Okay, I finally got around to uploading some of the chritstmas pic’s in case you were looking for them. Sometimes it seems like getting the pictures off the camera can take forever. Most of the time it’s just due to me not having the camera with me when I’m at the computer! You can see the pictures by clicking here.
After getting the back story on the property we spent some time this weekend walking around the property surveying what’s there and what we think we can do. We walked back to the pond, which is the lowest we’ve seen it since we’ve been here, we went through the pasture and ended up getting quite a bit of manure for the compost bin, and finally we started measuring rows at the front of the property for apple trees.
We’re still going to get chickens and we are still going to start yet another garden (with less types of plants this time), but with our sights set on the future of Payne Country we’re looking to plant a few apple trees. In researching orchards and the like I found that there aren’t any “you pick it” orchards in the area, and with that, there aren’t any real orchards within a few hundred miles of us. I don’t see where we can’t sustain an orchard, so I believe that it’s probably due to farming other crops (hay, alfalfa, and corn). So, with that we’re going to plant some apple trees and see if we can get some producing apples in the next couple of years. We choose apples because they are hearty, fairly easy to take care of, and we like apples. We’ll probably add some other trees as time goes on assuming that we can get these growing well.
It looks like the average apple tree starts producing at around 4 years of age. Most of the trees you buy at lowes, wal-mart, or other supply places are about 1-2 years old, so assuming that some are 2 we could potentially see some yield after two years. Since this is an investment in the future we’re not looking for an immediate return on our investment and understand that we’ll be waiting and caring for the trees without any fruits (pun intended) of our labor being realized for a while.
There are many types of apples, but three basic types of trees. These are dwarf, semi-dwarf, and full size. Dwarf trees take about 12′ of spacing between each tree and yield about 1 bushel minimum per tree. Semi-dwarf trees take about 18′ between trees and yield about 4 bushels minimum per tree. Lastly, full size trees take about 25′ of spacing between trees and have a starting yield of between 6-8 bushels per tree. We had initially decided on dwarf trees due to our perceived ease of maintenance and harvest, but we changed our mind once we saw the yield differences and have decided on semi-dwarf trees for our application. We’ll still be able to maintain them with the same relative ease and harvest won’t be much more difficult. With this decision we can plant somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 trees per row in our pasture area and we have room for plenty of rows. We’re going to start with around 26 trees, the first row will be 9 trees across, the second will be offset and haveÂ 8 trees, and the third will be another 9 trees.
With the tree type picked out we have to make a decision on the apple type. It looks like we can plant multiple types as they will be able to pollinate each other without issue, and self pollination isn’t really an option in the types we want to plant. I think the majoriyt will be “Golden Delicious” but we’ll see when we get closer to planting.
The kids are getting into the spirit too. Sam wants to plant strawberries and Jameson wants to plant a banana tree. Luckily we found one that can be grown indoors because the weather here isn’t really conducive to good production of bananas.
Wish us luck in our new venture. We’re excited.