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5 years 1 month ago #532647 by tristanian
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Hi all,

We (Mum, dad, 2 kids & grandad) have recently made the move from CHCH to a 5.3H lifestyle block in between Rolleston & West Melton. Lots of plans at the moment but sooo little time.
We intend to have chooks, sheep, cattle & pigs as well as a substantial orchard eventually.
I expect I will be asking a lot of dumb questions on here, apologies in advanced!

Cheers

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5 years 1 month ago #532658 by Rokker
Replied by Rokker on topic New
Welcome to the forum! The only dumb questions are those that should have been asked, but weren't! :)

Do NOT cross this paddock! ... Unless you can do it in 9 seconds, 'cos the bull can do it in 10!
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5 years 1 month ago #532660 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic New
welcome indeed! When you say a substantial orchard, beware of going too big! A few trees of each type is plenty. The trick is to keep them well pruned so they don't get too big.Check out this site
Most commercial varieties will need spraying so go for the more disease resistant ones. Leave plenty of space between trees and provide irrigation. Good luck.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)
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5 years 1 month ago #532672 by LongRidge
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As tony says, a "few" of each are plenty. I planted 3 of most, and that is too many when the season is good. Two feijoas, and one grapefruit are enough.
Remember that cattle will destroy fruit trees, and pigs will uproot them. Also, every part of avocado is poisonous to everything except humans. Also, the grass underneath trees is not very nutritious to herbivores, so don't plan to run as many animals in the orchard as you could on pasture. Fruit trees need different proportions of chemicals than pasture needs, so need different fertiliser.
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5 years 1 month ago #532688 by tristanian
Replied by tristanian on topic New
Thanks for the welcomes & the advice. I was initially think of ~40 trees with 4-5 of each type (plum, cherry, peach, apple, apricot, pear, nectarine, grapefruit, lemon etc). I was planning on mixing a few different sub-species of each to spread the fruit out over a few months and help with cross pollination. My wife also thinks this might be too many, however I am of the mindset that its better to have too much rather than not enough.... I suspect we will end up with ~30.
We will be keeping the large animals out of the orchard, so stock damage will not be an issue.
Looking forward to being a part of this community.

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5 years 1 month ago - 5 years 1 month ago #532716 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic New
well, I suggest you get some pigs as you are going to have heaps of surplus fruit! Main thing is to keep those trees small. Start pruning when you plant them.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)
Last edit: 5 years 1 month ago by tonybaker.
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5 years 1 month ago #532728 by Wren
Replied by Wren on topic New
Wow - your orchard sounds like it is going to be very impressive! Definitely look at when the fruit mature for each variety to try and get your harvest spread over the seasons, and make sure you consider pollinators too. Getting different varieties might also be useful since some will no doubt like your place better than others, so you might find some thrive and others sulk. Make sure to check on the rootstock and suitability of that for your soil (I recently planted an apple then found out that the dwarfing rootstock is unlikely to be very happy in our clay soil, but you live and learn!)

Have you thought about adding some nut trees to your plan? Either way - it will soon be the right time to buy dormant fruit trees, so find yourself a catalogue from a good supplier and start salivating over the options! Southern Woods are local to your area and seem to have a good variety (but you might need to pre-order if you plan to buy an orchard-full!)

Good luck and have fun! :)

Muddling our way through 1Ha on the Christchurch Port Hills, with flocks of heritage chickens, Silver Appleyard ducks, Gotland sheep, and Arapawa goats.
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5 years 1 month ago #532734 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic New
I planted an orchard as soon as we arrived here in 1991 ..... and made many mistakes even though I read all that I could find about fruit trees.
Firstly, the soil fertility was wrong for fruit trees. I should have got that better before I started. It would have taken less time to get fruit if I had planted a couple of years later after the soil was more correct.
Secondly, each variety of plant needs different proportions of micro and macro nutrients than another variety. So even though I planted the varieties close to each other, I compromised the fertiliser by using the same stuff on all the trees.
Thirdly, I planted on a slope, which makes picking the fruit, and spraying during wet periods, rather dangerous.
Fourthly, I do not spray or fertilise anywhere near enough.
Fifthly, even though I checked and checked, I have used a north-east slope. I should have planted north-west.
Sixthly I cannot irrigate effectively. And when I have enough rainfall for a good crop I need to spray against fungus and bacteria soon after the rain, when the ground is slippery.
Seventhly, when I was 26 years younger pruning in winter was not much of a hassle. But now it is.
With prunings it is important that the animals do not overeat these prunings because some of them can be naturally poisonous and others can be poisonous from the sprays that you have used. Copper poisoning kills lots of sheep every year :-( .... which also makes the grass under the trees poisonous to sheep :-(
With my pollinators, the tree that flowers first has no or very little pollen to make fruit. My Granny Smith does very well, but the Gala does not.
With the apricots, peaches and nectarines we get cold frosty weather after flowering. Thus we have only had one good harvest of them. I don't put out smudge pots or a smoke screen :-(. Remember your neighbours if you plan to do this.
We have much better pollination and fruit set when the local apiarist has his hives close by. Unfortunately, spring is when he sends them to the commercial orchardists. He also gets very upset if I have to put insecticide onto the trees and his bees are still using our trees to try to find nectar.
My mother is in Riccarton. There, the buildings break up the cold southerly wind, but she has to keep her Meyer lemon covered during winter to keep it alive. She cannot grow grapefruit.
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5 years 1 month ago #532740 by tristanian
Replied by tristanian on topic New
Thanks for the great advice, there is alot to consider.
I would like to get some nut trees too, but intend to tackle this at a later date as phase 2 of my master plan (also to allow enough time for the wife to appreciate the literal fruits of our labour/expenditure).
We will definitely use southern woods as we have purchased a few plants off them in the past and have had very good results.
I am interested to learn a little more about soil fertility, is there an easy way to test this? To my knowledge the land has been used as a potato farm (~40years ago) and more recently as pasture. What should we be looking for or doing to improve the soil?

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5 years 1 month ago - 5 years 1 month ago #532741 by Rokker
Replied by Rokker on topic New
By far the best way to sort out fertiliser needs is to get your block soil tested with samples from the different areas of your farm, so that you can apply the right ferts for each area - be it pasture, orchards, crops etc. We get ours done through FARMLANDS. It takes the guess work out of the equation and thereby saves you money from applying the wrong ferts in the wrong places.

Do NOT cross this paddock! ... Unless you can do it in 9 seconds, 'cos the bull can do it in 10!
Last edit: 5 years 1 month ago by Rokker.
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5 years 1 month ago #532764 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic New
Farmlands use Ballance as their fertiliser supplier.
We and you have a Ravensdown store near, which means that you can collect the bags when it is available. I have also had a lot of success using Ravensdown's soil testing equipment and their laboratory. Ravensdown's freephone receptionists also know who to ask about anything. Sort out what you want to know, then phone 0800 100 123. Tell me if you don't get decent service.
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