As you all know by now, my favourite type of gardening is maintenance free gardening.
This means as little weeding as possible, and as many ‘long lasting’ investments as I can find.
This weeks (ok more like fortnight!) project was clearing out the side of my greenhouse, and i had found the perfect thing to put there. An ‘orchard’.
We eat so much fruit, especially in the autumn, and it is one of the things I spend the most money on. So when I saw some fruit trees on sale, I had to grab them.
Looking back, i see now why they were so cheap. You are supposed to plant trees between November and February when they are dormant. You are NOT supposed to plant trees in the height of summer like I did. I really hope they live…
So this is the area i wanted to put them. Its a little raised bed area around the back of my greenhouse. This does mean that it gets pretty hot, but it also gets a lovely breeze blown through from the school field next door, so fingers crossed.
Messy right? Well underneath those nettles is a shin height brick wall running right around to the front of that greenhouse.
So I began the long arduous job of clearing all of those nettles and brambles. You see those whiteish flowers right in the middle of the back? That’s rhubarb! Now I’m not a fan of shop bought rhubarb, but I’ll give home grown a go. I dug it up, keeping as much of it together as I could and hoped it would survive when I decided where to put it.
(Spolier alert – It did. And it spread. And now it is everywhere.)
It took me a fortnight of evening digging after work, but I finally managed to get the area clear. Just on a side note, if you get stung by nettles enough times, it doesn’t hurt any more. It just tingles. Not recommended, but I would love to know why this is!
If you have noticed the sudden appearance of the pallets, they were a ‘present’ from work which will eventually become fencing. I currently have nowhere to put them so there they sit.
Finally I was ready for planting, just in time for my cheap trees to arrive. Also managed to pick up some super cheap strawberry plants while I was at it so they will go around the base of my trees this year and get moved next year to where I want them. When i have decided where i want them that is.
I began digging my holes, and i sprinkled a little of the same fungi i used on my tomatoes around the base of the hole to try and encourage the roots. I also drove a stake in for the larger trees at this stage, but ran out so fingers crossed the others live! Plonked the trees in, and covered the holes back over with soil. Firmed this in gently, but I didnt ‘stamp’ them in for fear of breaking what little roots these trees had. I then made my little moat around the root area and gave them a right good soaking when the sun went down.
I have always been told not to water when the sun is high as it can cause burns and shock to your plants. I don’t know how true this is, but it makes me feel like i know what I’m doing so I’ve stuck with that rule.
Next in went the strawberries. While I was doing all of this, Mr AcrossTheLane arrived and scared the life out of me lurking around the greenhouse. Turns out he did shout me several times, but I’m deaf when I’m in my own world. He bought some gorgeous homegrown strawbs with him, some huge! He had a glut and I had a rumbly tummy so it all worked out well. They were very tasty, but it did bring home just how late I was having to plant everything.
If I were a clever woman I would have probably done all of the clearing and long jobs this year and not planted anything at all. But I have always been impatient. Oh well, hindsight and all that!
My biggest recommendation though?
I am now writing this is April 2018, having only just discovered the joys of WordPress.
My trees seem to have survived and have little buds on, and my strawberry plants got moved to the greenhouse for storage over winter while I reorganised their home.
I have now covered my trees bed in weedguard to try and kill off the last of the Rhubarb (not working by the way!) and have covered it in chippings.
Look how beautiful it is! Unfortunately they do keep getting attacked by the windows falling out of my greenhouse, but that is a project for another day.
Low maintenance, and beautiful. I cant wait to site there with a brew under the leaves when they get a bit bigger. And when i have moved those pesky pallets…