Planting Fruit Trees
It’s week nine of the Backyard Revolution and already Costa’s vision for a sustainable backyard is starting to reap rewards. The vegie beds are providing food for the family table, the water tanks are full after a recent storm and the newly arrived chickens have produced their first eggs.
The next step in Costa’s plan is to prepare the ground and plant the fruit forest. The fruit forest is being planted in the chicken run. This means the chickens will keep pests at bay and fertilise the trees at the same time.
Costa has selected fruit trees including apples, plums, nectarines, cherries and a passionfruit vine. For the Tembeleski family it will be like having a fruit market in the backyard.
The most important part about planting is to prepare the ground correctly, with the right soil and then plant the tree at the correct level.
First step, as with any planting, is to get the soil right. And Costa starts by breaking up the top layer, with a mattock.
Then he adds a premium garden soil mix to help break up the particles. That together with manure and mushroom compost will help add organic content and retain moisture. It will also help activate micro organisms and bring worms.
For tight spaces and small gardens, Costa suggests triple grafted varieties of apples. The one he selected has three varieties: Granny Smith, Jonathan and Golden Delicious on the same tree.
These apples are self-pollinating, which means they can produce fruit without another pollinator plant. Some fruit varieties, plums for example need another compatible plant of growing near it to bear fruit.
Another favourite in the fruit forest is a Wickson plum. Costa selected it because it’s a companion for the prune and both trees should help cross-pollinate each other.
Once the trees are planted, it's best to mulch with a layer of wet newspaper to keep weeds down, retain moisture and the worms love it. Then add a layer of lucerne mulch - you could also use sugar cane, tea tree or leaf mulch - which will break down and feed the worms and as an added bonus the chooks will enjoy feeding on the flower heads and seeds.
When the lucerne breaks down, it will create a rich organic layer on the soil surface.
Check at your local nursery for fruit trees that will grow in your area.
Costa purchased fruit trees for the Tembeleski’s from:
Sydney’s Plant Market
184 Annangrove Rd
Annangrove NSW 2156
Ph: 02 9679 2606