Hi all, I’ve been updating the fruit map for my backyard orchard in West Cork and thought I’d share it here.
The long rectangle to the east is an 11x3m polytunnel (DIY water pipe design) with hybrid persimmon and grape to be trained and lots of veg. The square to the north is a DIY chicken coop, run, and yard. There are raised beds between the house and the road and some potato beds south of that. By the raised beds is another hybrid persimmon to be trained espalier against a low south facing wall.
The winters are never that cold, could get to -10C on a bad winter, usually more like -5C. The summers are never that hot, might spend a month over 25C if you’re lucky. It rains very often. In terms of solar radiation my 3kW PV panels facing south west produced about 3MWh last year.
The soil is rocky, sandy to the south and heavier to the north, with lots of organic matter. The drainage is good, but the heavier spots can get waterlogged in winter. It’s bumpy and slopes down to the north, which helps. I haven’t done any soil tests, but our agricultural department has a GIS soil map for the whole country, and this is what it said at my address:
The total plot is half an acre. The NW border is a dense 3m hedge, I put a 2m high windbreak across the driveway, and the other borders are banked hedgerow, mainly hawthorn with a sycamore, willow, rowan, a big ash, sessile oak, dogroses, and blackberries. It’s fairly good shelter but we can still get strong winds from S and W, so I added some cobnut hazels in the hedge there.
On the northern corner down a bank is a beautiful swampy woods left wild, with a buzzard family nesting there and a million frogs. I planned the fruit trees to be more vigorous to the north and more dwarfing to the south so it feels like those woods continue onto my land. When selecting trees I’ve prioritized disease resistance, late flowering, “reliability” without a hot summer, and storage/processing options (with one or two guilty exceptions). The trees were all dressed with seaweed dust and mycorrhizae and a little coco based compost, and mulched with what was 6" woodchips. Grids are at 3.8m spacing, and most grids have a nitrogen fixer in the middle.
I bought the place almost two years ago, and finished planting out the last tree a week ago. This is my first big scale gardening project. All the work has been done solo, often hauling around bags of compost on the back of a pushbike! The locals probably think I’m somewhat weird, haha.
I plan to use this thread to post pictures (later in spring), track leaf out and flowering times, and track my apple breeding project.
We’ve been getting really late frosts here for a while now, so I’ll try to breed late flowering, late leafing apples with good disease resistance (scab+canker) and good storage times. I also plan several interspecific crosses using the same tardy apples (14,23,28,30,38,57,65), Malus Sieversii, and Malus Trilobata (super late flowering, passably edible sweet but small fruit, disease resistance, no known crosses??).
If you have any questions or advice for me it’s all welcome! I’d love to discuss the cultivars after all that research for example