Thursday, August 26, 2010

Breaking Ground

Now that we are in our own place we can start getting serious about our food production. The rental we were in was good because it had a big weed-infested garden bed that we turned into our veg patch but now that we've got 2.5 acres of our own space the feeling is completely different. Overwhelming, exciting and daunting all at the same time. We want to plan things properly, taking our time and really thinking about where the chickens will go, what is the best site for the compost etc etc. Luckily for us the site for the orchard was pretty obvious.

The previous owners told us that they had great plans for the gardens and yard but simply did not have the time to devote to it (they are running their own small business). Luckily for us they spent some time (and money) on some pretty good garden infrastructure. There is a bore (that pumps up ground water) connected with underground pipes to many sprinklers (think big farm sprinklers) all over the grounds. This means that we'll be able to water gardens without using our precious rain water (We aren't connected to mains/town water) Two of these sprinklers are behind the house towards the back fenceline. Confusing I know. Sorry. Anyway, we're planning the orchard to be along the back fenceline, two rows 7 metres apart with the trees in each row 3 metres apart, then another row in between with trees 3 metres apart staggered to the outside rows. Even more confusing? It makes sense in my head!

There was one citrus tree already there so we're taking our spacings off that one. Saturday we planted a new mandarin (Emperor variety) and Sunday we planted a very sick Eureka lemon that we've had in a pot. My parents gave it to us for Christmas last year and unfortunately it hasn't been the same since it got decimated by grasshoppers a while ago. Hopefully now it's in the ground it will recover!

I've decided that I'm going to try and stretch my grocery/market/housekeeping money a little further and buy one fruit tree every fortnight, maybe two if they're a good price or need a friend for cross-pollination. After looking around the markets and a few smaller nurseries in town I found that the only place I could get a mandarin tree (it was Elliot's request) was Bunnings. Good for the budget because it was only $20, not so good for the ethics of supporting local businesses.

Oh well, you can't win them all.


  1. Oh vic, that is so exciting. So much to look forward to. And how wonderful to already have so much in place...lots of $ saved there. I look forward to hearing/seeing the progress. xx

  2. An orchard sounds amazing! Have popped in from Meaghan's blog and think your space is gorgeous. I made your potato cakes for tea tonight and they were a huge hit. That tomato relish is gorgeous. Thanks so much :)