Saturday, August 18, 2012
Getting the little orchard going
The first fig tree was already planted a couple of weeks ago. In addition there is a deer-ravished plum, deer-ravished small apples (2), deer-ravished apricot(?), and one tree that I don't know what it is. Now that I have water, I planted two of the paw paws and 2 peaches. They were in containers, so I had to keep them watered anyway. It's hard to see much here. The post on the far left is the Petite negri fig, which is surviving and not much worse for having been planted in the hottest part of the summer. This is a grid, 3 by 5 for 15 trees total. It was going to be 3 by 6, but the gate location took care of the end three. At least I hadn't planted anything there yet. The grid will be uneven due to a few pre-existing trees, but that's OK. The 2 on the far end are paw paws, and the 2 closer ones are peaches. I debated planting the paw paws. This is not considered the time of year to plant them. These were in containers. One of the main issues is tap root, which if damaged can kill the tree. I opted to carefully slide off the containers, and planted without disturbing the root balls. My usual approach is to spread out the roots, but with paw paws the roots are said to be brittle and easily damaged. My thought is that if I'm not going to disturb the root ball anyway, I might as well plant them now. It was windy - the big leaves looked like they thought there was a hurricane. Might be a mistake. Paw paws are said to require a high humus soil, so I mixed in a lot of compost. The Paw paws are "Sunflower" and "NC-1". I have a small one remaining, which I'll wait until fall to plant. Again, not the best time for paw paws, but if I'm not going to disturb the root ball, they might as well be in the ground. The two peaches were also container grown, which I had planted in plastic barrels this spring. These peaches are reported as Leaf Curl resistant - Charlotte and Oregon Leaf Curl Resistant, and they might as well get the full test. I did spread their roots out, although I tried not to damage any. I sprayed the trees with deer repellent. Paw paws are not considered a deer treat, but I wanted to be careful. As always, we'll see. All 4 trees are loosely tied to posts, and there is a compost mulch. In addition, I scattered dog-yard cleanings as hoped for deer repellent. Doesn't hurt anything here - there is no one around to step in it, and it is close to the little trees. The theory is that deer regard the dog "spoor" as evidence of predators, so will avoid the area. My dogs are not exactly predators - they might wag their tails. But the deer don't know that. I also scattered cilantro seeds, since one of the peaches had cilantro that had gone to seed in its pot, so it was immediately available. I gave them all big doses of water. Three figs south of the house - they will get full south light and heat. Sal's is finally out of its pot, after years of container growth. The King figs are only a foot tall. Might take a while. So small they are difficult to see. They are well mulched, got lots of compost, and metal stakes so they don't get run over. I also plan to move some larger fig trees here when they are dormant.