Tag Archives: fruit trees

what DIDN’T we do this week?


It’s been a really busy week!  Between day jobs, volunteer jobs, farm duties and a sick baby who passed his cold on to everyone else, it’s been pretty non-stop – poor immune system or not.

I’ll try to list everything we’ve worked on this week, but given that I’m sick and fuzzy-headed, there’s bound to be some things I miss.

Before I start listing though, I’ve gotta say THANK GOODNESS for our beautiful fall weather!  It’s been crisp and sunny which has allowed us to get so much more done outdoors than we would ever do in the rain.  Yay for a non-west coast fall!


So, now that we’ve started our orchard, there’s been a lot of discussion around trees here on the farm.  We added two more trees to our orchard this week: a 4 variety producing apple tree and a 4 variety producing pear tree.  By ‘4 variety’ I mean trees that have had multiple types of apple/ pear types grafted onto them, allowing them to pollinate each other and to produce different kinds of fruit throughout a longer fruiting season.  Fun!  We’ll see how they do.

We also removed a tree from the property this week.  There was a huge, sickly alder that lived near our newly planted orchard.  We were worried about it’s sickness infecting the fruit trees and our neighbour had voiced concern about it negatively affecting her own trees so we cut it down.  Once down, we still had to take care of chopping it all to bits – burning the smaller branches and leaves and cutting the larger ones up for fireplace firewood.  I spent 5 hours on friday hacking away at the tree and burning most of the small stuff.  I’d had a frustrating day of work (the internet and websites can drive you crazy if they don’t do what they’re supposed to do), so I took on the tree hacking as personal therapy.  It helped.

Also on the topic of trees, farm family friend Bob gave us $200 to spend on whatever we wanted this weekend (for the farm), so we used it to take advantage of the clearance sale at Trice Farms and bought ourselves five awesome trees for the property (at 50% off):  a curly willow tree, a japanese maple tree, a dwarf burning bush, a very cool green maple tree (with bark that looks like bamboo – can’t remember the name), and one of those tall coniferous trees that looks like it belongs in a Dr. Seuss book – you know, the tall, lanky, swervy ones?  Also can’t remember the name.  Anyways, we are VERY thankful to Bob for the opportunity to get some beautiful trees for the property that we normally wouldn’t be able to afford ourselves.


I’ve taken over the duty of locking the chickens up for the night and letting them out in the morning so that’s been fun.  I like our chickens a lot and it’s fun to see them all snug in the coop at night.  I also cleaned out the chicken coop this week and gave
them fresh wood shavings yesterday so their home is nice and clean and comfy.

Unfortunately, our last sickly Russian chicken died this week.  She’d been sick for awhile and finally succumbed to whatever it was that was harming her.  The rest of our Russian and other chickens seem great, so hopefully our current seven will live long enough to start producing eggs and see the spring roll around.  Go chickens go!


I planted the rest of our garlic this week, transplanted a bunch of my potted plants into larger pots for my deck and planted some poppy bulbs into pots.  It’ll be lovely to see those come up in the spring:  red, pink and my favorite blue poppies – yay!

Chris rented an excavator yesterday and, in addition to using it for digging up all our drainage ditches, he used it to dig up the area that we will be building our deep beds on.  This is super helpful because it would have been A LOT of hard work digging up all that earth by hand.  Beforehand, Julie and I marked out where we want the deep beds to go – it’s gonna look great!


Tommi and Cary and their son Magnus stopped by yesterday and helped with some of the ditch digging and my friend Erin came in from Vancouver to bring me a bottle of trailer-warming wine.  She helped me break up and burn some more of the alder tree before we had dinner, played scrabble and drank the wine in the trailer.


The last to-do thing that came up this week was for me to start winterizing my trailer.  The frost hit this week and mornings, evenings and nights in the trailer have gone from chilly to downright freezing!  So it’s time for me to start prepping that tin can for the winter.  I bought plastic to line all the windows with and started up the propane heater for the winter.  I’ll need to get some skirting up along the base of the trailer too – not sure what the most economic and efficient method is – hay bales, spray foam, plywood???


And I think that’s about it (although I swear I’m missing stuff because that list doesn’t seem to match my level of exhaustion).

Here’s to another week on the farm!  Despite feeling like I’m living in a freezer, catching colds from babies, and spending way too much volunteer time trying to build a problematic website, I still really love it here :)

planting fruit trees!


So, last weekend we started building an orchard!  You’ve gotta start somewhere, so we began planting our new fruit trees in the same section of the farm that’s already home to an older cherry and apple tree.  It’s the part of the farm that receives the most direct south-facing sunlight and is close to the house without encroaching too much on the part of the yard that needs to stay a ‘yard’ for the kids and the farmyard volleyball players.

With the help of Julie’s dad (we’ll call him Captain) and brother Ben, we tested the ph level of the soil (which was pretty much exactly what we needed it to be – phew!), dug holes, added gravel for drainage, followed by a mix of compost and soil to create a rich, healthy home for our new trees. 

We got three of our trees planted:  our William’s Pride apple tree, our Fantasia nectarine tree and our Green Gage plum tree.  According to the helpful Fruit Tree guide we picked up at Cedar Rim Nursery, we know the following about our orchard starters:

William’s Pride Apple:  A dwarf apple tree that is dark red, disease resistant, slightly sweet, good fresh and cooking apple.  It does not require a polinizer and has an early fruiting and blooming time.

Fantasia Nectarine:  A semi-dwarf tree that produces bright yellow fruit with heavy red blush, vigorous and productive and certified virus free.  It does not need a polinizer and has a late fruiting time.

Green Gage Plum:  Also a dwarf tree that grows greenish yellow fruit with amber flesh.  Sweet tasting.  Also does not need a polinizer and has a mid fruiting time.

We also bought, but have not yet planted a Desert King Fig tree (yellowish-freen fruit with delectably sweet strawberry colored flesh, vigorous and reliable, grows 10-25′) and two female fuzzy green kiwi vines (we’re looking for a male to polinate them).

The Captain, who has done the whole sustainable farming thing himself, had some great advice for us.  First of all, we were planning on surrounding the base of our trees with cedar woodchips and he warned us that cedar pulls nitrogen out of the soil which would negatively impact our trees (they need nitrogen!).  He also suggested that we talk to local farmers to find out what kinds of fruit trees they’ve had success with in the area.  As fun as it is to collect interesting fruit trees, if they don’t live and flourish well in our climate and soil, there’s not a lot of point in investing time and money and land space in them.  Good point!  We really would have been at a disadvantage if the Captain had not been there to help us get our fruit trees planted.  Indication that we still have A LOT to learn!  All part of the process – we learn as we go :)

Special thanks to the Captain and Ben for the help! 

Okay, little fruit trees – grow, grow, grow! 

checking out the local nurseries


The farm girls spent some time exploring local nurseries this weekend, looking for great deals on fruit trees, shrubs and seeds.  We LOVE nurseries – especially beautiful ones!  Farm girls in a nursery are like kids in a candy shop – oohing and aahing over everything and wishing we could buy up all the beautiful trees and flowering plants. 

We checked out two nurseries:  Triple Tree Nurseryland in Maple Ridge and Cedar Rim Nursery in Langley.  Triple Tree Nurseryland is BEAUTIFUL.  It’s very thoughtfully groomed with impressive displays of well-manicured plants and a pond that holds the biggest coy fish I’ve ever seen.  All of the photos above were taken at Triple Tree. 

Although we bought our kiwi vines, some bulbs and a few small plants from Triple Tree, we made most of our big purchases at Cedar Rim Nursery.  Cedar Rim Nursery is located in Langley and it is HUGE.  It’s a wholesale nursery which means that other nurseries go to Cedar Rim to buy their stock.  It’s pretty fun to explore Cedar Rim – you need to use a map to navigate yourself around and find what you’re looking for because the place is so big.  I think we spent 3 hours there picking out our fruit trees, herbs, garlic and shrubs.  They have some big sales on right now:  buy 2 fruit trees, get the 3rd free, a 50% off coupon that each customer can use on one item that costs up to $150, plus 5% off your entire bill if you sign up to be a member (free).  Needless to say, we took advantage of the deals and bought ourselves a nectarine tree, apple tree, fig tree, plum tree, as well as other small plants.  The nursery grampa (at least that’s what I think I heard him referred to as), a white haired British gentleman in khakis, helped us gather up all of our purchases.

The staff at both nurseries were really helpful and encouraging, giving us great advice and promoting other nurseries if we couldn’t find what we were looking for at theirs (always a nice touch).  It was nice to get out this weekend to do this kind of shopping and exploring.  Both nurseries are places that I’ll definitely return to – to both purchase things and to just wander around to get inspired and learn new plant information.  I recommend a visit to both if you’ve never been!