Last year, in the early months of 2017, we had a dream to plant an orchard. Our family spent hours putting in fencing, digging holes, and planting trees. On May 30th, I watched a video on YouTube with Stefan Sobkowiak, where he walked the viewers through his permaculture orchard. Right then I decided to plant a permaculture orchard.
Unfortunately for us our soil is mostly clay with some sand. To create what I now dreamed of I would have to divide my project into multie stages of soil preparation and planting.
The first stage was the fencing. I wanted to make sure what I planted would be safe. Not only do we live on open range, but we own goats. With our circumstances we fence in our animals, we fence out the cows and then we fence in our plants.
Although that may be excessive for some gardens, I don’t want to put years of money and love into my gardens to find a rogue cow or goat in the garden and my plants and trees severely damaged.
STAGE 2- Trees
In stage 2 I mapped out my orchard for trees and planted them. There were some changes in this stage as it progressed and I realized I needed nitrogen fixing trees in our permaculture orchard. Additionally I still have 1 to 3 more trees to plant, but we are mostly done with stage 2.
STAGE 3- Trenching
In this stage we dug trenches between the trees and filled the trenches with composting material.
Later shrubs and other edible perennials will be planted into the composted soil in the trenches between the trees.
This stage consisted of prepping the hard clay soil between the rows of trees for grass.
The grass is ground cover between the rows. I could choose different ground cover. I chose grass because I love grass.
To prep the clay soil for grass we are tilling in wood and leaf mulch. This should give us a good foundation to work with.
This is the only tilling that will ever take place in this garden.
We are currently still in stage 4.
Stages 5 and 6 are planting grass and perennial plants. Stage 7 is to add a watering system.
Plants for the orchard:
- Fruit Trees
- Nitrogen Fixing Trees
- Perennial Bushes
- Perennial plants
- Plants that attract pollinators
Some plants that are in or will be planted into our orchard are listed below.
Daylilies, garlic chives, rhubarb, asparagus, gooseberry, currants, Saskatoon, catmint, and bluebeard.