Our current orchard surrounds our circle drive and is planted in the front lawn. If facing the house, Plot 1 is to the left of the path leading to our back deck, Plot 2 is in the center lawn between both paths, and Plot 3 is to the right of the path leading to our front courtyard entry. Plot 1 contains two pear trees and one peach tree, Plot 2 contains two sweet cherry trees and one sour cherry tree, and Plot 3 contains two donut peach trees. Today I will be focusing on Plot 1—this will be the only one I am redesigning this year, in addition to planting the new apple and paw paw plots.
The above picture is the landscape plan I designed. It is drawn to scale, representing each plant at their full grown size and/or allotted spacing for plants that spread. However, the canopy of the fruit trees is drawn at its current size—approximately 3-4 feet, depending on the tree. These canopies may eventually grow to 10-12 feet, in which case I may have to redesign the annuals, but based on the path of the sun and their light/shade requirements, the perennials should all be happy despite the trees’ growth. The baptisia should grow to 3-4 feet in height and diameter after about three years, which will bring it to the top of the stone wall which is the backdrop to this plot. This plant does not tolerate transplanting, so once it is in the ground, it is permanent. All of the other plants can be repositioned if necessary. If you haven’t already read about how and why I chose most of these companion plants, read my previous post: Permaculture—Companion Plants for Polycultures.
My April TO-DO list for this plot is to remove the grass that fills this bed, plant the perennials, and fill with leaf mulch over the top of thick newspaper weed block. I am also considering doing lasagna layering [thick cardboard, topsoil/compost, leave mulch] to smother the grass and allow it to break down as natural composting. However, due to the thick, absorbent nature of cardboard, this will increase my water requirements this year. To be determined…
As far as the perennials [black-eyed susans, echinacea, catmint, yarrow, and lamb’s ears] I will be dividing or finding wayward babies to transplant in this plot. I planted the daffodil bulbs last fall. I had to order starter plants of the baptisia (false indigo) as my seeds did not germinate. And my three agastache (anise hyssop) plants that I put in last year are still too small to divide, assuming they successfully return, so I ordered these as well. And I have three small pots of chives started from seed, but I need to start many more to spread around all of my fruit trees.
My May TO-DO list for this plot is to plant the annuals. I have started all the annuals from seed [cosmos, calendula, zinnia, marigold, and sweet alyssum] and they are currently between 3-6 week old seedlings. By May 20, the last frost date for my area, they should be close to flowering if I haven’t accidentally killed them during the hardening off process (of which I am still an amateur).
So total expenses for this project:
Baptisia starter plants x 2=$14
Agastache starter plants x 2=$8
Possible topsoil/compost delivery (TBA)
Seed packets for marigold, sweet alyssum, cosmos)=$7.50
Seed starting mix/trays for annuals=$20