New Orchard

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by moo2u2, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. moo2u2

    moo2u2 Junior Member

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    Hi. I am just putting in a small (about 1/4 acre) orchard on my farm (www.blackbeautypigs.com.au) and am wondering the best way to prepare it. The soil on most of our farm is black soil but the area for the orchard is on a slight slope between 2 contours and is predominently slightly rocky clay. It is currently cultivated. Should I plant grass seed (what sort) and then plant the trees? It is being fenced with chicken wire and electric top and bottom as I hope to keep my Indian Runner Ducks in there once grass is established and let the sheep in occassionaly. When should I plant the trees. I am near Warwick, Qld so do get good frosts. I was hoping to plant Golden Delicious Apples, Plums, Mullberries, Lime, Lemon and Orange Trees. Could I plant Asparagus in the orchard too? I will set up drip irrigation as I work fulltime and milk cows before and after work! Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
    If I can help you with advice on Poultry (breeding for 20 years), Dairy Cattle or pigs, I will be pleased to help anyone.
    Thank you in advance
     
  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Rather than grass sow a herbal ley suitable for your climate and situation. This will help the trees be healthy via a number of mechanisms (soil health, predator insects, pollinator insects etc). Look at swaling the slope to conserve water, or use mulch basins to plant the trees in. All of these will decrease labour in the medium and long term as well as building health in the orchard.

    Kay Baxter in NZ has a very good book on establishing and maintaining a permaculture orchard in the sub tropics that might be useful where you are.
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Occupation:
    Farm manager/ educator
    Location:
    Hunter Valley New South Wales
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    Welcome to the forum, moo2u2. (looks like a nice little setup you have. I agree with Pepple on keeping the grass out of the orchard and would like to suggest that you think of some suitable herb understory/ ground cover. Some combo of yarrow and clovers or peanuts would perhaps do ok a Warwick.
    Stay in touch and let us know how you are going
    regards Mark
     
  4. moo2u2

    moo2u2 Junior Member

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    Hi. Thank you so much for the information. I will plant a herbal ley, that is an excellent idea. I hope you are having a good summer in Otago. I was born in Blenhiem. Best Regards, Judy
     
  5. UpCycleQueen

    UpCycleQueen Junior Member

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    Wow, I am keenly interested on how you fit everything into your day !! Please tell us a little about your setup? How much land are you on, and how does the layout work? Its exciting to hear about someone who's already established :)
     
  6. moo2u2

    moo2u2 Junior Member

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    Hi
    Fitting everything into the day can be a challenge but I am fairly organised and manage in the following way:

    5am Coffee Time!
    5.30 am Partner gets cows in and starts milking (by machine) - 4 Cows in Summer and 2 only in winter. I prepare breakfast and lunches for work
    6.30 am I go down to the dairy, feed the calves, milk hay and grain. Mix the pig grain with milk and feed pigs. Let sheep out to the paddocks (they are locked up at night). Let chooks and ducks out
    7.00 am Breakfast and packing cars for work
    7.30 am Off to work
    5.30 am Home, we both milk and do the jobs
    7.00 pm Glass of Wine whilst preparing Dinner
    8.00 pm BED

    We have 25 acres of mostly black soil cultivation so days off are tractor work, house work, and farm jobs. I also run a 1200 egg multiplo incubator and hatch out chickens and ducks every week. We buy in our grain by the ton from local farmers and crack it ourselves in a cracker attached to the dairy plant. I rear Dairy Heifers and sell them back to dairy farmers or at dairy sales mostly. I have registered Large Black Pigs and Ayrshire Cows
    My one regret is that I have no time for a vege garden. I need to work out how I can fit this in!!!!!
     
  7. moo2u2

    moo2u2 Junior Member

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    Thanks Mark, I will let you know how I go.
     
  8. ppp

    ppp Junior Member

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    welcome

    you sound like you've got a fantastic setup going! well done.. if only..
    We're recently on 5 acres near brisbane. What sort of chooks do you hatch?
     
  9. moo2u2

    moo2u2 Junior Member

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    Hi
    Thank you, it works well for us and nothing ever gets wasted. I have a Multiplo 1250 egg incubator from 1933 and also a slightly later 144 egg model. I hatch out Khaki Campbell and Indian Runner Ducks, I do have a few breeds of poultry but they all run together except the Pekins (buff) at present so I hatch out crossbred chickens at present and a few Pekins. I hatch out eggs for other people as well. At Easter I buy 200 meat chickens or their Fertile Eggs and sell some to my friends and neighbours, some at the Highfields Pioneer Village (I am a dairy maid at their Easter Vintage Festival). I feed these Meat Chickens Commericial Broiler Starter for 3 weeks and then used my own cracked corn, barley and seaweed meal etc. I generally keep about 30 for our own consumption.
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Can you tell us more about your home made chook food mix? What exactly, how much and where do you source your ingredients from?
     
  11. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Welcome Moo,
    i hope you don't have any animals with unconventional sexuality having surrogate babies there in the Deep North?:)

    A herbal Ley, what a great idea. I have never heard of it.
    https://2-women-on-2-acres.com/what-is-a-herbal-ley/
    Do you just buy wholesale seed and broadcast it? Any establishment tips?

    Wouldn't geese in the orchard eat the grass?

    I was amazed to see in the North of the South island of NZ hundreds of acres of wild thyme growing in an area the locals called a desert.
    It surprised me no one was harvesting it commercially. Eco?
     
  12. moo2u2

    moo2u2 Junior Member

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    Hi My home made chook mix depends on the seasons and is fed with little variation to the cows, pigs, sheep, ducks and chooks. I buy my grain (corn, barley, wheat and sorgum from local farmers and crack it in a grinder/cracker attached to my milking machines. I feed only a little corn in summer, more in winter and not much sorgum. Also not much wheat in the cow/sheep or pig mix as too much is poisonous to these animals.
    To the cracked grain I add Seaweed Meal/Kelp, Natra-min mineral powder (i think it may be called Superior now), A little sulpher powder (our soil is lacking in sulpher and it helps keep parasites, lice etc at bay), Full Fat soya bean meal for higher protein. For the chooks, ducks and pigs I mix in milk from the cows. This prevents waste, they eat it all and it helps prevent problems with mice and rats as there is none left on the ground to encourage them. I do mix a tiny amount of Pig Concentrate in for the pigs and Dairy Concentrate for the cows. I couldn't tell you exact amounts as I just do it by the handful depending on how many animals but it is important to get it right so you are not giving them too much of one thing. I had a soil test done so I knew what was lacking in my soil. The best investment I ever made however it is a long slow expensive process to try and get the soil back to good health.
     
  13. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Thanks Moo. So much to learn still..... I've not yet knocked up a full 12 months as a chook keeper yet.
     
  14. Aaronj

    Aaronj Junior Member

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    I worked for 4 months with a farm forester in NSW, he wasn't growing fruit trees, but many different kinds of timber, nuts and oaks inoculated with black truffle. He insisted on working the soil into excellent condition before planting. Saying that the 1-5 years spent on getting the soil into proper health made up for it 10 years later because the trees grew faster, were healthier, disease and parasite resistant, needed no irrigation and were higher producing.

    His site had been seriously compacted, overgrazed with dairy and then beef cows and then used to grow oats until it was abandoned because it would no longer produce anything. It became severely infested with blackberry and scotch broom which he says also contributed to the regeneration of the soil. He slashed everything down, and did consecutive passes over several months with a Yeomans style plow. He introduced a herbal lay which he had developed specifically for his area, and periodically ran goats and sheep to graze down the broom and blackberry that came back. Prior to planting he deep ripped again.

    I have never seen soil in as good a condition as his was. Probably 12-15 inches of deep black topsoil, it was truly amazing. We could plant trees with a small hand trowel. In the middle of the drought (this was in the vicinity of Canberra) , his soil was moist and full of worms. The neighbors place looked like a desert.

    After planting we put individual tree guards up around each tree, because he was going to make one application of Roundup in the spring when the grass came in. He used a CDA micro sprayer with extremely low concentration of Roundup directly around the tree only. The rest of the area could be slashed with a light weight (to avoid further compaction) Carrero tractor . The grass he said was the major killer of seedling trees and he didn't have the time to weed each tree, or afford mulch to stop the grass. (20-40 acres planted at a time.) He never used Roundup again after that first application, and the soil under his forest was still rich, full of worms, uncompacted and healthy.

    Whether you use this entire method or not, deep ripping is essential if your land has been grazed by cattle, or plowed for crops. Regardless, a compaction test is easy. There are no definite rules, but from what I have heard, roots of most plants can not penetrate if the compaction is above 300PSI. I have see people plant into soils where the compaction measured 900-1000 PSI, the trees sit there and never get big.

    best of luck
    A
     
  15. moo2u2

    moo2u2 Junior Member

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    Thanks very much for the information, I am now thinking very carefully and won't rush in and plant the orchard. I need to work at getting the soil to a reasonable stage before I plant them. I think you are right, if the soil is not prepared properely, I will end up with disappointment as the trees won't do well. There are no worms in our soil anymore and I guess that says it all!. Have a great day, Judy
     

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