We are just starting an orchard and would like to model the suggestions of this DVD. I have a couple of questions about the NAP design and would appreciate any help.
We went to a nursery today and purchased some fruittrees. Our intentions were also to purchase some nitrogen fixers however the person who was helping us was not very supportive on planting nitrogen fixers. He stated that this takes way too long and that they sell nitrogen. They had a lot of nice trees and we didn't want to leave so I just left it alone. So we did not get any "N" trees/plants. However, we purchased a lot of fruit trees based on what we wanted and what they stated grows successfully in our area.
We purchased: 3 apple (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Pink Lady) 2 pear, 1 plum, 1 peach, 1 fig, 1 pomegranate, 2 cherry trees and then 2 grape and 2 black raspberry bushes.
My questions are:
Where do cherry, fig and pomegranate fit in with the NAP?
What should I do about the nitrogen fixers? Should I make spaces for those trees and go some where else to get them? Can I use nitrogen fixer bushes and plant them in the spaces for the N trees? Or is there another way we can go?
We live in zone 7A, elevation around 6000'. Winters can get down to -10 at night at times but warm up fast during the day. Our land consists of juniper and cedar trees sprinkled with pinion pines, along with an occasional scrub oak bush. We are starting from scratch with the orchard so have a clean slate on the design.
-Think of the cherry, fig and pomegranate as more "P" You don't really need more apples to use Stefan's ideas. Just not all apples.
-As for N-fixers, leave the space and fill in as you can: acacia, honeylocust, you could even try some mesquite if you can find it. They don't have to be the same. Bushes will work too (autumn olive, Siberian pea) , and you can add nitrogen with ground covers too like clover and alfalfa.
-Assuming these are in pots at this time of year. Deep holes, as deep as you can stand to dig and then deeper. We use an auger and go 4' deep for bare root trees. We don't get much winter kill because our tree roots go deep fast.
-You don't say what size these trees are (dwarf, semi dwarf, etc.) Or how much you want to guild in between with other plants. Think of it as how much percentage of shade do you want the canopy to cover? If you want close to 100%, use the recommended spacing for the size trees. If you want some sunlight between the trees, add more.
-You don't say what your location is (you can add it in your profile) but I'm guessing eastern OR/WA. Soils tending toward alkaline. We added Azomite (1 lb per tree) to each planting hole this year and did not see any chlorosis on the new trees, unlike in years past) We also added a pound of rock phosphate to each hole. I'm guessing you can get the Azomite and the rock phosphate by the sack at a local farm store, just ignore the vats of Roundup in the aisle. Don't wait to plant, if you can't get it right away, you can add it on the surface later. The most important thing is to get those trees in the ground ASAP.
-Then get them wrapped with hardware cloth or something to protect from rodents this winter. You have time for that. Embed the wrap in a couple inches of gravel. Even if you haven't seen voles, they will find and destroy your trees this winter by gnawing the bark.
-Be prepared to water them, infrequently but deeply until they drop their leaves, once or twice more, and then again in the winter. We lose leaves in late October, water first year trees on Thanksgiving, Christmas and the first of March. You may only need to do two waterings if the leaves hang on until November.
-BTW, the nursery did well for you on choosing apples that should pollinate each other. Not surprised about their reaction about the n-fixers, it's not a strategy that they would have learned. But what a stupid response- we sell nitrogen! They would have made more money if they'd sold you the trees!
That said, you may want to add a bit of nitrogen next year to get the trees going. Recommend reading Michael Phillips the Holistic Orchard and following his holistic spring spraying regime. He uses liquid fish for nitrogen. It's worked for us.
Yes, leave spaces for the N-fixers. You could do trees or bushes. If you go with bushes, you might alternate N-A-N-P-N-A-N. That's my plan anyway.
Or in your case N-A-N-C-N-P-N-F and so on.
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posted 5 years ago
Thank you Ann for all the details. We live in NW Arizona. Except for the Granny Smith, everything is in 5 gallon pails. I will have to double check the tags but I think only the peach is a dwarf. Our soil has a lot of clay in it and our water table is very deep.