Comaraderie built with shovels in hand
“To plant a tree is to believe in tomorrow”. And indeed we do….We planted an orchard!
It’s hard to explain the emotional elation of seeing the physical reality meet a long held vision. After ten years of saving, land hunting, research, reading, site visits, soil preparation, grafting and waiting….this week has made the dream visible. Four days in a paddock from sun up till sun down has been rich with focus, mistakes, laughter and family time but its been made more memorable by the efforts from friends who popped by to lend a hand and two incredible gents who jollied us along, dug holes endlessly and just kept going. The influence of these young, energetic men on our three kids desires to be engaged in the process has been beyond description. To the point where we enjoyed the cheery company and 8 hours of work contribution from all of them across all four days of this epic project in the paddock. The joy of sharing this week is still settling with us but we know that the comaraderie formed with shovels in our hands will be held in our hearts as we watch our trees grow strong and the doors to black barn farm open to the wider community. A community of eaters who we hope will share in the celebration of food which is grown ethically, sensitively and for those of us who know it to be sacred.
With sun on our backs ….can you believe we had four straight days of near perfect weather….we started at dawn and dug till dark. Our painstakingly created planting plan was implemented one tree at a time from nursery to paddock. Each tree is planted 4.5 metres apart to allow the tree to grow to its full size. The planting rows have been deep ripped and pre power harrowed in 2 metre widths and this will later be planted with a large array of under-plantings (things such as coriander, daikon radish, borage, comfrey, chives, asparagus, rhubarb, marigold, clover, vetch) to benefit soil health, accumulate nutrients, out compete unwanted pasture grasses and attract pollinating insects. A single row in line with the trees was ripped to break compacted soil layers, allow for easy digging and encourage water penetration. Before being put in the ground the roots of each tree were doused with mycorrhizal inoculant which symbiotically improves nutrient availability and tree health. Each tree was given a healthy dose of compost and soft rock phosphate before being laid with cardboard (weed management) and then a hefty layer of ramial woodchip mulch to keep our fungal mates happy. Almost as if by request, the heavens opened the day after we finished planting and delivered us 20 mm’s of soft drenching rain.