Thursday, 15 August 2013

Planting for future... fruit, fodder and more

We decided that our paddocks, not only required a little TLC in terms of pest management- we sprayed the paddock and treated for weeds a few weeks back. Something we intend to do again toward the end of the dry season- at which time we will also slash the paddock, to encourage new and healthy growth.

But the livestock needs some greater consideration too.  As a healthy paddock produces healthy livestock, so we are considering inter cropping for our animals. But there are other benefits to consider from integrating chosen plants; such as some more natural screening and shelter. So we will be investigating and investing in some seeds to sow as we approach wet season. But for something we can do more immediately we have decided to plant some fruit trees. Not only will they grow to provide shade and wind breaks, but also fruit for us and pig fodder (from fallen produce).

We would love to be able to establish an ‘orchard’ area to run our pigs; but this would be a long term aim, as we need to allow the trees to establish. But ideally we would prefer to feed them on grazing and our own produce, than pellets and kitchen scraps. Not that they do too badly out of it!

I t would also be great to be able to offer our cows an alternative shelter. Other than the shed we are working on constructing.  Til now our cows have sheltered with the rest of the ‘community herd’ in our neighbours cattle shed. However the shed has been taken down and the rest of the herd dispersed. So as our cattle will now remain in our paddock, we need to provide something. Though at the moment, as we are in dry season, we should have a little time on our side.

Cumquat tree1
Ideally we want to construct when it’s dry, as it make life easier for us. And the sooner we can migrate our poddies to the paddock the better.

Cumquat tree2
So as the ‘to-do list’ grows I began tackling the jobs I can. So as I got carried away the other week when ‘pricing’ some fruit trees. This weekend I began planting, whilst the boys were preoccupied with the coldroom.  Whilst I still need to pick up a few more star pickets to plant the Mango trees out in the paddock- as for now they are going to need protecting from Betty (our remaining cow). I began to remove a few non-productive and not so healthy trees from our house garden- this area, fed from the grey water off the bio tank has a few dwarf trees, as they are close to the house.  So following a little patch repair (yes I hit the irrigation!). I replaced them with a few cumquats. And filled the whole where I had once planted a Brazilian Cherry seedling (that didn’t survive the dog chewing!) with a yearling- to match the other one, that did take-off .
For those who have followed us in the ast, you may remember that last year I bought and planted a few seedlings... so were successful, others not so much. So this time we've plummed for larger, more established trees to begin with- not only will it give us the jump start in size, but hopefully they will be a little more successful in the ground!

Along the fence I planted a line of Finger Limes. Hopefully creating a ‘hedge effect’, providing a wind break for the animals and my adjacent veg gardens, as well as feeding and screening the pigs, and providing some privacy for our back garden from the road. These are apparently native to Australia, and are a large shrub/small tree, with spiney foliage and fruit that is increasingly sought after.

In addition to these I filled a few gaps along the fence line. Planting a couple of carb trees and a second mulberry tree in the front yard to mirror the one at the other end.

So hopefully in years these will continue to develop… trees are more a long term plan, so the earlier they are in, the better.

What fruit trees do you grow (if any) and why? And what do you do with the produce?



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