The past three weeks on our homestead have been all about fruit trees. When I placed my orders in February, perhaps I was a wee bit overzealous, and I ordered a lot of trees (18 to be exact), fruiting bushes (a modest 6) and raspberries (only 12!) Planting fruit trees is like a celebration of finally owning our little piece of land and an investment in the future, so the more the merrier, right?
Well, sort of right. The thing about fruit trees is that you really need to take care siting and planting them. All winter long I’ve been placing markers at potential sites, reading books about orchard management (The Holistic Orchard is my favorite), and drooling over fruit tree catalogs (I ordered from One Green World and St. Lawrence Nurseries). Yet somehow, with all that dreaming and planning, I kind of neglected to think about how much time it takes to properly prepare a hole for planting. Thank goodness for my strong Homestead Hubby and a lot of great tips from St. Lawrence Nurseries’ planting guide. If you are getting ready to put trees in the ground, I would highly recommend reading their guide before you begin.
Digging deep! Topsoil is moved to one pile, and subsoil to another. In our holes, the topsoil was rich and brown, while the subsoil was a heavy reddish clay.
We used a long stick across the hole so it was easy to determine the proper level at which to plant the tree. The contents of the hole go back in the opposite order: sod first, topsoil around the roots of the tree, and subsoil last.
Voila! The beginnings of an orchard!