Sunday, 19 August 2007

Spring Bed Preparation

In preparation for Spring planting of Pumpkins I started to clear Beds 7&8 today. The Silverbeet growing on the western edge of this bed was noticeably smaller than the second row.
On digging them up I found out why.
These beds are full of (fruit??) tree roots and rocks.
The fruit trees have been stressed with the dry conditions in the past few years and obviously have sent their roots out to these beds in search of a drink.

With this in mind I dug out holes (as deep as I could!!) one metre apart and have filled these with a bucket of compost. Each of the holes was first filled with rain-water because the ground is so dry. The recent light rain barely soaked into the ground although it was enough to top up the rain-water tanks.

The beds were covered with straw from a broken bale...each pumpkin hole has been marked with a stake so I don't forget where they are under all the mulch.

The condition of the soil in these beds and the fact that anything planted in them in the last few seasons has struggled helped me make a decision.
On the Woodbridge Fruit Trees site (here) there is a section called Spanish Bush for cherry looked interesting. idea

Given that:
  • Cherry trees grow and fruit really well here
  • I have many suckers come up
  • I am able to graft on to these suckers
I thought I'd give some of these style of 'bush' trees a try.
At least I don't have to buy any trees.

The main problem was somewhere to put 4-5 low growing, vigorous trees and also providing them with water.

These two beds together are about 10 metres in length...I had room for 5 trees. I had 4 that had been dug up earlier in Autumn and one more that needed moving.
They were planted in between the pumpkin holes 2 metres apart and labelled with a small stake with a blue lid on so I know where to find them!! I will graft on to these next year when they have an established root system.

I intend to rig up a grey water hose for these trees. The frame for the shadecloth can remain in place and later (in a few years time) will support bird netting to keep the pesky blackbirds off the Cherry Trees/Bushes.


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