backyard orchard culture: part 4

June 12, 2014

garden do againgarden do againgarden do againPart 3 was almost exactly a year ago and it took a year to figure out that we needed to sort of start again. Actually, we pretty much knew by the winter, but we didn’t get to put the plan in place of how to adjust for our backyard orchard until this spring. We uprooted the handful of trees that survived, put them in 15 gal pots in the meantime, awaiting their move to their final destination (hopefully). We learned our soil wasn’t draining like it’s supposed to, so too much water was collecting at the base of the roots and essentially, suffocating them to death. After having a specialist come out, help diagnose the problem and offer solutions, we decided it would be best to lift the roots of the trees up higher and put them in raised beds. Can you tell we’re quite serious about our gardening?

garden do againgarden do againgarden do againIn the photo above, the trees will go against the wall at back left and in the beds at far right with the trellis system on the right with the wood posts (where we will train pears and apples into espaliers). Immediately in front and left of these beds was where the trees once were; in their place, we now have three, 3 x 13 ft cor-ten steel raised beds and this is where all the seasonal vegetables will be planted (in the photo above, you can see where Ben has already started another trellis system for our tomatoes).

Every year we get better at gardening and learn from our mistakes (make more and learn from those too!). Some have been costly mistakes and some we’re glad we made, because things have turned out better. We research as much as we can, Ben especially, and talk to as many experts we can, but these things still happen. I’m excited about how everything is situated now and things already look so much better from just a couple months ago. It feels good to finally be moving forward with our garden. There were a few months where we just weren’t quite sure how to troubleshoot problems, but things are looking much better now, and hopefully everything keeps flourishing.

I wrote a post about our cor-ten steel beds hereย and I will have an updated post about how that side is coming along. Cor-ten steel beds are a bit of an investment, but putting money into our garden and house is important to us, and we hope one day to be able to have fruits and vegetables coming out the wazoo in our own backyard. We’ve done pretty good with vegetables in the past, so we can only get better, right?!


9 comments on “backyard orchard culture: part 4”

  • Wow. This looks amazing. We are terrible gardeners, but we keep trying! Trees are our next thing too!! Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Rubyellen says:

      Good luck too! I used to think just throw the seeds down, water them, and they grow. Boy was I wrong, there is such an art to gardening!

  • Jane Y. says:

    my goodness would i love to have a garden like this one day. we did container gardens for two years and all have ended up in terrible failures with our lettuce turning out all leggy. but we don’t plan on giving up! ๐Ÿ™‚ we’re learning each time, too!

    • Rubyellen says:

      Don’t give up, you’ll get it. We’ve had our share our failures too, but the successes make it worthwhile. It’s all about learning in the garden anyway.

  • Amy says:

    I just went through your garden album on Flickr. Those are some sexy, sexy steel beds. Have you ever posted a drawing of your backyard? There are many pictures, but I have a hard time picturing the whole thing. Do you find your girls still have room to play… without getting into the plants too much?

    • Rubyellen says:

      Good idea! I need to share a sketch of the layout. They have plenty of room to play back there and they play all over near the garden beds too.

  • Christine says:

    Intense, ruby!! We tried trees once in the ground too, when we still lived in your area, but they ended up doing a thousand times better in our raised ledge. Glad you have the perseverance to keep going with it!

    • Rubyellen says:

      Ben’s the one with the perseverance. It takes so much work and it feels like we’re always working on it. I’m sure you will have another great garden going in Texas!

  • Mary Turley says:

    very cool! Love all your garden construction posts! Can you tell me what the thickness or gauge of Corten steel you are using for your planter boxes? I had some fabricated here in SB for 4 boxes 20″ tall x 40″ wide and 4′ long yet they are bowing a bit. Nothing catastrophic yet I want to find and recommend a better thickness or gauge for a friend of mine. Let me know anything about the steel specs. Much appreciated!

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