Notes from Windward: #66

Planting more Apricot Trees

a favorite rite of spring

First, dig a two foot deep hole

      Last year we planted apple trees, and the year before that it was plums and peaches. This year we decided to go with apricots in the hope that more company would induce our lone apricot tree to polinate and set fruit. Apricots are tricky at this elevation, and we won't be able to expect to set fruit every year, but when the weather's right, we should do alright.

Then fill it with a rich combination of compost and loose soil

      One advantage of keeping animals is that we have no shortage of compost mixed with soil -- the sheep are happy to work the old bedding into the soil with their hooves, and in a year or two it's ready for use wherever we need to build up the soil's quality and texture. You can tell from the color contrast just how rich this compost is.

Todd removes the root ball from the shipping container
and centers it in the hole

Using topsoil from the yurt site to fill in the rest of the hole

      The dirt dug out to make room for the tree ball was clayish, so instead of putting it back into the hole, we brought down some topsoil that had been removed while preparing the yurt site. Part of the fun of this lies in the ability to shift things around to where they'll do the most good.

Creating a downhill berm to catch rainfall and duck water

      During the early summer we'll enjoy the occassional rain; by putting a berm on the downhill side of the tree, more of that water will be captured and available to the tree instead of running off down the hill. During the dry season, we put out shallow pools and fill them with water for the ducks who love to escape the summer heat that way as they sort through their food and "enrich" the water with their waste. When the water gets sufficiently "enriched" we just tip the pool over to water the tree, move it to the next tree and refill it. Makes the ducks very happy, and gets the trees what they need without wasting water or time.

Finish up with a thick covering of straw to mulch

      Covering the bare earth with mulch is the last step, and an important one in that it goes a long way towards insuring that the trees won't get dry due to water evaporating from the top of the soil.

      For the record (and one of the things we use these Notes for is to record this sort of information for later reference), from west to east the varieties planted were
  • Drawf Royal Blenheim
  • Tilton
  • Wenatchee
  • Tilton

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 66