Monday, 16 January 2012

Half a hole

Of late, I have been cutting down rather more trees than I have been planting.  Whilst I maintain that this is a good thing overall for the trees, I still need to think about replacing them with new ones.  This Winter I have invested in a small number of fruit trees that I hope will be productive.

I planted a nectarine and an apricot earlier in the season. Even though people tell me that the weather here is not quite up to what they need, I am banking on global warming to deliver a decent crop over the years.  Yesterday I planted one of two apples trees that I have bought.  Apples are not self-fertile, so you have to plant two different kinds to cross-pollinate, and I chose Granny Smith and Gala.  Granny Smith for cooking and Gala for eating.

It doesn't pay to be in a hurry when you plant a tree, especially here.  The soil is full of rocks and stones, and hitting a big one of these can mean you spend the rest of the afternoon trying to hoik it out of the ground.  I dedicated yesterday afternoon to planting, and it was the right amount of time.

First, fetch your tree, and decide where you're going to plant it.  Put a stake in the ground to mark the spot, and using a spade, clear the turf from around it in a circle of about 1m diameter.

Then dig out the hole to twice the depth of the root ball, and fill it back up with good compost until it is a little deeper than the root ball.  Plant the tree and refill the hole with a mix of compost and the soil you have dug out.  Make a crater out of the soil so that when you water the tree, the water flows towards, rather than away from, the roots.   Water it.

A maths teacher once pointed out to me that you can't have half a hole.  He had a good point, (though you can have half a whole, of course) but this hole is half as deep as it needs to be, so I claim disproof by counter-example.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Nectarines, eh? This global warming thing isn't all bad. I'm glad to see you're embracing the future!

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