17 Jul 2012
This was a heavy gardening weekend. At the 441 Farmer’s Market Saturday morning, after meeting Vanessa from CraftyGemini to buy a bar of solid shampoo, I started chatting with Art Shriver, the mushroom log and fruit tree guy. I noticed that he has several peach trees… sad, ragged-looking FloraKing peach trees… no disease signs or deficiency, just ragged and pot-bound. I asked about buying all three trees and Art gave me a fantastic price if I promised to put them all in the ground over the weekend. I already had one peach tree at home, waiting to be planted. Challenge accepted, and I took home my three new orphans.
I am sad to report that sheet mulching for “weed suppression” has failed, at least in my yard. The Florida betony and nut sedge is coming up all through the sheet mulching. So now we’re trying tilling, pulling out as many weeds and roots as possible, planting trees, then sheet mulching around the trees. I rented a “heavy duty” tiller and picked up 15 50-lb bags of fresh horse manure for the base layer, delivered those home, then borrowed a lawnmower. The weeds had grown almost knee-high while we were in Texas. The rest of Saturday afternoon was mowing, watering, and weeding the roses.
That tiller was huge, heavy, and difficult to use. It took me, my husband, and 3 teenage boys to start it and figure out how get the darn thing to till the soil without either getting bogged down and stalling, or running away. It only got away from us once and chewed up a fence post. I took a turn at trying to figure it out, too. Big mistake. I am so sore today I can barely move. Between the 5 of us we finished the bed for the native butterfly garden and the peach orchard, with plenty of cursing, stalling, water breaks, and more cursing, Sunday afternoon.
I am very thankful that I don’t have much reaction to mosquito bites. By the time I was ready to plant the peach trees it was dusk and the mosquitos were swarming. Finally, they were all planted. My first orchard!
The plan was only for 3 trees, so instead of a triangle I planted a diamond with one corner empty for one more peach tree, which we’ll buy next weekend. Then the next phase of sheet mulching begins!