Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Parent's Orchard, Spring 2012

As promised, here is an update on my parent's fruit orchard, which we have offered to look after. My mum and dad are finding looking after these an extra burden, but we think this might be a good thing for us to do for several reasons. Besides these citrus trees, there is also a mulberry tree, two mango trees, a lychee bush, a chocolate pudding and a peach-cot.
we started work on these four citrus trees, one lemon, one lime, one mandarin and a lemonade tree
This is the second time we've worked in the orchard, if that is a word you can use to describe these dozen or so scrawny trees that resemble saplings more than the 10 year old trees that they are. Last month I didn't get any photos, but we simply pruned off some bulbous growths on the citrus trees, known as gall wasp. A large amount of growth was removed from the lemon tree unfortunately loosing a lot of flowers. It will take longer for the bug to kill the tree, but its best to remove as much of it as soon as you can.
a promise of things to come, one fine lemon specimen
For this second visit, we concentrated our efforts on a lemon tree which has proven its ability to produce fruit. There was one brightly skinned, fully formed lemon on the tree as testament that our efforts should not end up entirely fruitless. We started by clearing the weeds underneath the tree in a circle from the trunk, that was wider than the tree branches. We used a rake and shovel to remove as much as we could.
the old wooden stairs leading to the fruit orchard
That didn't take too long, especially after wetting the weeds with a hose, so we did a few more citrus trees, a lemonade tree which also had two fruit on it, then a mandarin tree, and one more citrus tree that we think is a lime. Later I went back and did the other lemon tree. I then sprinkled two handfuls of citrus tree fertiliser around the outer circle of each of these five citrus trees. You shouldn't put the fertliser too close to the trunk.
view of the orchard from the top of the stairs
Finally, I spread some sugar cane mulch around each of the five trees on top of the circle we have cleared. I pushed the mulch away from each trunk. We had planned to use a mulching machine to make our own mulch from green and brown leaf matter from elsewhere in the garden, but the old machine wouldn't start despite my father's best efforts. We also had planned to use some old chicken manure as fertiliser, but my mum bought a bag of citrus food to use instead.

I wonder what this adventure will bring, we hope to learn how to look after fruit trees. One day we might have fruit trees of our own, hopefully we will have room for a couple of dwarf varieties, because unfortunately the properties we are considering are around 600m or less! We've promised my parents to return in about a month, and we'll check up on the fruit trees then.

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