Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Planning a new orchard  (Read 4077 times)

graemeatwellbank

  • Joined Jun 2016
  • Blairgowrie
Planning a new orchard
« on: July 18, 2016, 09:12:49 am »
I am planning to plant a new orchard.

I have an acre patch (not quite) where I would like to start an orchard and also keep poultry. I know trees need to be protected from the birds and I have an idea for that which I will share later when I've thought out all the details.

What I'm wondering about is the source of trees, types and varieties.
I found www.scottishfruittrees.com which is knowledgeable about heritage trees from this region and about what will grow here successfully.
For sure they are more expensive than supermarket trees but compared to other commercial nurseries maybe not.

What are your experiences/sources/results please?

My starting out budget will not permit an acres worth of trees so I'll be starting with 30ish to which I will add in future.


I have attached my proposed area for your interest. Page 1 is the orchard area ringed in red.

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
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  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
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Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2016, 10:35:08 am »
We have about 100 apple trees in our orchard, half planted about 4 years ago, the other half 2 years ago. It's also home to our hens.

We wrote a plan for the enterprise in 2011, got Andrew Lear (Appletreeman - https://plantsandapples.co.uk/) to come and walk the plot with us and give feedback on the site and choice of varieities, and started planting in February 2012. The current planting plan is attached, although a few of these trees were lost to fire blight earlier this year.

I've found the biggest challenge to be the understory / grass management rather than the apple trees themselves.

Most of our trees were bought from Adam's Apples, and I couldn't fault the quality, price or service - http://www.talatonplants.co.uk/

You're more than welcome to come and visit to see what we've done and to learn about all the mistakes we made. We're just the other side of Dundee from you, so not too far.

graemeatwellbank

  • Joined Jun 2016
  • Blairgowrie
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2016, 10:43:46 am »
Thanks very much for the plan and links.

Must admit, I was thinking of planting randomly - make the bees figure out the jigsaw puzzle.
Now I'm more inclined to be more organised.

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
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  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
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Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2016, 11:07:59 am »
What might not be clear from the plan is that our orchard is divided into 2 main areas, with a hen house in each (the orange and green rectangles on the plan).

Each of those areas is further divided into 3 paddocks, with the hen house sitting on the intersection of the fences. Each hen house has 3 pop holes, opening into a different paddock.

We rotate the poultry onto a new area each month, just by opening a different pop hole on the morning of the 1st of the month.

It gives the ground in 4 of the 6 paddocks 60 days rest before the hens are back on it, and prevents the whole area becoming a dust bath (or muddy field in winter).

Also the benefit of planting in blocks is that harvesting is so much easier. Rather than having ripening fruit scattered about the orchard, you can systematically crop the trees. It's not such an issue when they are young, but when you've got several tons of apples to harvest it will make life a lot easier. Ours are planted so that the closest to the main entrance are the earliest croppers.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 11:11:52 am by Dan »

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2016, 12:35:17 pm »
I suually stick my nose into these threads to make the same point I have before:

If the orchard is just for your own use (as opposed to sales) then you may want to go for lots of variety.  My solution to that was to plant up espaliers along the fence line 25+ apples, 6 pears then cherries, plums and gages. They are all easy enough to keep tidy, will have good crops an dead simple to pick or spray. I'll admit the stone fruit hasn't been as productive as I'd like and i have shoved more conventional trees in for that and we do have a small group of some 8 large apple trees from my predecessor.

This is the 5th year with the esplaliers and bottom layer has mostly reached it's width and the 4th and final tier got tied out last autumn. There'll be more apples here than a family and friends can get through and i can stew and fill in a freezer.

I'll echo that adams apples is a good source but nowt wrong with a few cheapo supermarket ones too. Also if own use rather than sales then don't forget space for the nut trees.

Alex_

  • Joined Jul 2016
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2016, 09:47:54 am »
I have had good experience with https://www.victoriananursery.co.uk/ for  trees that arrived in the UK a long long time ago.
I don't let my chickens near my apple trees but they haven't done any damage to the trees they have had access to (pears and small fruit bushes) But the birds do like apples I give them the small ones that fall prematurely

this is on a much smaller scale than your acre though

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2016, 06:44:09 am »
You need to be careful what fruit trees you plant if you intend to keep poultry around them. Soft fruit with small stones, like damsons and cherries, can be swallowed whole leading to a gizzard impaction and subsequent death. Plums and greengages are fine though, except the natural sugars promote bad bacteria and can result in sour crop. We had all these problems in our Orchard and ended up cutting the damsons down and picking up all the fallen plums. The other unusual case we had (twice) was hens getting drunk on fallen pears- the natural yeast fermented them and chickens have no tolerance to alcohol.

RareAGcoinz

  • Joined Nov 2016
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2016, 11:00:57 am »
Looking forward to hearing what you plan to do to protect your crop from birds.


Lambic

  • Joined Sep 2022
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2022, 11:20:29 am »
You need to be careful what fruit trees you plant if you intend to keep poultry around them. Soft fruit with small stones, like damsons and cherries, can be swallowed whole leading to a gizzard impaction and subsequent death. Plums and greengages are fine though, except the natural sugars promote bad bacteria and can result in sour crop. We had all these problems in our Orchard and ended up cutting the damsons down and picking up all the fallen plums. The other unusual case we had (twice) was hens getting drunk on fallen pears- the natural yeast fermented them and chickens have no tolerance to alcohol.

Just read this old thread ... I am intrigued to know how you know if your hens are drunk ?   Pretty funny.


chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2022, 12:40:43 pm »
They just stand motionless, staring at nothing and don't respond to noise or movement. They have to be picked up and put somewhere safe overnight- fine in the morning though. Took a while to work out what was going on.

Lambic

  • Joined Sep 2022
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2022, 04:23:00 pm »
Sound like mine in the snow when they leave it too late to get back to their house.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2022, 06:45:53 am »
That's hypothermia @Lambic and in our experience they don't recover on their own. We bring them inside for 24 hours to recover, otherwise they die during the night. Having said that if they went into a warm coop with plenty of other chickens surrounding them they may be OK?

Lambic

  • Joined Sep 2022
Re: Planning a new orchard
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2022, 08:16:55 am »
Don't worry they are fine, have had the exact same flock for the last 4 years at 1000ft in the Cairngorms.  They have a deluxe house with double glazing and cavity wall insulation built by me.  Very lucky hens to have had the life they have had.  They have survived pine martens, stoats, buzzards etc

It is just when there is a 10cm snow or more, like yesterday, they get totally confused and do not go back to their house at dusk from the woodshed where they hang aroud in the winter.  Bit like your drunk hens.

So someone always needs to be present with a snow shovel to make them a path home ...

 

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