Thursday, April 19, 2012

Early Spring Planting in the Hollow

As much as I'd like to be putting some of my veggie starts in the ground this week (or even this month, for that matter) it is still much too wet here to work the ground for the new garden. So, I'm going to turn my focus to putting in a few trees and some ground cover.

I ordered a lovely assortment of heirloom fruit trees, the majority of which were unfortunately out of stock. So we probably won't be adding any new apple trees this year, dang it, but I did get my hands on a few cherry trees. Here's what I picked up today-

1 Black Tartarian Sweet Cherry
1 Montmorency Pie Cherry
2 Sugar Maples
2 Scarlet Oaks
1 Monkey Puzzle Tree
4 each of Kinnikinnick ("bear berry") and Wintergreen ground cover

The trees will be split between our orchard rows and our chicken yard, and the ground cover will all go in the chicken yard. We're trying to control the rate of erosion in the chicken yard by replacing some of the now-devoured grass with spreading ground covers that do well in clay soils. There aren't many of them. The fact that these produce a fruit that we may or may not be able to get to before the chickens do is just a bonus. ;)

I found out after I bought just the one Monkey Puzzle tree that you actually need a male and a female in order for the tree to produce nuts. Did you know that Monkey Puzzle trees made food? The cones contain up to a few HUNDRED nuts each, which, when roasted, are supposed to be quite tasty.

Unfortunately, the trees have to be upwards of 30 years old before they can bear fruit, so I won't be reaping my nutty reward any time soon. Their unique look, and the fact that they can live to be 1000 years old sold me on them anyway. Maybe my 10 times great-grandkids will like Monkey Puzzle nuts? I'll plant some for them, just in case.