"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Lemon orchard progress

I was looking through photo's we had taken during our December / January visit and realized that I hadn't shared our lemon orchard progress with you yet.

The digger / loader had previously cleared all the renosterbos from the area, and we got John, our part-time helper to dig us a couple of holes. The locals have devised a way of digging holes in that hard ground which is amazing.  They thump the ground with a pointed metal pole (I don't know what it is called, but it is available at our local Co-Op) and every so often they scoop the loosened sand / rock out with a can.  Defies belief, but it works, and works better than a pickax!

I say a couple - well, actually, 15 holes LOL

Then we laid down a row of weedguard.
Preparing the site for more lemon trees
RMan got busy attaching the porous pipe to the irrigation hose connectors - not an easy task because, although the porous pipe is relatively flexible, the ends are quite a tight fit for the connectors.  Too tight for a mere female to do  - well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it ;)
I'm very grateful for the strength in RMan's hands
and arms
To soften the porous pipe, we placed the ends in boiling water.  This definitely does help - but strength of fingers and arms is imperative for this task.  And it's just up RMan's street :)
Porous pipe ready to be installed on the timed
irrigation hose
With the size of the diameter of the circle we have allowed for growing space for the lemon tree trunk.  Also, bear in mind that the porous pipe will supply water to the ground for a distance of 500mm to either side of it.  So I anticipate good coverage of the future tree root system.
The rocks are there as support for the young
lemon sapling, and to close the X we made
in the weedguard in order to plant the trees
We have put this irrigation on the timer as well.  So it will get 10 minutes of water every 2 days.  Given that the water is being applied under the weedguard, there will be minimal evapouration, no wastage / run off, nor drying of the soil surface through the action of strong wind, and no blocked pin pricks in the irrigation pipe as we had in the first orchard section last year :)
You can see the outline of the porous pipe
below the weedguard
A sight to please anyone's eyes :)  And orchard in progress...
The trees we planted last year are in the
foreground - the latest trees are in the
Hard to believe the trees next to the
closest  shadecloth were only planted last January.

You can also see the position to which we have
moved the caravan.
The new section in the orchard - 15 more
trees to add to the 15 which were planted last year.
1st orchard on the left - new orchard on the right
I took a chance and planted some really small saplings (the baby row).  One of the five I know didn't make it, but the others seemed fine when last we were there.
From left - the smallest lemon saplings,
slightly bigger in the centre, and the
sturdier new ones on the very right/
Do you remember I wrote about forgetting a whole lot of dried out looking lemon pips in my fridge last August and which I "reconstituted" in a bowl of water overnight?  Well, on the off chance that they were still viable, I shoved them into a pot of soil, place the pot in a sunny spot and kept the soil damp.

This is what happened...
A whole pot of trees waiting to be set free
Looks like I'm going to be busy...

And, Mr H, thanks for the tip.  I have also dropped two different types of apple pips into a pot of soil.  They are also popping their heads above ground.  I guess I'm going to have to find a spot for them too :)

In addition to all the veggies, I will also have a pomegranate, grape, lemon, apple and naartjie (mandarin), strawberry, raspberry and gooseberry harvest at some stage in the future.  It surely can't get much better than that!

I am so very grateful for all of this.  The future harvests, the opportunity of being able to become more self-sufficient, and for the wonderful, exciting, exhausting and the mentally, spiritually and physically enriching journey that RMan and I are on, even if it is at an advanced stage in our lives.  I guess you could say that we are living proof of never being too old to try something new.

And, happily, one of the most important reasons for our purchasing our smallholding and travelling along our eco-friendly path (and documenting it, firstly, on my web page, and, secondly, through this blog) has culminated in an absolutely wonderful result and action. Beyond my wildest dreams :)  I have big news to share with you - but not yet...

And, finally, this photo is to give you an idea of the "growing" area on the farm - as it now stands.
In the foreground, potatoes in their tyres,
veggies in the shadecloth veggie hut behind the tyres,
strawberry, gooseberry and raspberry bushes are further
down behind, and below, the veggie hut,
and the lemon tree orchard on the right.
And, just out of view to the left - the future
root cellar, as well as the pomegranate orchard

which is situated in front of the house :).
And, that is what we have accomplished in our garden in the past year... Reckon the next year could be even more interesting :)  I'm so impatient I can barely handle the wait... (you gather that I am not a patient person - so I've learnt that too! LOL)


tami said...

I love to look at pictures of your farm in progess, Dani. Your lemons grew fast! Who knew?

Mr. H. said...

Wow, things are really progressing nicely. Your house going to be surrounded by quite the amazing food forest and gardens in a couple of years.

1st Man said...

A wise woman told me the other day, "ALL those dreams now need is just a bit of patience in order to get them to fruition." Hmm, I wonder who that was? LOL! Thank you for those words and for this post. This actually shows me what can be done with that patience and watching the results is so inspiring for you (and will be inspiring in our case).

Mrs. Mac said...

It all looks BeaUtiful! And you have a web page other than this blog???

Dani said...

Tami - It is quick, isn't it :)

Dani said...

Mr H - A food forest would be fantastic - but I know it will take a lot more work to achieve that. I'm willing though LOL

Dani said...

1st Man - LOL, But I've been patient for 4 years so far...

I'm happy with what we have achieved in the garden this past year, and know that if I prepare the soil correctly, and maintain that balance, then we will succeed in what we are achieving.

Dani said...

Mrs Mac - Thank you.

I actually started chronicling our journey on a web page, because I wanted to share all the eco-friendly info and suppliers that I was discovering / had discovered in this country. My daughter pointed out that a blog was actually the place to do that. Thus, the Ecofootprint-South Africa blog was born. I was initially afraid of creating a blog and blogging - so it's all due to NGirl's prompting that this blog is here :)

1st Man said...

A "food forest"! I LOVE that description, I've got about 10 fruit trees that will be going in the ground soon and I might just have to steal that phrase Mr. H! Dani has a great headstart on a food forest that's for sure.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Well it is not nice to tease!

The orchard looks wonderful. I know where to come for lemons :)

Leigh said...

Dani, I am so excited for you! Everything is looking wonderful; all your hard work is paying off. The automatic watering system is brilliant. I should do something like that for some of my newish plants.

Energiser Bunny said...

so so exciting!! We are also at the establishment stage and its amazing to see it start to come together. From the pics, its also now possible to imagine how it will look in 3-4 years time. Well done on all the hard work, and I'm with you on the irrigation piping. Its incredibly hard to get the connections in. I've been using friction when I should have been using my husband, clearly....

Dani said...

Jane - LOL - Sorry

Thanks - hopefully the trees bear well. I've got another year or two before I find out...

Dani said...

Leigh - I seriously couldn't do it with the irrigation system!

Dani said...

EB - Thank you. LOL I know my limitations - and RMan's capabilities...

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

I'm astonished at how quickly your lemon trees are growing...and incredibly jealous of the harvests you're going to have in the future :) It seriously looks like you and your crew have put in an incredible about of graft into your orchard - well done!

Astra said...

thanks for giving such an over view of the farm, I can really picture it now. You guys have done so so much in this last year im so glad your so satisfied and happy with it all, im excited to find out what this big news is- i think im as impatient as you!

Stitchin' time said...

Wow the fruit tree forest is going to be something to see in 12 months time considering how fast the current seeds are germinating and the established trees are growing :D! Are you going to have nut trees as I was thinking the Aussie Macadamia would probably do well as we have similar climatic conditions? The prickly leaved version is hardier (Macadamia Tetraphylla) and taller than the smooth leaved version (Macadamia Integrifolia) and both types cross pollinate in the wild to form their own hybrid. The unhybridised Tetraphylla is my preference as animals are less likely to graze on them and I prefer the taste of the nuts, though they are usually a bit smaller.

Dani said...

Tanya - Thank you :) I'm also blown away at the one-year-old lemon trees - they obviously like something that I'm doing / growing on the farm :)

Dani said...

Astra - Not long now... :)

Dani said...

Robin - A fruit forest - YEAH! - like that idea LOL

They grow Macadamia nuts in the north of South Africa - hadn't thought of growing them down south - I'll have to investigate :)

tom | tall clover farm said...

How fun to read about your life and farm a half world away. South Africa looks like a stunning country.

Dani said...

Tom - Thank you. I find it fascinating to read and learn about other peoples (farm) lives around the world too. Thank goodness for Blogs :)

South Africa is amazing - the place, the people and the scenery - well worth a visit :)