Last week, we added the next big thing to the farm. We ordered fruit trees to begin our little orchard – 4 apples, 2 peaches, and a cherry tree, all dwarfs. These are from a local orchard, as we are lucky enough to live in the midst of the Michigan fruit belt. They were “bare root” seedlings, so no pots to lug home, and they just nestled into the soil in our designated orchard row. Now their only job is to make themselves at home.
I carefully read the directions on how to prune them on their first day. It was painful to chop off so much, but they insisted the trees would do better if they were topped off at 36 inches and all branches cut to half their length. Ouch. My husband feared that I’d murdered them.
However, a week later, little leaf buds are popping out and I think everything is going to be alright. I am being diligent about giving them lots of water, and we made little dams around the base to hold in a gallon or so at a time until it seeps down to the roots. Those darn chickens get really excited about fresh mud and come running behind me to peck and scratch and look for worms. Each time I go to water again, the dams have been broken down and scattered.
It will be four or five years before we will actually see fruit off these trees, but I am pleased to have taken the first step to adding this new component to Bluestem Pond Farm.