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The poor, neglected orchard. (Neo-Hippies, unite!) | Speedkin

The poor, neglected orchard. (Neo-Hippies, unite!)

Waaaay back in later winter, I began desodding around the fruit trees, following up with a nice, thick layer of wood chips for mulch.  Then I busted my ankle and the farmer’s market came along and that was the end of my shoveling career for the spring & summer.  And the drought.  Oh, the drought.  Those poor trees had to compete with all of that grass for nonexistent water.

Finally, over the past few days, Cody & I have begun the desodding & mulching again.

After completely desodding to a 5-6′ radius, we put on a thick layer of fresh wood chips, courtesy of our electric company.

These wood chips are perfect for I’m doing, ala The Holistic Orchard.  Everyone has always told me that you cannot grow fruit without at least some spraying of chemical soup.  I’ve never done it but I did break down this spring and buy a bottle of spray… but could not bring myself to use it.  Then I found The Holistic Orchard (see short video from the author here) and got confirmation in what I’d already been working towards.  Ha ha!  Take that, bottle of chemical goo!

Finally, as we clean out the goat shed now & then. we dump a wheelbarrow full of soiled bedding to one side of the tree.  That side will being to break down into one that that favors certain soil critters while the plain chipped side will favor others.  As we work our way around the orchard, we’ll eventually get to dumping fresh soiled bedding on the opposite sides of the previously strawed trees.  By then, the already-strawed sides will have broken down somewhat and be favoring yet other critters while the fresh bedding  starts its thing again.  And so on, with a few other random things thrown in now & then.

The above tree was one I had started desodding early this year, pre-ankle bust, so it’s a smaller circle.  We’ll get around to enlarging the few smaller desods after we finish the completely neglected ones.

The mulching method I’m using is only part of the equation — it’s just the portion I’m working on right now.  I’m sure many will snicker at my attempt to keep everything spray-free but I truly believe it can be done.  Just as many snickered at my open-air poultry house but we went ahead with it.  It’s worked out beautifully. And my garden with the lack of synthetic mulch, fertilizers, and various ‘cides.  Once I get the soil back to health, the plants will be healthy, happy things, able to fully defend themselves against nature’s challenges.  And bluebirds & various forest critters will sing in beautiful three-part harmony.  And unicorns will glide over rainbows.  Groovy.

So keep the faith fellow neo-hippies!  Our nutty ways may one day rule the world.  ;-)

8 Responses to “The poor, neglected orchard. (Neo-Hippies, unite!)”

  1. Jessica October 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    So interesting…I seriously am jealous! While you got to love a woods and all, they are a thorn in the side of one with a bit of farmers blood, needing more sunshine. Love your big open yard. How many trees and what variety?

    • Diane October 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      Hmm… I’d have to do a count but we have apples, pears, nectarines, plums, persimmons, hazelnut, elderberry, and wild plum… unless I’m forgetting something. I’ll have to go back and look at the exact varieties.

  2. Gail Curry October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    I’m intrigued with the half side mulching variation – very interesting…. and lord knows, I’d like to have unicorns flying over my farm too, so I’ll have to investigate this further! :)

    • Diane October 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      Maybe we should go in partners on northeastern Missouri’s first unicorn farm!

  3. ilene October 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    I did the desodding thing but I couldn’t keep the mulch around them because of the chickens. *sigh*. I’m going to look into getting that book you referred to.

    The only thing I have ever used to spray my trees is Volck oil, during dormancy. Trees I’ve had previously have wormy fruit at first, but the “second wave” was always really nice. I’ve had some insect and bird damage to the fruit, but with fruit trees, I just accept that I’ll be sharing it. Bugs and birds gotta eat, too.

    • Diane October 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

      I’m definitely keeping the birds & goats away from my trees. Maybe once the trees are mature but, even then, I’ll have little cages around them. Too much time invested in these suckers to have my critters kill them. But, yeah, I accept that I’ll lose some fruit to the wild bunch. No problem there.

  4. Feather October 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Looking good. I think growing food without chemicals is great. The less crap going on and into food the better it is for you.

    • Diane October 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      Agreed. I’m about sick of everything in the stores having crap in and/or on it.

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