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When you can't sleep! (Orchard)

Discussion in 'The Homestead' started by milius2, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. milius2

    milius2 Maker

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    Ok, so I've been planting a lot of trees on my property, and some fruit trees as well. I wanted it all to look a bit like a forest. But mother nature and farming does not go well together. Deer and moose and rabits spoiled quite a bit of my efforts, and although I was able to protect most of fruit trees, the expensive bleuberry plants suffers greatly each year. So I decided to make a fenced of orchard and now I can't sleep. :D So many things to go through.... What materials to choose, how to make it look good and eye pleasing (I don't like fences) and how to plant the trees and bushes, because so far they where all mixed in random order, but going a bit more PRO I think it would be a lot better to group them. Ahhh.....

    So my orchard will be 50x50 meters, of 150cm sheep mesh, I want each post to last a lifetime ( haha :) ), so each of it will have it's own foundation, a bit more work, but I have the post ready from some firewood, they have not been vacuum impregnated so digging them underground means they will last only 10 years. The most of the fruit trees are already there, but digging them up and replanting will be necesserity. And what to do with the bushes? The way to go is to "roundup" the weeds for a start, then cultivate the land, then "roundup" again and plant. But I want to be nature friendly, so another way to go is to lay some dark sheeting for a year and the weeds rot underneath... Ahh, so many things to think off and i like it :)

    So what's your way to go about orchars and any good media, books, articles?
     
  2. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I'm out weeding the orchard but will post later!

    Over here it is too late to move trees as they are opening leaves. Is it different there?
     
  3. spandit

    spandit Bushcrafter through and through

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    Could you plant living fence posts, like willow or robinia?
     
  4. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Hedges, good hedges :D They'll stop stock, you can proof their bases agin rabbits and if you make them right they'll stop deer too…..besides hedges can be good crops too, from brambles to rosehips :D

    M
     
  5. petrochemicals

    petrochemicals Full Member

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    Get a horse and plough for the weeds if you feel the need to be green, and as for the fruit bushes I think netting is the only thing that works, you could just net them individually.
     
  6. boatman

    boatman Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    One can lay a very thick layer of straw and mulch the weeds away.
     
  7. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Okay, here are my thoughts based on growing a LOT of fruit. We do have problems with rabbits, pigeons and other birds, but not much from deer.

    Trees.

    All trees need to be staked and have tree guards fitted to prevent critters nibbling the bark

    [​IMG]21 Tree Tie by British Red, on Flickr

    In addition cherry trees need netting over when green or birds get them all

    [​IMG]Cherries by British Red, on Flickr

    We do also suffer some wasp damage on apples so wasp traps are important when ripening

    Fruit Bushes / Plants

    We break these into three types

    1) Minimal protection

    This is mainly rhubarb. All we need to do here is wire round early Spring growth if its a good year for rabbits. Once the plants are large, no protection needed

    [​IMG]New Rhubarb Bed by British Red, on Flickr

    Single Harvest.

    This is things like Gooseberry which we tend to pick all in one go. This we just net over after the fruit has set, removing the net happens when we do a big "pick and process" day

    [​IMG]Netted gooseberry bed by British Red, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Gooseberries by British Red, on Flickr

    Soft Fruit

    Soft fruit with a long season needs some thinking about. Strawberries we do with a netted goalpost arrangement. The net needs to be about 15mm - large enough to let pollinators in, small enough to keep birds out

    [​IMG]Strawberry Harvest by British Red, on Flickr

    a whole side of the beds can be opened for weeding or picking

    [​IMG]X - one side opened for planting by British Red, on Flickr

    This works well but isn't tall enough for raspberry canes and currants, so this year we built a fruit cage which is like a building which has mesh walls

    [​IMG]Wood chip in fruit cage by British Red, on Flickr

    We haven't put the mesh on this yet as its too early for fruit.

    I hope this gives some idea what we have done. Deer fencing is a scary thought given you need 200m of it. Over here it needs to be over 2m tall to have any chance against deer. I guess you could always get to like venison :)
     
  8. Dave

    Dave Hill Dweller

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    Thats brilliant Red. Nice one.
     
  9. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    I've planted an orchard in a woodland clearing which definitely has deer that love to nibble apple trees, bramble shoots etc.

    Luckily it had old deer fencing that I intended to remove so I've moved it and the posts. Now I've an area, probably 50m x 50m, fenced. I haven't taken too much care as the fencing only protects a small area so I don't think deer will try and jump it, so far so good.

    I'm not keen on the fence but I do make use of it, growing stuff like hops and brambles over it.

    About the only plant that seems to survive deer attack are black currants. But then these are stripped by birds, foxes etc so are netted when ripening.
     
  10. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Thankyou slowworm for the key piece of information on deer vs black currant bushes. I needed that.

    Page-wire (sheep) fencing seems almost transparent at a distance, I use it for grapevine trellis as house shade in the summer afternoons.
    Is there any legal limit to the height of your proposed fence?

    I have not tried this but I have seen it done: 6' fence on 7'6" posts. Slack so it flutters in the breeze, a single strand of forestry flagging tape from post to post.
    The rancher's wife is convinced that the deer can't estimate the top edge of the fence to jump into her garden. The village deer look into my yard but in 15 yrs, nobody has jumped (easy)
    the 60" stucco-wire mesh fence. I'm sure that my day will come.
     
  11. milius2

    milius2 Maker

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    Lot's of great info here guys to start me off. Thank you Red especially for detailed portrait of your orchard. That's something to aim for for sure. The hegde is a great way to solve this problem, but I do not have the time needed to do it. I plan on planting hegde around all of my "garden property" wich by now extends 5,5 acres and would be more than kilometer around. But this is just on my spare time and if help is present. I need a nursery first to grow all the trees needed. My last years work - 1000 trees looks like one third of a good start job :)

    1,5 meters fence is sufficent for deer around these parts, as it is being used widely in forest industry. One friend has given us 350 meters of it as a wedding gift :D :D I wanted to use it for perimeter fencing, but that would cover only one third of it. Now I think that it would be a great job for missus to decorate the fence with all kind of flowers and bushes from outside And with some custom made gate it wouldn't be so ugly in the end.

    I will not replant the trees this spring. My plan is to build the fence, then try the bush hog for weeding and see how it performs and plan the beds and the garden. Then according to my "plan" I will replant the trees. Now, that I have my tractor and my bushhog I have to plant things in rows and leave enough space to move with the implement, my old system of curves and circles goes to rubbish bin ;)
     
  12. WoodGnome

    WoodGnome Tenderfoot

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    I'm also voting for hedges, nice thorny hedges to keep all critters (and moose) out. Blackthorn, rosehip, blackberry and raspberry will do the job. For the entrance you can dig in a single rose arch with a door and you're all set up.
     
  13. milius2

    milius2 Maker

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    Ok, now that I've maped out the fence, there one more thing to be built first - a root cellar. It is in the way for the fence, therefore should be built first. Expensive maneuvre this is but well worth it. Need to find some materials for that.... :(
     
  14. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Wish I could have a root cellar, brilliant things, sadly its impossible here.
     
  15. milius2

    milius2 Maker

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    Ahhh, i just could not resist to show off!!!!!!!
    That's the latest adition to my homestead and a great helper in my garden!! Was born in 1962 in UNITED KINGDOM, powered by well known Perkins 4.203 Diesel motor and named after... well I don't know that... Massey Ferguson 65 model!!!! :) :) :)


    IMG_8488.jpg

    IMG_8492.jpg

    Why I'm so exited? because I was in my garage for two winters and took me, my dad and my grandfather and my friend and my uncle about 3 months all together to restore it to what is now a shiny tractor and what once was a metal scrap. I was amazed on the quality of the parts made back then, because although very poor on the outside the gears and the transmision was like just out of the factory and with plentiful of spare parts in Uk I got it up and running for a fraction of a modern tractor price. But it was some job!!!
     
  16. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Beautiful my neighbour runs an MF35 and a Fordson Major. Great machines. Now you need all the attachments! Which do you have so far?
     
  17. Macaroon

    Macaroon A bemused & bewildered

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    Great tractors, these; you've done it well :)
     
  18. milius2

    milius2 Maker

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    My first attachment was a bush hog. Because I started off in an abandoned alotment that my father gave me as a present. 1,5ha present heh? :D So it is being used to cut and mulch the weeds. I want a rotovator to help me work the land for growing stuff. But that's a bit expensive. I've also bought a frontloader shovel and will be attaching it to the back to be used for moving earth and fixing roads. I have about 800 meters of road to be fixed from time to time. There is all kind of used implements around my uncles and grandpas garages so when some job comes up I'll be repairing and using theirs.

    Cheers mate, it's very pleasing when I finaly have it the way I wanted.
     
  19. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Sounds great. I would keep your eye out for:

    Forklift tines, so handy for moving bricks and timber round your place
    A PTO post rammer, it will speed your fencing up
    A two time plough, you will want this for breaking compacted land before rotovating

    Atb

    Hugh
     

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