Planting Day!


Planting weekend started with a shipment of trees from Stark Bros nursery. A nicely packed box contained bare root apple, cherry, peach, almond, and raspberries ready to plant. The instructions say to soak the trees in a bucket for 4-6 hours prior to planting so I set them out and began digging holes.

I learned a couple of things as part of the hole digging process. First, thank god I have a backhoe to dig holes! Second, the soil under my garden is pretty poor its a good thing I bought so much compost. Last, the water table is not that far down. The roots of the trees with a bit of growth can easily get to a source of underground water. At the same time the soil is well-drained so the roots wont be sitting in water….reminds me of a self watering container used in container gardening.


Since none of the soil was very good I made the executive decision to dig really big holes and use the soil I brought in for planting. This may not be optimal as the roots will need to get used to the native topsoil at some point. I think it’s better than trying to grow them in soil that barely supports weeds. I used about a half yard of soil per hole which should be enough to get the tree established.


I didn’t want the deer coming in and munching on the delicate branches of my new trees. So I started work on the top part of my fencing. My fencing system is made using steel (green) posts that are 8ft and 5ft tall driven in every 10ft. The soil is rocky so some of them went in a bit crooked. A small trench was dug around the perimeter so the bottom of the fence can be folded into an “L” and buried.  This will keep small animals like rabbits from digging under it.  I found 36″ tall chicken wire on sale at tractor supply so I went with it.


Even Ajax is capable of hopping a 3ft tall fence a deer wouldn’t think twice, so I needed to add additional height. I do this by stringing wires at regular intervals up the posts. A spool of 350ft only costs $9. It’s a very inexpensive way to make an 8ft tall fence. In the pics you see the tensioning devices I use to make the wire tight. They only cost $3 each and do a really nice job. In the future I may need to add an electrified wire to the fence to keep the coons from stealing my corn. The same wire can be used along with some cheap plastic insulators.  I will be attaching some white cloth streamers to give the deer a visual clue that there is a fence.


I fashioned a couple of simple gates from 2×2 pressure treated wood with chicken wire attached.  The rough edges of the chicken wire are covered with a piece of 2×2 that I ripped in half lengthwise.  At this point the gates are pretty crooked but I will adjust the posts they are attached to and get them straightened out.  Also need to install a latching mechanism…something more high tech than string from a hay bale.


Wrap Up

Planted so far: apples, peaches, cherries, almonds, asparagus, raspberries, grapes, strawberries, snap peas, bush peas, cherry tomatoes, early tomatoes, peppers, radishes, onions, fingerling potatoes.

Still left to plant: cucumbers, sunflowers, more tomatoes, pumpkins

Lots of cleanup work to do and also need to get a system set up for watering the plants….probably a sprinkler. I don’t have electricity or gravity working for me. I do have lots of water close by so I’ll figure something out.

Garden progress

The garden is progressing nicely.  I was able to get an area 33x25ft cleaned up enough so that it is ready to plant.

This area was full of small trees and bushes which made preparation pretty tough.  In addition to having a ton of roots and sod to shake out and remove I had tons of rocks.  I would make a pass with the tiller and then follow it up with a 5 gallon bucket which would be full of rocks.  My tiller does a path 10 inches wide.  Thats about 40-50 buckets of rocks removed by hand!  Sadly there are more rocks in there.

With the beds de-rocked I added a generous layer of compost and tilled out some paths.  My tiller naturally pushes the dirt to each side so I could string a line and follow it with the tiller.  A flat bottomed shovel is used to scoop out anything left behind.

Strawberry Hill

There is an old telephone pole left behind with a mound of sand holding it up.  I took all the hay from my silt barriers and covered the mound with rotted hay.  This weekend I put a good layer of compost over the hay.  I will plant my strawberry plants on this mound and probably some grape vines that will use the fence as a trellis.

Whats left?

I have some asparagus and potato sitting in a box that need to be planted.  I need a permanent bed for the asparagus that is out of the way so I began preparing that with the tractor.  My potatoes will use some towers made from composite decking I have in my scrap pile (blog post to come).

This week I expect Stark Bros to ship out 10 fruit trees (apple, peach, cherry).  Next weekend will be tree planting!