This week, we worked on planting some stone fruit trees in the “butterfly garden” on the east side of our backyard. This is the best location for stone fruits, because it tends to be coolest in the winter, and will get the largest number of chill hours. Plus, a couple of these hearty trees (the fig and peach) can withstand being planted next to a brutal west-facing wall and thrive, even in the summer. We have decided this area is going to be more of an orchard, with flowers in containers or perhaps pots to attract the bees and butterflies. We had thought to do a hugelkulture in this garden, but over time, that idea has evolved, and I’ll share more about that journey in another post.
Here’s a picture of all our bare roots waiting patiently to be planted. As you can see, bare root stone fruit, as the name implies, come without pots, so the roots need to be kept moist (in the plastic bags), until planting time. We also had some grapes, a blackberry and goji berry that did well in the pots for a couple of months before we finally got around to planting them. But the trees needed to go in the ground pretty quickly.
Here, you can see our Ya Li Asian Pear. Matt’s first attempt at grafting a pollinator onto the tree didn’t work out, so we still are on the lookout for another Asian Pear to pollinate this one, likely to go in the ground next year. Here he was, hard at work, planting it late that night. Also, one of the grapes went into the ground in the backyard at the same time.
And here’s the wood chip pile in the backyard that needed to be moved about three different times before finally getting spread. Here he had to shovel the pile first, then dig the hole, then wait for the chickens to check things out before they let him plant the tree. Those birds are such a wonderful addition of life to any garden ecosystem, but they are extremely interested in anything you’re trying to do, and are not at all shy about it!
At the end of the bare root planting season, we had the following trees in the ground:
- Ya Li Asian Pear
- Anna Apple*
- White Star Nectarine
- Pluerry (Plum-cherry Interspecific)
- Honey Fig*
- Desert Gold Peach*
It was hard pulling all the blossoms off each tree this year, but necessary to give them that first year for strong root development. And with that head start, I can’t wait to share with you how they all do when they hopefully start producing next year! Some of these varieties (the starred ones) are supposed to be fairly prolific producers in Phoenix.