Orchard trees were ordered (53 fruit trees) from Van Well Nursery on 3/22/2010. When they arrived in May we potted them up into 10 gallon pots and overwintered them in the berry patch until we could get the orchard area graded, fenced, holes dug and trees planted.
Van Well Nursery is located in East Wenatchee, WA. They are really nice, helpful and they even telephoned us the next year to see if all the trees were doing well. All were alive and well when they phoned. They would have replaced any lost trees! We had two fatalities (apricots) that I didn’t list below. Those two trees were planted in the chicken pen along with the plum trees and the chickens clawed around the roots so much that the roots dried and the trees were killed before we discovered the problem. We were very bummed out about that. Lesson learned and problem solved! We have since installed mesh fencing material laid flat on the ground around each fruit tree trunk in the chicken pen.
We planted apricots and plums in the chicken pen because we figured the chickens wouldn’t eat the pits and the trees would be protected from the deer there. We were thinking that if we had planted any cherry or apple trees in that area the chickens would be eating the fallen fruits and may become poisoned by the cyanide in the pits and seeds of those particular fruits. This way, as fruit falls to the ground it will feed the chickens and cut down on their feed bill a bit. Planting the apricot trees in the chicken pen keeps them as far away from the almonds as possible because they say apricots will be bitter if cross-pollination with almonds occurs.
We harvested about 40 pounds of fruit from the various orchard trees in 2011. All the trees are now planted so we’ll just keep them pruned, thinned, watered and mulched and see how it goes the next few years. We hope to add a drip system in the orchard in 2012 but have build round raised beds around each tree as you can see in the photos. Here we’ve planted nitrogen fixers and flowers that will attract beneficial insects.
We purposefully are not offering very many Farm Memberships in 2012 so there will be some fruit this first year for everyone. Hope that turns out as we have planned.
We’ll be planting the nut orchard in 2012 but of course that will take several years before we’ll see any fruit/nuts come from that project. You have to start sometime though! We planted 4 almond trees last year in Zone 1 (our backyard.)
Our Orchard at Elk Meadow Farm & Nursery
Black Gold 1
Pollination Crab Manchurian 1
Pollination Crab Snowdrift 2
Red Gravenstein 2
Red Jonaprince 2
Mutsu (Crispin) 2
Banning Fugi 1
Granny Smith 1
Arkansas Black 3
Columbia Red Anjou 1
Santa Rosa 1
Helpful Links and References for your Orchard:
- Van Well Nursery (Their Catalog is awesome by the way): http://www.vanwell.net