Monthly Archives: January 2012

Putting things in the right order

Obviously there is a lot going on in my “orchard” right now due to it being planting season for bare root fruit trees, I need to point out that there needs to be planning and thought put into a backyard orchard project. While you might succeed if you drop by the local nursery and buy a couple trees on a whim doing it right takes work. I started thinking about this project last spring and was amazed at the information I found on the Web and in my hometown. Dave Wilson Nursery has great information and from what I understand were the originators of the Backyard Orchard Culture concept, Robert Morris over at xtremehorticulture founded the UNCE demonstration orchard in North Las Vegas back in the 90’s and has written the book so to speak on growing fruit in the Eastern Mojave Desert. These two sources have provided me with lots of information and the inspiration to start my orchard. Dave Wilson BYOC basics on youtube is a great primer if you want to see what BYOC is all about. So to sum it all up if your thinking you might want to get involved in the locally sourced (what could be more local than your own backyard?) food movement check out the information Dave Wilson Nursery has to offer, then look around your community a bit and I’ll bet you find an activist/expert like Robert Morris and the other great people Las Vegas is lucky enough to have over at the UNCE orchard!

Late Start

I got a bit of a late start today because my Wife, Karen, and I went to Brad Paisley’s concert last night.

We had a BLAST!! Brad puts on one hell of a show, and it was awesome seeing the audience jump to their feet because Carrie Underwood showed up to do a Duet with Brad, it was even better watching at least half of them keep standing and screaming and not realize it was a “virtual reality” appearance by her!

My Son/Slave Brian and I made it up to the little house about 10am and managed to get all of my new trees in the ground by 2:30pm.

Facing West
Facing East

I am still shy 2 Apple Trees. One,a Cripps Pink, is coming in next weekend. Still to be found is an early bearing such as an Anna, Dorsett Golden, or Einshemer. Maybe I will get lucky and find one locally if not theres always next year.

Bonus !!

I went to the Orchard this morning hoping to pick up a leftover barefoot tree or three from the big order last week. I scored big!! John hooked me up with: 1 apple, Fuji Red; 1 Nectarine, Arctic Star; 5 Peaches, Fairtime, Florida Prince, Babcock, O’henry, & Early Treat; and 3 Pluots, Splash, Dapple Dandy, & Flavor Grenade. Now I got to figure out where to put them in the layout of my Orchard!

                                NORTH
——————————————————————————————————————-I B
Plum          9′             Apricot      9′         Pluot        9′            Apple       12′      I L
  o Emerald Beauty     o Gold Kist          o Splash                 o Fuji                  I O  E
  o Santa Rosa           o Royal Rosa       o Dapple Dandy       o Cripps Pink      I C  A
  o Flavor King           o Blenhem            oArctic Star            o Red Fuji           I K  S
                                 Aprium                  Peach————–Nectartine               I      T
  oFlavor Grenade       o Flavor Delight     o Mid Pride            o Einshemer       I W
                                                             o Fairtime              o Arctic Star       I A
                                                             o  Early Treat         o Florida Prince  I L
                                                             O’Henry              Babcock          I L

This is what I’m thinking right now, but that could change by morning. One of the factors I’m thinking about is that block wall on the East end, it is 7′ tall and has 2 30′ pine trees behind the apples and the nectarines. Is that going to cut back the morning sun to much? and the shade from the other trees to the west going to cut down the afternoon sun to much? or is the combination of the two factors going moderate the brutal summer conditions here in Las Vegas just right? Lastly I wonder how that Einshemer bareroot apple over at Lowes would work out? hmmmmmmm.

Orchard Plan

My orchard is going in to an area that is approximately 60′ E-W and 25′ N-S. I am going to plant in a Hedgerow style with N-S rows spaced 9′ apart with the trees in each row spaced 4′ apart. I messed around with trying to build the soil up over the summer with “green manure”. Robert over at xtremehorticulture told me I was probably wasting my time and he was right! Rule #1 : listen to the expert, especially if he’s an experienced expert. I tried everything from buckwheat to leftover seed from my wires exotic birds, it all came up fairly well but my chickens devastated everything green in the whole area. So what’s that all about? just pointing out that I still ain’t learned my lesson. Robert kept trying to nudge me away from hedgerows so what did I do? As laid out above I’m planting my trees in hedgerows! That’s the wonderful, or maybe terrible thing about the web, it ain’t very hard at all to find some intelligent sounding guy that’s posted an article (or blog) that you can use to justify whatever preconceived notion you may have. Rule #2 : if your looking for authoritative advice about growing fruit trees in Las Vegas listen to Robert over at knows more than Max.com.

My Orchard area looking East
My Orchard area looking generally West

What the Heck

A little background: I am a lifelong resident of Las Vegas in general and the East side of the Valley in particular. Growing up here we had horses and were involved in 4H which I think sparked the flame of a wanna be farmer in me. My wife and I acquired a half acre property about 4 years ago and I started getting chickens. My son and his fiancĂ© rent the house from us so every time I went by the feed store I would pick up a couple of chicks, raise them till they were big enough to run around on their own, and them turn them loose while my son was at work. After a while my wife, who worked in an exotic bird store brought me home an incubator that somebody brought in. Big Mistake! I started by hatching out a bunch of my backyard mutts, I was bit by the Chicken bug bad now! Next thing you know the wife wants to know why I’m getting eggs in the mail, “why it’s the only way to get Black Copper Marans” duh. Notice the “duh” wasn’t in quotes? I been married to Karen for 25 years and learned not to say some things out loud long ago. And why do we need BCMS? she asks, “How else are we gonna get chocolate colored eggs?” duh! Below is a picture of the area where my coop (the red barn/shed) is being moved to.
That was a brief explanation of the chicken part of “fruity chickens” the fruity part comes from us wanting to do something to all of the dirt areas on our little piece of Vegas. It’s to much area for grass, rocks are OK I guess, but we wanted something productive. After a lot of research and thought we came up with the idea of an urban orchard. Below is the area we are going to plant about 20 fruit trees in. We are also researching using gray water for a portion of the irrigation needs of the trees. So far everything I have found says it is an ideal use for gray water and is legal in most of CA and AZ but still a bit of a grey area here in NV.
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