Monday, June 9, 2008

Dig up the front lawn!

Another step towards greater (self-)sustainability: I have added more fruit trees to our garden. This time I dug up the front "lawn" (if you can call it that after countless years of drought - maybe I should call it the balding front weed patch instead?) to plant pears, plums, apricots and a cherry tree. (I had placed the chairs on the lawn to get an idea of where I would plant the trees)

These are all standard sized trees and will eventually reach approximately four meters in height and diameter. This should give us some nice shady spots in summer!

The week before I had already added some miniature apple and pear trees (they grow "only" up to three meters) to our existing small "orchard" which is rapidly running out of space. I am planning to espalier the apples and have set up posts and wires to train the trees onto those.

Unfortunately, I also have a few trees in the orchard area that may not be fruit trees - no idea whether the previous owner had planted them and they got broken off and have only now come back (in which case they might just be root stock and no good), or whether they put themselves there (they are rather small so it is possible that they are either woody weeds of some kind or "self seeded" fruit trees). If they turn out to be weeds, they can be harvested for their wood, so nothing is lost.

Following Jackie French's advice, I am also trying to grow more trees from seed. So far I have managed to grow several peach trees (luckily we love peaches...) and some plums. I am just wondering whether the plums will bear fruit as I have no idea what they are and therefore don't know whether I have the right pollinator.

Since my earlier tree planting efforts I have learnt a few things. Some of the most important lessons learnt are:

- You need to dig a hole of at least about 1 meter in diameter to plant the tree. Keep the area around the tree free of grass.

- Fruit trees need some watering in winter (even when they are deciduous) and regular water in summer, at least until they are well established. I now plant all my trees with a plastic water bottle stuck upside down (bottom cut off and without lid) next to the tree, so that I can water deeper down and minimise run-off.)

- Get onto cherry and pear slugs quickly, they can and will kill your tree (I lost several trees due to these slimy black little critters).

- A good mulch is vital. Mulch regularly but not too close to the stem to prevent rot.


  1. Thanks for looking at the port Sudan pics:)
    I post alot of pics.

    It's nice to read a blog not about war and politics once in a while:)

  2. G'day again!

    I have been totally absorbed in this lately, a belated, but wonderful discovery of great Australian appropriate architecture:

    Glenn Murcutt

    (thought you might be interested....


    this guy is my hero..

    Peter Andrews:


    He is incredible, and I just found a very interesting and educational forum of related to his discoveries and work.

    Can you imagine the Australian landscape with Peter's findings just blows my mind, and I think partly because it's so simple, it's working with the land, utilising what it can do naturally.

    And it's just so damn exciting.


    Thought you might be interested if not already familiar with ..

  3. Thanks kizzie and Sienna.

    I have had a look at the Peter Andrews website - he really has some inspiring ideas. In fact, about a year ago or so I visited a farm nearby where they practice NSF, and I have been interested in the ideas ever since. At the time, YouTube also had the Australian Story program on Peter Andrews available, however, that has since been replaced by a serious of interviews with Peter on his farm.