The new trees are here! Once the frost was off the morning, I went out and started planting. I took the eight bare root trees out of the box first and letting their roots soak in fish/seaweed solution, while I started digging in the beds we’d already prepared last June.
I had a fright before I went outside–I thought to take a look at planting suggestions in the Holistic Orchard book, and he suggests putting Rock Phosphate and Wood Ash in the holes–I hadn’t been thinking of that. But then I found a bag of Rock Phosphate in the garage from last year, and we have a can of wood ashes, so we were all set. These help the roots to get a good start.
I started with the “Contender” Peach tree, since it seemed to have the biggest roots. It was a job to get all of them spread out and under the soil. I feel my age when I am digging and kneeling in the dirt moving things around, and then getting up again. I was happy to use water from our rain barrels to give it a good soaking. This is a self-fertile tree, so one will do fine by itself.
[Myke & the Blueberry, Photo by Margy Dowzer]
After a short rest, I decided to plant the two blueberry bushes next–because they were little and easy. We got one “Blueray,” and one “Jersey.” Then I moved on to the “Honeycrisp” Apple. The apple needs another tree for fertilization, but we’ve got a lot of wild crabapples around so that should do.
Finally, I planted three Hazelnut bushes. We decided to get an experimental hybrid hazelnut, Corylus Cross. These shrubs are produced from crosses of three hazelnut species: American hazelnut, Corylus americana; beaked hazelnut, C. cornuta; and European hazelnut, C. avellana. The nuts from these shrubs will likely be larger than American hazelnuts, because they are crossed with the European variety–(which is the kind that we usually can find in the store–small enough as it is.)
Meanwhile, Margy came out, and we talked again about where to position the “Illinois Everbearing” Mulberry tree. We decided to get the mulberry because birds love them, and they can draw birds away from the other fruit. Plus the fruit is good for people too. But we didn’t have a bed ready, and we decided to put this one further back in the yard–partly because it is a standard size and we don’t want it to shade the solar panels. Our other fruit trees are dwarf or semi-dwarf. Margy took on this project and is still working on it. After planting 7 trees or bushes, I am taking a break! We still have the small plants to do, but I can hardly lift my arms.