Planting Trees

A little while back the blossom kicked off this year’s spring season, bringing its pink & white snowy bloom throughout the valley. This prompted discussions about the possibility of us planting several new fruit trees. Only a few to start with; a small area to compliment the 100’s (literally!) of olive, almond, fig & pine trees sprawled across the land. We had attempted to grow fruit trees in previous years without much success, having chosen a very dry area and having to carry water to the trees – creating a lot of hard work!
So this year our choice is a much better spot – a small, lower terrace giving the trees a highly improved chance of survival. Our romantic visualisation is of a tiny orchard where we can pick our own fruit, and these new trees will hopefully replace some of the almond trees we have lost to past years’ droughts. The benefit of this particular terrace is that the waste water from the house is piped down into it, already creating an underground water source for the tree roots to tap into. We planted bamboo from the riverside there last year, and so far so good – the bamboo has survived the winter and is thriving.

The first job was to turn the land. This particular area has been left fallow for so long the soil was like solid concrete. So, with the help of a pal and his tractor, they made short shrift of turning the soil from a solid mass into a workable area. A job that would have taken days by hand took minutes with the mechanical toy.
In the meantime just eight fruit trees had been purchased and brought home in the trailer. We took them out and laid them on the ground. They looked so lost! Long, skinny, knobbly sticks. How on earth were they going to survive and produce fruit? Two apple, two pear, two cherry and two peach trees had been chosen. It wasn’t until
we checked the labels to see which was which that we realised we hadn’t a clue! Not only were the labels in Catalan – that would have been fine on its own – they were also in agricultural short-hand, with a little bit of Latin thrown in for good measure. We knew at least one was an apple tree, but the rest we just had to pick a place for them at random; a decision based on how the trees looked.
The holes would then have to be dug in our chosen places. After debating whether to do a three, two, three or three, three, two format – as if it were some kind of football game – we eventually settled on a three, two, three, and placed the trees accordingly. We then started digging the holes – tough work as the ground was still pretty solid underneath the newly turned part. After the holes had been prepared each tree was carefully positioned upright, watered and the hole filled back in. And hey presto! Our newly formed miniature orchard – looking a little gangly and lost! As you can see from the picture. But still very exciting all the same. So all being well, within a couple of years we should start seeing the trees bear their fruit. An additional walnut tree has been transplanted to the new spot too. As we write this all eight of the new trees are doing well; showing off a little blossom and new green shoots and leaves. We’ll be posting regular updates and photos of the trees’ progress.