Several years ago my kids and I planted some peach trees and a plum tree. At least one of the peach trees died and was replaced with another plum tree.
The oldest plum tree is doing well, a couple of the peach trees are doing ok, but two of the peach trees are not doing anything. They are just “there” not growing at all.
Now that my wife and I have moved to the farm I am resolved to take care of the fruit trees.
Why haven’t the trees been growing? I think it is a 2 prong problem:
1. Texas has been in a severe drought for the past few years.
2. We have sandy soil in southeast Texas that does not have very much organic matter.
I am going to fix those two problems by supplying water to the trees when needed, and adding organic mulch around the base of the tree.
This past winter, 2013 – 2014, has been very wet here in southeast Texas. As of right now the trees do not need extra water. Nor do the need water in the near future. If and when they need water I will use a 35 gallon drum to transport water to the trees.
To help with the organic matter problem a guy I know has pigeons, and he gave me a box of pigeon poop. The pigeon manure was spread around 5 tree, 2 plum and 3 peach trees. Then a bag of Hapi-Gro cow manure with compost, and a bag of straight compost was spread around the trees.
A local Lowes store carries Hapi-Gro cow manure + compost for something like $1.50. The straight compost is around $2.98.
I have 2 plum trees, both of which received a bag of manure / compost mix, and a bag of compost.
I have 4 peach trees, 2 of which received a bag of manure / compost mix, and a bag of compost. A third tree received only compost. The fourth tree received nothing. I plan on getting to that 4th peach tree, but I need to clear away some brush before I do. Weeds have grown up around that 4th tree and those weeds to be cleared out.
While we are in the planting season I am probably going to plant two more peach trees and probably another plum tree. When my wife and I start making preserves, or start canning, I figure we will use peaches more than we will use plums. In all I am looking at around 6 or 7, maybe even 8 peach trees.
Here is a video made in 2010 while my kids and I were planting some of the trees. One of the peach trees in the video died and was replaced with a plum tree.
As you can see from the video, the large plum tree has not grown that much in 4 years. Not near as much as I had hoped or expected. Now that my wife and I are living at the farm we can take care of the fruit trees like what they need.
I am hoping that in the next year or two the condition and size of the fruit trees will improve.
I would love to pick a bushel of peaches off my trees, then make some peach jelly, or preserve the peaches with a pressure cooker. But to get to that point the trees have to be taken care of.
Fruit trees after SHTF
As a survivalist or a prepper you may be reading this article and say “so what?” Aren’t you just going to grab your bug out bag and bug out to the wilderness?
The answer to that question is no, I plan on staying at the farm.
Why should I lave my home, food sources, tools, farm equipment, family members and drinking water? Why would I want to bug out to the wilderness and have to hunt and forage, when my family and I can grow all the food we want?
Fruit trees fit in very well with my long term SHTF survival plans. To go along with the peach and plum trees mentioned in this article, my wife and I also planted satsuma trees, we have some older peach trees, some apple trees and a fig tree. Right now we have one fig tree, but will be planting more.
The fruit off these trees will be an excellent source of Vitamin C, along with other vitamins and minerals.
In the grand scheme of things I want to make apple jelly, peach jelly, fig preserves and store fruit using a pressure cooker. This fruit will provide vitamins and other nutrients during the winter months. And preserved fruit makes a good barter item in case of a long term SHTF situation.