it was a ball field…

…an acre of ground for my children that we seeded to perennial rye grass and mowed…they played soccer and practised baseball there…but by 2008 they were grown and gone and i asked them if i could convert it to an orchard and they said yes…so i disced it with a discer and then worked on it with a field cultivator and finally used a 3-bottom moldboard plow to cut furrows from east to west for each row…we laid plastic over this and tucked in the edges and then i used a snowplow on the front of my pickup truck to thoroughly cover the edges of the plastic…it was a thoroughly wrong way to go about planting an orchard…but at the time it was the best we could do…

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…we picked up our plants from prairie plant systems…1,000 of them…and worked at hardening them off for a week…and then we loaded them onto a flatdeck along with a water barrel and went down the row using a sharpened spade that i modified, cutting L’s into the plastic, prying out wedges of clay, inserting plants, covering them over, and watering them…it was way more work than we now do…but that was the best we could come up with when it came to equipment…and we watered them almost every day using a 55 gallon drum and a short watering hose, one plant at a time as we drove down each row…

…the rows were set on 20 foot spacings, not optimal for pollination, but was a width that i could drive our hay equipment down in case the summer turned out wet and it became overgrown…all of our plants survived and looked like this by august…we were on our way…

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…by the end of the summer our original EBH non-varietals from the u of sk also looked great…

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…so this is what our field looked like in early july of 2008…and what it looks like as of today…

…it’s a beautiful transition!

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