Saturday, January 5, 2013
Planting an orchard
Today we are planting our orchard on the south side of our property. We have a variety of fruit trees suitable to this climate, and are hoping everything takes off this spring. Whatever does not will be replaced, until we have a full complement of trees in that area. There is something immensely satisfying about beginning to put this land of ours to good use. I was totally intimidated by it when we moved in here this summer. I would go outside and look down at it all, then quickly avert my eyes towards something that seemed more....workable. Like a small bed for my irises, perhaps. But in the last seven months or so, this land and I have gotten acquainted, and it's finally no longer scary to plan out what we want to use it for. I like permanent crops because they require no tillage and few soil amendments, so they allow the majority of our topsoil to remain in place, but of course there are lots of other uses for it as well, since we have almost two acres.
We've pretty much decided that half what we've allotted for growing space will house fruit trees and the other half will house vines and berries (yum!). The rest of the acreage will be split into thirds and we will graze goats, sheep and possibly even beef on it. We'll seed it so we have healthy grasses to crowd out the weeds, and use fencing and rotational grazing to make sure our animals don't overgraze the whole thing, as has happened with so many of our neighbors around here (especially those who keep horses. I've learned nothing is as tough on native grasses as free-grazing equines). And as we're on a hill, we need to stay mindful of erosion and the possibility of mudslides.
It feels so rewarding to finally be putting this land to what I really feel God called us to do with it. We're responsibly stewarding it. As Deuteronomy 8: 7-9 says, "For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of ...vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees and honey."
All those apple pies, peach cobblers, blackberry pies and homemade wine definitely make this a good land, to be sure.