The Making of an Orchard: Week by Week

IMG_1436Awhile back, I posted a story about my adventures into discovering the world of olives here in Texas. The idea of growing this little sphere of goodness really intrigued me…to the point that it became part of my business plan moving forward into 2017. I mean, I have the space…why not? I have done some trial planting in different areas on the farm and found success has been on my side.  My hope was to transform between three and eight acres of wasted, scrubby land into a thriving orchard that would surely bring years of commerce to the farm.

Week #1: The real work behind growing olives is in progress. Behind all the research and my countless questions that I’ve asked about olive production in our part of the country, I have found most of the folks interested in farming this fruit to be helpful in sharing their knowledge, but none so helpful as my new friend Kevin. He is by far the hardest working, most intent on “doing it right the first time” guy, I’ve ever met. He has tracked down the machinery, travelled from his farm in Liberty Hill Texas to the farm with the machinery in tow on his 60′ trailer, and spent at least a week ripping and pulling every tree and scrub that stood in his way. “I’m going to treat this as if it were my own,” he said, as he plowed forward into the abyss of Mesquite from inside the cabin of his massive John Deere tractor. With thorny Mesquite you have to get the roots and all, or they will pop again in the next season.

Week #2: Rain…alot of rain!

Week #3: The tractors continue to clear. I know it’s only five acres, but until it’s really done, it is hard to imagine that this vast field of weeds and scrub will actually one day be an orchard. 

Week #4: Delayed due to weather.

Week #5: Today the header pipe goes in. This will transport the water to the trees though emitters spaced every 24″ along the drip line. Fingers crossed!

Week #6: Delayed due to weather. “What is with all this rain?” Yikes!

Week #5: This should prove to be a very productive day. Kevin and his crew [Cody] have arrived and begun the final ploughing of the field. Now 6:00 pm…After a quick bite, back to the field they go to work through the night.

Week #6: Now complete…the orchard is ready to plant. Beginning this weekend, myself along with 6 shovel ready volunteers, we will begin the process of planting our first 200 trees!

 

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