What with all the bare-rooted fruit trees currently in stock we’ve been returning to sites we prepared earlier in the year to plant fruit trees. In our latest round of planting over the last few weeks, we’ve put in about 100 fruit trees in orchards and food forests stretching from Williamstown to Forest Hill (which we’d now like the council to rename Food Forest Hill!). We have been doing a lot of multi-planting this season, with up to four fruit trees going into the same hole. We like to use a mix of basalt rock dust for minerals, compost for organic matter and biology, seasol to give the trees a boost, and the original soil so the roots know what to expect more of in future. We generally also broad-fork the whole orchard so air, water, seeds, roots and microbes can penetrate deep and get on with their good work, protect the tree roots if chickens are involved (and with us they usually are!) and mulch with wood chips. We then set up irrigation whether from greywater, directly from roof downpipes, from rainwater tanks or from mains. One of our favorite irrigation options is to use the overflow from a duck pond where the ducks manure the water making the irrigation fertigation – fertilising and irrigating at the same time!
Here’s a photo of a ute-load of trees arriving at a job Eaglemont (where VEG is project managing one of our most exciting design implementations ever – more to come on that), a photo of a food forest we put in about two years back in Glen Iris, and a photo of one of our pruning courses in progress in Heathmont.