This week was all about my kitchen garden… well my orchard really. I have always owned lemon and lime trees, but now I have 23 acres to play with, I thought it was time to expand my collection. Needless to say, I’ve gone a little crazy. My husband, the financial controller in our family, started to put the breaks on when I hit 15 fruit trees. To be fair, we had also just bought 26 Canadian Maples for our driveway and 130 Leighton’s Green Conifers to line the western side of the property, which also runs alongside the dirt road. My husband built a temporary green house to help these young plants combat the harsh frost in the Yass Valley, until we have time to plant them.
I really wanted to try and get as many heritage varieties of fruit trees as practical. I didn’t see much sense in planting what we could buy at the supermarket. Not to mention, often the varieties at the supermarket are grown because the produce a lot of fruit and are robust. I don’t necessarily value the same qualities. Taste is paramount.
Initially I researched on the internet and picked my favourite varieties… then I found it was really difficult to source these varieties. So I changed my game plan. I headed over to the Heritage Nursery in Yarralumla, took note of what trees they had, went home and researched them, then came back and bought the ones I wanted. They had just had a delivery so the variety of their stock was incredible. We want to espalier our fruit trees. This not only means the fruit is easier to pick, but the increased air flow around the fruit should mean they are more resistant to disease. I realise that this will take up more space, but we have 10 hectares… it may also mean we don’t get as much fruit, but we can always add more fruit trees. Knowing this, Holly showed us how to pick out the trees that had a shape that lended themselves towards being espaliered. But that was not all! She then pruned them for us. By the time we got through all the trees, we felt we knew what we were doing. Now we just need to remember it for next year!
What did we end up with?
Apples: Gravenstein, Michelin (for cider), Cox’s Orange Pippin, Red Braeburn, Granny Smith, Pink Lady (my children’s favourite.
Plum: Mariposa, Satsuma, Angelina
Pear: Williams, Corella, Josephine
Fig: Brown Turkey
Peach: ANZAC, Blackburn Elberta
Cherry: Lappin (I will add one more variety)
Apricot: Trevatt, Goldrich
Quince: (I am still deciding between Van Deman or Rhea’s Mammoth)
What do you think of my choices? Have I missed your favourite? We will add a few more next year. I’d at least like to add one variety of Nectarine and a Nashi.