Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mistakes I Have Made - Part 1

I firmly believe that we can learn from both our Successes and our Mistakes. I also believe that we learn more from our Mistakes than from our Successes, at least that has been my own personal experience. The Lord knows that we all make many, many Mistakes as we grow in life.

Sooo, with that in mind, I propose to share with ya'll some of the worst Mistakes that I have made over the years and hopefully save some of you some grief that I have endured over the years.

Years ago, when I first purchased this little piece of seclusion in the Hill Country, I decided that one of the things I could do to improve the overall productivity of the "Turf", would be to put in a Fruit Orchard.

Having done some extensive research as to which types of fruit would grow best in this area I decided on several types of each fruit (Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plumbs and Figs ), would be needed for cross pollination, extended season and other reasons.

I further decided that "Dwarf Fruit Trees" were the choice to make because they mature and produce fruit quicker, take less room to grow and are easier to harvest than standard trees. So far so good!

I had selected an open are about 50' x 100' to be the "Orchard Area". By planting the trees on 10' centers (Recommended), I would be able to fit 40 fruit trees into that area. With the "Plot Plan" made up I was ready to go.

Spring Vacation was coming up and the local garden supply had their stock on sale and now was the time to get started. I purchased 40 trees, 8 of each type of fruit at $9.95 each for just over $400.00. (Sounds cheap but this was 1973) I hate to think of what this project would cost today.

Vacation week came and went. Trees got planted with time to spare and that was a good thing as I now realized my first small Mistake. The Orchard Area was 420' from the well head to the front edge of the Orchard. I had only 100' of garden hose… Spent the rest of the week hauling water in 5 gallon buckets to set the trees in good and proper.

I was not living on the "Turf" yet - Just coming out and spending the weekends cutting brush, picking up rocks, putting in perimeter fencing and now hauling more and more water for the trees as the weather got warmer. By the end of May I was the proud owner of 600' of cheap garden hose.

By the middle of June the Fruit Trees were looking great not a single tree lost with all looking fresh, green and lush and I was feeling pretty smug about this project and the outcome.

Now came the 4th of July weekend. As I arrived the first thing I noticed was that there were no leaves at all on the Fruit Trees. What could have happened - The soil was still damp - Yet NO LEAVES!

By this time I had met my neighbor (WWII Vet) who lived on the 200 acres just to the north of me. I asked him about my situation. His response was just one word - DEER! He also advised that if I kept on watering them they would probably come around by Fall. I followed his advice and sure enough they came back to life.

The next year the same thing happened - Looking great one weekend the next weekend NO LEAVES! AAARRGGHH! Another Mistake! By now I had done more research and discovered the need for some elaborate fencing to keep the deer at bay. I then made the decision to postpone the Orchard Project until I had moved to the Turf.

I hope this was not too long and that ya'll were able to see the error of my ways. See ya'll again on "Mistake II.

Hang In There



d.a. said...

Hiya Bel: the deer are awful here in the Hill Country, aren't they?!! Also planning on putting in an orchard, and will definitely put fencing around the trees per your experience.

Pickdog said...

thank you for this great information. I am in the planning stages for an orchard and will fence it for sure.

Belwether said...

Belwether said:

To d.a. and pickdog.

I have since had succecc with just 10 trees closer to the house with an 8' fence.

Mayberry said...

Great article, and thanks for contributing!