Orchard Updates!

Greetings everyone,
This past Saturday there was a small, but select gathering at the Harcourt orchard site.  Gail did an amazing job of edging both Asian pear tree plots and I placed bricks around the edges to form a more manageable mowing surface.  They look beautiful.  The Asian pear trees are both suffering signs of frost from when they first came to Bethany and Seb from the Green Barn in Montreal, but, as you’ll see in the photos, there is some leaf and bud growth beyond the frost marks, indicating that it isn’t a ‘blight issue’.  Thankfully.  And there is plenty of fruit forming.    Lisa Mactaggart healed-in the four artic kiwis, placing bamboo stake tripods for them to climb.  Weather was co-operative.

Gail planted the strawberry plants; Lisa, the aroniaberries, asparagus and mountain mint a week or so ago.

Last Sunday Lisa, Pete and I constructed chicken wire enclosures around the orchard plantings on the NE side of the orchard as well as individual cages around the aroniaberries and hazelnuts in the N bed.  The bunnies were threatening many of the plants and we decided to take steps to thwart them.

Lisa, Gail and I made an ‘executive’ decision to order and purchase 4 obelisk-trellises from the ‘Iron Grasshopper’ guy who has a stall at the Guelph Market instead of building an arbour this year.  Each one will cost $45 (taxes included); they are beautiful and locally crafted.   If we decide next year to make an arbour at the NE corner of the orchard, we can auction off the obelisk-trellis structures to recoup the cost.  Hopefully these can be delivered and put in place next weekend.

Bob, Bethany and the children at Guelph Community Christian School planted a variety of trees and shrubs a couple of weeks ago and individual classes are taking responsibility to plant raised beds of edibles.  Soon a water harvesting system of troughs will be placed to collect water for the gardens/orchard.

In late August/early September we will place an order for more understory plants from the St. Williams Nursery (when Lisa is placing her order for trees and thus helping us to come up to the minimum order amount of $250) that will round out the orchard plantings at both sites.

The fall will also bring the Kortright Presbyterian Church site under the GCOP umbrella with transplanted nut trees from Jam Tree Farm.  We hope to have a one year celebration event at the Kortright site to mark the Sept 15thbirthday of GCOP.  It won’t necessarily be in September, but stay tuned for further details.

We are in the process of organising a watering schedule for this summer for both sites.  Virginie recommends that each tree should get the equivalent of one 20 l watering can full of water per week.  So, sometime in the next few weeks, I will assign each of you a week at a time, in rotation throughout the summer.  I’m asking that everyone interested in helping with this to email me  (at peter.gill@sympatico.ca) with info on when you will be out of Guelph this summer, so I can make an informed timetable and we can arrange for the shed key at Harcourt to be circulated in order to access water at that site.

I urge everyone who hasn’t seen the orchard sites recently to stop by and witness the wonderful additions and marvel at the good work we have collectively achieved.

Happy gardening; Happy summer.

Blessings,  Jill

Asian Pear tree at Harcourt

Asian Pear trees at Harcourt

pear tree 2 pear tree 3