June in the Orchard

20 June 2014
Written by Kath Irvine | Images by Kath Irvine
Print Email

Such wonderful synchronicity, as the vegie patch slows down we need to spend some time with our fruit trees.

Release the base of your trees (mine are still knee high in grass that wont stop growing!) and mulch them. You really don’t need to put your back out (and disturb the animal kingdom) by digging the grass out. Chop it back with whatever method makes your heart sing. Lay cardboard or newspaper and cover with the cut grass. If you live in Kapiti go visit the beautiful MOA Community Orchard in Jeep Rd for a model of how your fruit trees should be looking at this time of year.

The last of the copper sprays should be going on as the late stonefruit loose their leaves. Do this only if you need.

Deciduous fruit tree/ cane and vine fruit planting time is upon us. I hope in all the excitement of new trees you have made a plan. Matched up your pollinators, chosen your spot with care, and here’s a thought – make sure it’s a fruit you will use! When planning your spacings add an extra metre to each deciduous tree for working room. This way you can prune, pick, spray without getting scalped (you’ll thank me in 4 years time.) As for those crazy vines/ canes – how are you going to support them? Well is my hope.

Spend some time in your orchard doing a pre prune ponder. Picture the shape of all your trees after pruning. This will result in a far better prune than if you were to head out and thoughtlessly chop. Please banish that dreadful word hack from your vocabulary. Imagine a hairdresser saying let me have a hack at it… oh you break my heart.

My pruning workshop is coming up on June 21 for those of you that need a shot of confidence in order to make those cuts. Click here for more information.


Have you caught up with the food forest trend?

  • Bouquet: it brings to the fore some very smart gardening principals. Simply put, it means to make like a forest and create a perennial food garden that’s resilient to climate extremes and is low input.
  • Brickbat: Trends have a way of running off like a two-year-old – all action and no thought. Many food forest models are Australian, and their climate is of course, nothing like ours. Where they need shade we need light, where they need moisture we need airflow. Those of you copying this jungle model in the lower North Island will be doomed to failure and this makes me sad, because my goal is that all your food growing efforts are a raging success.

Food forest principals are smart, and in fact many of you already have a food forest, but you humbly call it your garden. Abundant, integrated, permaculture inspired gardens = food forest! Look local for your inspiration, there are foresty food advocates all over NZ.

As with anything, there are many styles out there, some more wild than others. Shop around, and please don’t get seduced by delusions of a self maintaining food garden… efficient I get, but self maintaining – really? Can fruit trees be highly productive without care over the long term? We all know where self maintained blackberry ends up!

Self maintaining must surely be the dream of non gardeners. If the gardens looked after themselves what would us gardeners do? (Where would Matt send me when I was grumpy?) Besides, whats wrong with a bit of care,  a bit of physical work? I think, perhaps (you lazy self maintainers) a flax is more your style.

In the Vegie Patch  |  In the Kitchen


Add comment

Security code

  • June in the Orchard
    19 June, 2014

    Such wonderful synchronicity, as the vegie patch slows down we need to spend some time with our fruit trees.

    Release the base of your trees (mine a...

  • April in the orchard
    20 April, 2014

    Autumn marks the beginning of dormant sprays. So clean your backpack sprayer out and get ready to copper if your stonefruit had bacterial infections (...

  • March in the Orchard
    20 March, 2014

    The orchard is bedraggled and dry. The greywater system is not enough to keep the fruit trees going through really dry periods, so one day we will hav...

  • November in the Orchard
    20 November, 2013

    November is time to plant your subtropicals and citrus. I’m putting more avocados in this month as our original has done so well, and we eat so many...

  • In the October Orchard
    19 October, 2013
    The plums are having babies.

    Tiny, wee new fruits, so precious! Keep an eye on how they develop. Thinning time will soon be upon us.


    • Are yo...
  • In the September Orchard
    19 September, 2013


    I can post you out 10 comfrey root cuttings for $9.50, including postage. If you live rurally add another $2.60. Email your order to me at kath@e...

  • August in the Orchard
    20 August, 2013

    The earlicheer are flowering beneath the fruit trees and the daffodils are pushing their way through - in another month the orchard will be pretty as ...

  • July in the Orchard
    19 July, 2013
    In the Orchard

    Planting fruit trees is a pleasure - it’s those visions of cellared apples, of bottled pears and fresh apricots that make it so. 

  • In the June Orchard
    20 June, 2013

    This means the big job of cutting grass which has been left wild since November. That lovely long sward of grass and wildflowers keeps the moisture ...

  • In the May Orchard
    19 May, 2013

    Citrus all need a layer of homemade compost, a top up of mulch and monthly liquid feeding while they are in production mode. Make sure they have some ...

  • In the April Orchard
    20 April, 2013

    Three apple trees left to pick – Montys Surprise (pictured), Mother, Tydemans Late and one pear - Winter Nellis. These late ones are the keepers, so m...

  • In the Orchard
    19 March, 2013
    The orchard is emptying out as the apples and pears get picked and stored...

    I’m enjoying taking the pressure off the trees in this heat. Were pickin...

  • In the February Orchard
    20 February, 2013

    I said I’d report back about the hawk kite and here it is. The Hawk kite went up, then 2 days later in a big wind it promptly blew down. Follow the in...

  • 3 little words: water, birds, pests
    20 January, 2013
    Birds: We’ve had the rosellas in trying out the unripe apples. The horsehoe shape they create with their lower beak is a dead giveaway as opposed to t...
  • Let your Orchard go Wild!
    20 December, 2012

    I hope you are keeping up with your irrigation here - especially around your new fruit trees, and any bearing fruit trees. You need to check the soil ...

MyMag this month...

...your magazine for inspiring stories, beautiful spaces, networking, sharing & celebrating community...

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Zealand


MyMag is your Mag! Subscribe today - it's FREE.  
Subscribe and receive our monthly newsletter keeping you up to date with the latest edition.