Monday, February 21, 2011

A Little Patch of Orchard

Our orchard is not huge, and it is not an ancient one with gnarled branches and heavily laden with fruit. It is still young and still evolving every year with a couple of new additions. Most of those come from the Woodbridge Fruit Tree Nursery in Woodbridge, Tasmania, but occasionally there is a locally sourced addition. Our little hardware store was the scene of perhaps my most surprising purchase, a lovely potted Orange Cox Pippin apple for all of $12.95. Bargain.

There are many apple trees of various species, mostly heirloom varieties, but a couple of commercial favourites have snuck in. There is also a very young quince tree who tries her heart out every year to produce fruit. This year it looks like at least seven, which will be harvested to make quince brandy.

Our apricot season is over. It all happened in the blink of an eye. One day fruit, the next windfall and your pigs are pigging out on sweet, sweet fruit. We did not even get enough to jam up...and I love apricot jam!!! The peach has been a non-performer. We need to plant another couple to encourage it along for next year. The pears are STILL getting their act together, and lets not mention the nectarines. We are still waiting for the Greengage plums and our cherries were exquisite this year, and we are waiting with anticipation for next.

...and that is the part that we love. Simply watching our fruit trees fruit, then ripen and then drooling with the anticipation of harvesting the bounty. Even the horses get in on the act. They get the occasional apple that has been birded or dogged, as our boxers dogs periodically pull apples off of the lower branches. We need bird netting AND dog netting!

Also planted in the orchard are fejoias, blueberries, comfrey, gooseberries, pumpkins for the pigs, zucchini and cucumber for the chickens. We also have a variety of tomatoes planted for the chickens interspersed throughout the fruit trees. Next on the planting agenda is some lavenders and daisies to encourage the bees for the next flowering/fruiting season.


  1. Gosh - I think you have a great variety. It is great to see it all evolve isn't it - and it sounds like you will be reaping the benefits in a very short time. Don't worry about your apricot jam this year - there's always next season.

    We tried a few of the tropical pears and apples, but it just was a waste of money. We've now learnt it's best to stick with local varieties. Now citrus - that's another story!

  2. Quince brandy..Yummm. I like the look of your orchard, it looks like it's growing very well, I'm sure your trees will be laden with fruit in no time. I'd love to have a blackberry patch like you too....looks like no-one can resist them. The anticipation is sometimes the best part about planting, We have just started here (preparing the soil that is) our 'investment for the future' We are putting in a mixture of citrus and stonefruit, Ohh and a few of those tropicals that duchess declutter just mentioned... if all Grows well then we plant more the next year...

  3. I hear you Wendy about growing what you can for your climate. I would love to grow pineapples and mangoes, but they just wouldn´t survive our frosts here in Central Victoria. So we go with what we can grow. There is less heart ache that way.

    Hi Gooseberry Jam! Welcome to my little patch of green. We have only been at the gardening thing for a couple of years and learning as we go. There has been alot of trial and some accompanying error. Live and learn and nurture along the way.