In yesterday’s post, I brought you up to speed on the transformation project and what we’ve accomplished to date; of course in a very condensed and expedited fashion, sparing you the agony of ALL the details.
In my list of completed garden tasks, I mentioned our fruit trees. Currently, we are in the midst of summer maintenance, but I’d like to step back to the beginning in order to give you a complete picture of our process.
First, some photos…
This is a recent photo of our orchard in the backyard. Sorry about the hose. I’ll have to do better next time to give you a better “visual”.
Again with the hose! This is our front yard orchard. Money’s really tight so our drip system will have to wait. My husband did come up with a temporary solution. So more to come.
Bit-O-Trivia: How many trees make up an orchard?
I did a quick search on the internet for the answer. You know, sometimes you just get a bunch of made-up nonsense, so I went to a trusted source…
By Merriam-Webster dictionary’s (on-line) definition: 1. a planting of fruit trees, nut trees, or sugar maples; also: the trees of such a planting
Since we have more than one fruit tree planted, 16 young fruit trees in total (actually, its 15 – one tree needs to be replaced, I’ll tell you about this in a later post). Bottom-line: we have an orchard!
Okay, now we can move on to my planning process:
- Created a folder on my computer to store and organize my garden planning information.
- Next, I needed to ask myself a few important questions… What do I want to grow and why? What are my resources?
I knew I wanted a veggie and fruit garden, but of what? It took me all of 2 seconds to blurt out… leafy veggies, legumes, melons, grapes, beans, sunflowers – well, you get the picture.
Another important question… How large do I want my garden to be and do I have the time and resources to give my garden the care and attention it needs?
It was helpful at this point to grab a piece of paper and start jotting down my thoughts and ideas. For me, this process included a few quick sketches to plot out possible areas of the yard I could use.
With a brief discussion, my husband and I were in TOTAL agreement about having a veggie and fruit garden and space for our Border Collie to play and train. The last requirement would limit the area I could use for the garden, but I’m very resourceful and a great problem-solver. I’m also very blessed to have a husband who’s beyond willing to roll up his sleeves and “get-er done”. He rarely shies away from words like… “large scale”, “lots of hard work”, “long hours”, “can you move it to the left, again”, “can you go to the craft store with me” – now I’m pushin’ it. Anyhow, our garden’s success depends on his help. Bottom-line.
Why do you want a fruit and veggie garden? I knew the answer to why would ultimately become my goal. Jotting down this goal and reviewing it from time to time would help me to remain focused on my vision for my garden. So I put my goal, along with some other decisions into a single statement.
My Garden Statement: I want to grow a large assortment of fruits, veggies and flowers because I love to grow things, it will enable us to become self-sufficient, eat healthier and create a ton of artistic inspiration to paint and draw.
(For those of you into mission statements, I know I’m supposed to be more specific about things like “large”, “assortment”, and “ton”, but I’ve been in the corporate world for over 30 years and, well… been there done that!)
- Educated myself
In order to move forward in my planning process, I needed to know what specific types of fruit trees I would plant, their mature size, spacing between trees, etc.
I searched the web and found lots of great info… for California, Washington, Arizona, and other states. I’ve been gardening long enough to know the importance of planting and growing trees, flowers, shrubs, etc. that will do well in our climate. Arizona is close with some differences.
I turned my search to local resources and found some folks who were successful at growing a handful of fruit trees. It was at this point that I found a very important resource through the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, a Horticulturalist Specialist and Professor at the UNCE Orchard (a local test facility for fruit trees and veggies).
He connected my husband and I with an organic gardening group in town and provided us with a list of tested/recommended fruit trees for our area. Shortly after this important connection, he conducted a seminar for the organic gardening group. The topic… “Grow Your Own Fruit Tree! Meet the Expert”. We were elated! The information contained within the list and provided at the seminar was priceless. The organic gardening group was also accepting fruit tree orders for Dave Wilson Nursery in California. A very well-respected nursery and highly recommended by the UNCE Orchard. The opportunity was too good to pass up.
About the orchard and their evaluations
Fruit Tree Evaluation and Recommendations List
The UNCE Orchard is located 100 yards east of the intersection of North Decatur and Horse Drive in North Las Vegas.
Well, it’s been a long day, so I’m signing off for now. Be sure to check out Part II of Planning the Orchard.