This year, we decided to do our annual plantation in Spring instead of in the monsoon. We can do this now, as the soil has enough ground water and there is sufficient 'dancing shade' and mulch to see young saplings through the bitter May-June heat. This is not something we could do in the earlier years when our eco system was still developing, and young saplings were at high risk during the 46 deg Celsius summer.
Given that we don't have much free area left in our orchard zone, we needed to extend this plantation into the adjoining forest zone. This is okay and good by us, as this zone has a lot of native trees which will provide the right eco system for fruit trees. We found a huge gap in our fruit supply during winter, as many of our citrus trees did not live up to their reputation 5 years after they were planted. Hence, the focus on citrus in this round.
We planted the following 60 trees today:
Narangi | Tangerine 8
Grapefruit | Chakotra 2
Orange | Santra 6
Mausami | Sweet Lime 6
Sitaphal | Custard Apple 2
Anar | Pomegranate 4
Shehtoot | Mulberry 4
Since this forest area is open to grazing for our animals, we immediately got worried about how to save these saplings from our voracious goats, who chomp on anything that comes their way. Initially we thought that we would use the bougainvillea branches (that were trimmed), to create a fence around each tree. But I knew the goats would get the better of those. Then we suddenly got a brainwave! The idea to cordon off this entire area for a couple of years till our trees establish themselves. It would also give us more space to grow food, and create a real food forest in this area too.
So we used some logs of wood that has been cut by the electricity department (as the trees were touching the wires), and some old wire and date palm leaves to create a really nice fence all over this area. What's more, we are going to introduce our Kuroilers (hens from Keggfarms) in this food forest as well. Another problem sorted!
Look out for the next post where we introduce 50 odd Kuroilers to Aanandaa.