The layout of our property has two really good garden spots that are about 25ftx50ft. They are near the bottom of the property. We have a third one that is on a hillside that is the same size and it is ok. The sweet potatoes loved it and we got a few watermelons. We are hoping a year or two with chickens on it will improve it .
We tried a spot on top of the little hill next to the orchard, for about 2 years but both years it failed or the wind got too bad up there and it destroyed everything that grew.
So we planted more fruit trees in that area so we would not be tempted to use it again. It works out well, because the very top of the hill doesn’t seem to like the orchard trees lots and this gave us lots more room to expand.
With the three garden spots, we are rotating our chickens to a new spot each year. So we really only have two a year we can plant on.
There is a spot between where the grapes start and the herb bed that could work. It is on a slight hill , and will be shaded the first hours of the day. So while it isn’t ideal, it’s what we have at the moment. Maybe it can be for lettuces or a long term bed for asparagus.
Eventually after the house is built and we know where all the water lines will we can have more options on where to put garden spots.
We’re still very happy with our process of using the chickens to improve the soil. It’s about as natural as you can get and while it does take some time, we love getting the eggs and just enjoy the chickens.
We got the new spot tilled up. Going to plant it this year. Will be interesting to see this year compared to the next when the chickens have had time on it.
2019 was a good year for the blackberries. Unfortunately, we lost 2 plants so blackberries will be in very limited supply in 2020. We also lost 2 blueberry bushes. The ones remaining look pretty healthy and do have some fruit on them. Hopefully we can get a few before the deer or other critters eat them.
2020 saw the first time the peaches really started to bloom. It almost seemed like too many for their first year so we made sure to pinch off at least every other fruit, before they got too big. Sadly, this was a year of a late frost, right before Mother’s Day. It really wrecked the peaches. They all split and seemed like they were oozing their sugars. They basically stopped growing and stayed rotting slowly on the branch. We’ve been giving them to the chickens though and they seem to like the treat.
One of the pear trees did great! We got so many pears! They are not the prettiest pears but they tasted good.
We had a few little apples on one tree. We had several turn red but stay the size of a golf ball. We also have some issues with cedar rust on the apple trees. We’re still holding out for the apples to start producing. They could do with another year or two of growing before they really start producing.
It seems like were losing a different pear tree. We had another apple tree there the first year and had to replace it.
We’re figuring the highest part of the property maybe just isn’t a good location for the fruit trees. We’re not sure if it’s too windy or maybe all the nutrients in the soil run downhill and nothing good stays at the top. Also, a power line runs along the back edge and the county periodically comes out to spray under the lines to keep the plants down. Of course, we can’t tell the herbicide to skip over our trees so they certainly get some of that exposure.