The Story Of Our Orchards

| 1/15/2014 4:32:00 PM

Mary Conley

Dear readers, I have decided to stray from telling our farm story in chronological order, and instead, tell the story from beginning until now of different subjects. I’m excited to start off with our fruit trees as they were the first thing we planted. If you are thinking about starting an orchard, or if those dwarf fruit trees in the nursery catalogs have been calling to you, you might be interested in what we've experienced.

It was early spring in 2010 when 21 bare root trees arrived at our city home in two skinny boxes about 8 by 12 inches and 4 feet high. Surely some were missing, but no, they actually all fit in there. We were glad that Stark Brother’s Nursery had pruned them for us, because we would never have done it so severely. A few were just sticks, and the rest had only a few branches about 4 inches long. We wondered how long it would take sticks to produce fruit.

We had planned on a long weekend at the farm to dig the holes, plant, and finish the fencing. Todd was going to help us, but it would still be a tight squeeze to get it all done, and then it happened. Larry fizzled out on us by having an emergency appendectomy the night before we left. Of course, he insisted on going with us when he was released the next morning. That sounds like Larry doesn’t it? He could have stayed home, watched movies and been taken care of by Perry, but no, he had to go along. Then the doctor didn’t help my argument. He said Larry could go and do anything he wanted as long as he didn’t hurt. I thought, “That doctor doesn’t know Larry!” Also, Perry’s instructions were still ringing in my head: “Mom, you know Dad! Don’t let him work!” As it turned out, on the trip out to the farm, Larry was suddenly in pain and asking for more medication. It finally dawned on me, “Duh, of course he was going to hurt!"

Each hole was started by the post hole digger that came with our newly acquired tractor. Then Larry and I were amazed watching Todd finish digging the 21 holes by hand, plus accumulating all the supplies to amend our soil with better dirt from another area, peat moss and compost. He followed the old timer's adage that says you need a $10 hole for a $5 tree, and dug the holes 2 feet deep and 30 inches wide. I helped him plant the trees, and finish the fourth side of the fence for all three beds.

Quote: “I feel so useless.” Larry

First orchard