crops, but if it lasts into tomorrow, not so good for site prep.  That’s what’s on deck.  Guy with bobcat moving earth, creating berms, leveling.  That sort of thing.

    The weather forecasts look ok, still some chance of thunderstorm on Thursday morning.  20%  Good odds.

    Finished all the candidate research this morning.  Sierra club political committee tomorrow night.  Might be the last meeting until after the election.  From this point forward it will be retail political work, tactics not strategy.

    I have no tours until a week from Friday.  That one is an On Dragon’s Wings tour for an esl group.  They have asked us to use modified language.  Not sure what that means.  Guess we’ll find out.

    We’re ready to do this.

  • Before Site Prep: The Orchard

    66  bar steady 30.00  0mph WNW dew-point 65  sunrise 7:02  set 7:07  Autumn

    Last Quarter of the Harvest Moon  rise 12:10  set 4:34

    orchard-before-2008planfromhouse500.jpg   Orchard schematic from same orientation as photograph below.  The large circles are trees,  the smaller crenallated figures are shrubs and the small circles are perennial plants.


    The kitchen bay window is at my back as I took this photograph on the same orientation as the plan.  This looks west.


    This  is the opposite orientation from the photograph above, looking east from the access road toward the house.

  • The Lumberjack at Home

    73  bar steady  30.18  1mph N  dew-point 47  sunrise 6:54  set 7:19  Lughnasa

    Waning Gibbous Harvest Moon  rise 8:02  set 9:41


    Got this one down without hitting the house, the fence or the glass table on the deck.  My merit badge is secure.

    This work prepares the area for the orchard and fruit bushes.  Lindsay and Paula came today.  Lindsay’s plan fit our needs to a tee and moves us forward.  I’ll give you a detailed version of it later, but it includes cherries, apples, pears, plums, currants, gooseberries, serviceberries and other fruiting shrubs.  The orchard and the fruiting shrubs will extend from the kitchen bay window all the way to the edge of the woods.

    Remember this one from Monty Python?

    Oh, I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay, I sleep all night and I work all day.

    CHORUS: He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay, He sleeps all night and he works all day.

    I cut down trees, I eat my lunch, I go to the lava-try.

    On Wednesdays I go shoppin’ And have buttered scones for tea.

    Mounties: He cuts down trees, he eats his lunch, He goes to the lava-try. On Wednesdays ‘e goes shoppin’ And has buttered scones for tea.