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Forest garden island, year 3

Peach treeMy forest garden islands continue to be the most successful parts of our orchard.  Since they're working so well, I've been taking every spare hour I can tease away from other tasks this winter to expand each tree's bed.  In the waterlogged part of the yard, I gave each tree a big hugelkultur donut to add to its current mound, and in better-drained areas I instead built mushroom rafts.

This week, I finally reached my happiest tree --- the kitchen peach.  The issue here isn't drainage since I planted the tree just across the soil type boundary in good loam instead of in degraded clay, but Japanese honeysuckle from the wild edges of the yard tends to climb up my training lines and try to choke the peach.  The tree is just a few feet away from a steep dropoff that falls nearly vertically for about twenty feet down to the floodplain, so there's no way I can get rid of all of the honeysuckle.  What I can do is to make a mowed moat around the outside edge of the tree to try to keep the honysuckle at bay.

Forest garden islandIt took a couple of hours to rip all of the honeysuckle loose from my new moat area, but when I did, I discovered a gold mine --- a huge pile of rotten boards that I'd tossed on the edge of the yard when tearing down the old house five years ago.  The wood is now halfway decomposed, and I know our peach tree will love pushing her roots into the stump dirt (if she hasn't already.)  I piled the rest of the boards up under the limbs of the peach and shoveled a small, flat pathway through which I hope we'll be able to push the lawnmower.  Add some manure and a lot of leaves and our peach should be pretty-much self-sufficient until I pluck the juicy fruits in August.

Our chicken waterer is perfect for getting chicks off to a healthy start --- dry bedding from day 1!


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