Expanding the Urban Orchard
On Sunday we went shopping at our local nursery Oakland Park for garlic starts (they did not have any hardneck varieties) and blueberries (which they did not have either). They did have a dwarf european plum tree at 33% off. We were sold.
For awhile I have been hating on two overgrown shrubs in a small bed near our garage. They are not pretty and produce nothing worthwhile. The spot gets a fair amount of sun; at least enough for a small tree. So, the shrubs had to come out before the plum could go in.
While Alex was removing shrubs, I went to Lowes. I generally try to avoid Big Box stores, but Alex had seen blueberry plants there earlier in the week and we really wanted to expand our blueberry bed. (By personal and non-profit accounts, Lowes is one of the more employee and human rights friendly Big Boxes.)
When I came home, the shrubs were out and the tree hole was dug. Alex was a patient co-gardener and re dug the hole when we realized the tree would be more centered a few feet over.
Lillian "helped" the whole time. Sometimes her assistance was more trouble than help, but she does love to break up dirt clods. Given some layers of clay in our holes, there were plenty of dirt clods. She is also a helpful model of how deep a tree hole needs to be.
Lil was great at lossening the roots. Then she sprinkled some alpaca green beans in the tree hole. These alpaca feces are full of nutrients! My neighbor Mary graciously provides them to me for free right now, but may eventually sell them as part of her burgeoning farm, Alpaca Green.
The plum tree was planted in the new hole. I made Alex take a picture of me filling in around the tree, lest anyone think I always leave the heavy lifting to him.
Under one of the overgrown shrubs was a hearty and pretty azalea. We thought it would do better out front, so I replanted it.
I worked on planting the blueberries when Alex got the idea that we could fit a new raspberry patch in our side yard if we just removed an overgrown rose of sharon. He worked on it for a long time and finally sunlight shed on the side yard.
Off he went back to Lowes where I had seen the raspberries. He chose three Fall Gold plants, which are supposed to be ever-bearing. The spot we planting is not truly full sun but hearty raspberries will likely still produce.
We do not expect fruit from any of these plantings for at least two years. We will pinch off blossoms from the plum and blueberries to allow the plants to establish strong roots before putting energy into fruiting. In a few years, we should have quite the urban orchard!
Summary of our Fruiting Plants
plant (variety) - quantity - location -years in ground
peach (dwarf) - 2 - front yard between sidewalk and street - 1
cherry (dwarf) - 2 - backyard - 1/2
raspberry (red early) - 1 - backyard by alley - 1
raspberry (red everbearing) - 1 - backyard by alley - 2
raspberry (fall gold ever-bearing) - 3 - sideyard - 0
strawberry (early) - 10 - sideyard - 2
strawberry (late) - 10 - sideyard - 2
plum (dwarf self pollinating) - 1 - backyard - 0
blueberry (multiple) - 4 - front yard - 1, 2, 0