March jobs in the garden: Orchard pruning
Time for another garden update. Be prepared for many more garden updates the upcoming months, as garden season is in full swing now. Today I prepared a little update on our humble orchard and the new vegetable patch progress.
Judging by the pile of wood on the featured picture, you probably are wondering what happened? Did we kill a tree or maybe our whole orchard? No, not really. All the trees are still alive. We hope. The only thing that happened is that the gardener of the people that own this place, trimmed the fruit trees on our request.
Over the years that we have been living here, we saw how some of the fruit trees were suffering, as they were starting to shade out each other. We were also unable to reach most of the fruit on some of the trees. On top of that, our neighbours also started commenting on the condition of the trees. We therefore tried to trim them ourselves, but they really needed a professional trim, from someone that owned professional equipment basically. Our hand saw wasn’t really doing anything. And watching Monty Don tree-pruning-videos about how pigeons should be able to fly in between the branches, without slowing down, didn’t really help as well.
So when the gardener arrived a week ago to do the regular chores (trimming the unnecessary grass), Eduard discussed with him that the trees really needed a trim and whether he was able to do it. He told us that he was going to discuss it with the owners as soon as possible. Fruit trees are best trimmed before the end of March. A few days after he left, we heard that he was allowed to trim the trees, and yesterday he arrived with his equipment in the pouring rain and acrobatically (without a lifeline) climbed into the trees and trimmed them.
He basically cut out the tops of the trees (this is how they looked exactly a year ago), and gave the trees some air in the middle by cutting away some branches in the centre part of the trees as well (for the flying pigeons obviously). While we were watching him do the job, he saw our concerned looks (seriously: he basically cut the cherry trees in half) and joked at us while balancing on some of the high branches by making a crying face while he laughed. We are such tree huggers. He obviously knows what he is doing, so we trust what he does. But still though, look at that pile of wood. Branches full with early blossom buds. That’s what came of five trees. Two cherry trees, two plum trees and one apple tree. Let’s hope all this green tragedy is for a good cause.
We asked him to leave the trimmed branches behind for us. I will need them to make the paths in our vegetable garden. We will use the big logs to warm our house in a few years, when the wood is dried out.
What else has happened in the garden….
Well, I told you earlier that I’m adding a new piece of land to the vegetable garden. It’s the highest lying land on our (rented) piece of land. Next to one of the plum trees. It’s a fairly unreachable piece of awful looking grass. In the spirit of grow-food-not-lawns I decided to make better use of that part of the garden and make it into a huge pumpkin patch. Huge, in the Monty Don kind of way.
I’ve started marking out the piece of land. It will basically be the size that you see set out on the picture below and then almost to the hedge of the neighbours garden (the blue one). Now that I’m working away the thick layer of grass, I’m slowly comprehending how big this piece of land is, so I’ll probably grow some more things there. I’ll grow corn in between the pumpkin patches and I’ll grow my potatoes on the far of the patch. It will be as far away as possible from the tomatoes in the original vegetable garden. I’m hoping that it will help keeping possible diseases far away from each other. This week I’ll also plant the second batch of garlic in this part of the garden.
I hope I’ll be able to finish digging up the grass before the beginning of May, when I have to start planting the main crops out. 1m per day might do the job. I’m using a grelinette to do the job. It works like a charm I must say. The unused grass patches are re-used on other parts of the garden, where the grass needs some patching up. I’ll show you that part in a later blogpost. This was supposed to be a short update!