My first MagicMirror is practically complete, though I’ve had a few hiccups along the way. This post is going to concentrate on what’s happening around the garden, and I’ll be back with another mirror update soon.
The goal: make the garden as productive as possible by cramming in fruit trees to every possible sun exposed site. Following on from my efforts last year and with greater plant availability (likely due to the novelty of gardening wearing off for most folks) I set out to organise my cordon properly. Well, as “proper” as I was going to be able to manage as I left the tree ordering until relatively late in the season. Ideally bare root fruit trees should be planted in Autumn or early Spring, but in my defence I had a smaller, louder and more wriggly distraction around the house. The trees I planted last year were still relatively spindly, given their young age and late planting, but my plan involved moving the existing trees to pots as they are all dwarf root stock and shouldn’t grow to a large size. The patio is now covered in massive pots with small trees, so I might have to devise an automated watering system.
The bamboo canes I was using as supports on the initial cordon were not substantial enough, and on top of that they had started to grow again, so out with the old and in with the new heavier duty stakes. I tried to stick to 45 degree planting roughly, though I’d probably give a geometrist a heart attack with some of the angles, and left roughly two feet between each tree, aiming to plant seven along the wall. I learned my lesson after losing the labels from the first batch of trees and started a list with the positions and which fruit variety they represented. The trees took a while to arrive, but they looked healthy and more substantial than my last rag tag bunch assembled from Lidl and Thompson and Morgan. These trees were grown specifically for cordons in mind, and will hopefully establish well in our garden.
Predictably despite having ages to prepare, the trees arrived and I had neither moved the old trees or prepared the spots for the new trees. I managed to buy more substantial tree stakes from Wickes and pick them up on the way to work (much to the consternation of click and collect who weren’t ready for me). Once I’d prepared the ground and tied the stakes, I got to work planting. It also occurred to me that I hadn’t spared much thought for access. Getting to the fruit (when it eventually appears) would entail walking across the soil which is damaging to the soil structure and potentially any plants in the way. A few stepping stones or tiles have been added to my ever growing shopping list to allow easier access when the trees mature.
I put slightly more thought into the order of trees this time, with two varieties of apple next to each other, then two cherry trees followed by a pear tree and a plum tree. At the end I planted an apple tree from last year which was older than the other dwarf trees. It had already been moved once but didn’t seem to mind a change of scenery. Most of the varieties are self-fertile, but planting similar fruits together can still aid fertilisation and improve crops.
Last year I picked up a small fig tree from Lidl and though it has been happy in the conservatory, I’ve been thinking about siting it outdoors. To get a good crop, figs need lots of sunshine and and warm spot, though they are hardy and can tolerate minus Celsius temperatures. The section of wall that I built last summer is in a relatively sun-exposed spot which could be an ideal location if I could get access to the soil, but that area is decked over. Depending what’s underneath the deck, I may put the fig in a decorative pot which is partially buried, restricting the root growth and overall size of the tree. The next step would be to fan train the fig tree, which is similar to cordon training but instead of running it along a single support, the tree branches are trained on multiple stakes in a fan shape, hence the name.
That’s it for now on the garden front. In other news, after completing the Resident Evil 2 remake, we moved onto and swiftly finished the Resident Evil 3 remake. The port of Resident Evil 4 for PS4 is our latest purchase, and the gameplay continues to hold up well despite being released all the way back in 2005. There are some niggles and poor design choices, like the lack of weapon shortcuts and some clumsy movement and aiming, but otherwise it’s a great game that still has a lot to offer.
Stay tuned for more MagicMirror making fun.