Well it's raining again tonight and I've no plans to go and face it as I've been outside most of the day.
So instead I'll start planning what I'm going to do next. One of the first things I've done on the homestead was to start to plant our orchard. I wasn't going to bother this year, what with moving on the 23rd of December, having a baby daughter and keeping enough work coming in we were quite busy, but I remembered that my plan was if I ever bought a smallholding then the first thing I'd do was to plant fruit trees!
|They don't look much yet!|
And plant them I did. I managed to get 22 in before the spring, I think I went a little bit mad. I brought quite few "common" ones from Aldi (as they were British grown and only £5 a tree) and then more unusual ones from Frank P Matthews (who are local to my parents and offer a huge range and top quality trees). I even bough some two year old trees to speed them along a bit. Many of these trees I planted in the rain at night, the neighbours must have thought I was burying a body!
I've tried to get a wide selection of fruit, apples are the most important to me as i eat so many (about 3 a day) and I've tried to get some with good keeping qualities as well as all my favorites.
|The plan of the types of trees (excuse my writting!)|
So far I've planted:
Apple - (2) Cox, (2) Braeburn, Bramley, (2) Scotch Bridget, Elstar, Worcester Pearman, (2) Brownlees Russet, Christmas Pippin, Discovery
Pear - Duce Du Comice, (2) Conference
Plum - Victoria, Czar, Opal,
One Green Gage
I've got enough room for another 8 trees easily in this area, maybe more, and I know I want to plant some damsons (damson jam is my favourite) but not sure what else. Maybe some cider apple trees, a few more plums and a crab apple but open to suggestions! I've still got to fence it off and add a gate so when I get some grazing stock they can be kept away from the leaves and fruit of the trees.
|All the trees look really healthy (and I've not needed to water them!)|
My other plan for the orchard is to look at getting some meat chickens (day olds) in the next couple of months as I'd like to start producing some free range chickens for us to eat. I'd have to build a movable coop and use mesh fencing so I can give them a large area of fresh grass but stop them from wondering off and give them some protection from predators. It should be a good use of the space as the trees establish.