Tag Archives: projects

Growing The Orchard

One of the first thoughts we had about our property was, “this place needs more fruit trees”. We have a small orchard that we have certainly made use of, but this year we are finally making an effort to put resources into adding new trees and grafting onto the trees we already have. Apples, pears, wild cherries, and plums are the basics we have been working with up until now. This past week, we began increasing the variety of those fruits, as well as adding in citrus and figs.

Let the grafting bring! Here is a photo of one of our established apple trees (originally some sort of yellow delicious) that has  just been dramatically altered through some serious (much needed) pruning and the addition of roughly one dozen grafts for new apple varieties. Many thanks to Thaddeus, who had made this his project!

A gopher. A gopher…ate the roots of two of our fig trees! The anger and disappointment of it all. Sigh. But, we rallied. We made cuttings from the eaten trees and have set them in dirt to re-root. And, impatient, we bought an older tree at a local nursery to replace the 4 year old tree the gopher destroyed.  This is our new fig tree, planted back into the hill where the previous one sat, but this time equipped with a loose, chicken-wire, root protecting cage.  Round two begins.

Never ones to deny the kid his love of shoveling, we had Archimedes out helping us plant five new trees in the orchard. It was raining and the ground was so wet, but we got it done: a peach, a cherry, two persimmons, and two ume (Japanese flowering plum, the unripened fruit is used to make pickles).

Now the orchard is starting to take on more of the shape we have been wanting. This is a very exciting project for us!


Here in the northern part of the northern hemisphere, a garden without a greenhouse has limited function.  According to our gardening neighbor, the last frost date here on the hill is May 15th, which means there are a LOT of things we can’t start by direct-seed until mid-May (and who can forget the horrible June hail storm that demolished our garden back in 2013)

Our first spring on the farm, we attempted starting seeds in the house, but the location of the windows and the angle of the house really do not work in concert with one another (this is what comes of putting a pre-built house down at the only angle with enough flat land to support it), and the effort was a fail.  Since then we’ve been resigned to direct seeding quite late, or, just purchasing starts.

Thaddeus obtained glass windows to re-purpose several years ago, but distractions, travel, and other priorities have kept them from turning into a greenhouse long enough for us to realize that planning the greenhouse before the actual Future House really wouldn’t be a good idea anyway, since we don’t know yet exactly what Future House will look like, and whether we’ll be wanting to make significant earth modifications to that area during construction.

And then, this past fall, Megan’s stepfather Rich handed down to us his old tent structure, which he previously had used to tent a boat while working on it.  Thaddeus saw the opportunity to put up a quick temporary greenhouse using the tent frame poles and some greenhouse sheeting.  A little elbow grease with the tractor to flatten a spot, a trip to the supply store for the plastic and .. voila!  We have a greenhouse!

The greenhouse is between the road and the house, a good reason to wait to design it until we can make sure it doesn’t look horribly out of place as the first thing you see when you turn in the driveway!

The completion of the greenhouse brought home one of the truisms of farm To Do lists, which is:  for every crossed-off item there are at least two more new tasks to be done.  The greenhouse exists, but now we need (1) tables to support the seeds in order to (2) actually start some seeds, and I’d love to add (3) some new earth pots to hold peppers.. wish us luck!