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How to start a mini organic orchard on your farm

organic orchardorganic orchard
organic orchardorganic orchard

 

How to start a mini organic orchard on your farm

So, you want to start an organic orchard. This is an exciting and noble decision, one which will not only help the environment but also your farm’s profitability in the long run. You will be able to grow fresh, organic fruits that you can either sell or eat yourself and you will be contributing to the overall health of your farm.

If you have the right agricultural machinery, organic farming is easy and effective. You will need to have rotary tillers, spreading equipment and other tools to help you to start your organic orchard. To start your mini organic orchard on your farm, read on below for some top tips on how to begin.

 

Find the right equipment

Even though you will be farming organically, you will still need to have the right equipment for the job. For an organic orchard, this will be quite different to what you use for a commercial one. The agricultural machinery you will need includes the following:

 

 

  • A spreader: Spreaders are used to distribute compost and other materials along the orchard pathways, allowing you to spread under low foliage without damaging the vines or branches. A compact spreader is a better choice for a mini orchard.

 

  • Harvest equipment: Once your fruit is ripe and ready, you will need to harvest it. On an organic orchard, it is best to do this by hand, especially if you are keeping the space small. You should look for sturdy ladders and boxes, making sure they will be able to handle loads of fruit.

 

  • Tractor: You might not think of a tractor when considering an organic orchard, but a tractor is an essential piece of agricultural machinery. You will need to transport your harvest load to your storehouse and you might need it to plan out the plot too.

 

Decide on where to plant

An orchard, even a small one, is going to be around for years to come. This means that you will have to consider where to plant it very carefully. You will need to look at the layout of your farm and select an area that is best suited to the needs of your orchard.

The ideal location is sloped, as the worst enemy of any organic orchard is frost. The trees should be out of the wind and you should also ensure that your orchard is not too high above sea level. Look for an area of your farm which matches these conditions and start planning your orchard.

 

Get the soil right

One of the most important aspects of an organic orchard is ensuring that the soil is right. It is essential that the soil has a combination of adequate drainage and sufficient moisture. You will need to ensure that the soil is not “potter’s clay”, which is not conducive to farming.

Good soil texture is imperative, as tree roots need to breathe and have easy access to water. A good soil helps with water retention and prevents fruit from splitting, which is a common sign of uneven water supply. You will also need to check the pH level of your soil and ensure that it is between 5.8 and 6.5, with are the ideal pH levels for a variety of fruit trees. If you find that your soil is not at the right level, you can call in a professional to help you figure out how to change this.

 

The importance of compost

Organic farming means that you will need to have a rich compost. Compost can be created from a variety of waste materials, such as cow, sheep or horse manure, as well as vegetable peels from your kitchen. The point of organic farming is that you do not use chemicals in your fertilisation process, which is why compost is so important.

You can use mulch as well as compost, as it will help to create a rich and fecund soil. Mulch can be made from large or small wood chips, as long as they are natural and biodegradable. You can also use bone meal to give your soil a phosphorous boost and comfrey to increase the calcium levels of the soil. Your compost should consist only of natural materials, and you should avoid using any chemical herbicides as well.

 

Keep it natural

Creating a mini organic orchard is an effective way to be more environmentally-friendly. Organic orchards do need equipment in order to function, but this equipment is much more “low-impact” than commercial equipment. You will need to look for the perfect area on your farm to start your orchard, one which is on a slope and does not receive a lot of wind during the day. Be sure that your soil’s pH levels are accurate and don’t forget to include a rich compost in your orchard plans.

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