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Author Topic: Intro: orchard in the Santa Barbara mountains  (Read 476 times)

tve

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Intro: orchard in the Santa Barbara mountains
« on: May 10, 2019, 03:24:28 AM »
I'm pretty new here but have now posted 61 messages, so I thought I might as well post a little intro thread with some images. We're in the mountains just north of Santa Barbara, California at 2100' (640m). We get marine influence but a lot more heat at daytime and typically colder at night time than down by the coast. Sometimes it's foggy and humid, specially at night and morning, other times it can be very dry with little measurable relative humidity.

We get some light frost most years, and fewer and fewer years with real frost. We planted some low-medium chill stone fruit in 2002 and they gave us great fruit for a number of years, but the last 5 years have been very spotty. Global warming at work...
One of the challenges we have is daily winds in the late afternoon that can be quite strong. Anything with delicate foliage just gets shredded if it's not protected. It's not the wind speed per-se, it's the daily occurrence that gets the plants.

Here's the very beginning of the orchard in 2002, making terraces by hand and planting the typical citrus one finds in the nurseries:


Eight years later, the trees had grown nicely and we planted more:




Nice Algerian Clementine harvest 9 years after initial planting:


The soil is basically sand from all the boulders that you see around. We're on a sandstone escarpment and there's only a thin layer of organic matter. Depth of soil before hitting rock is a couple of feet, as in 2-3 feet... We got a lot of tree chips from clearing and from a number of pines that succumbed to a borer. I deliberately installed sprinkler irrigation so the mulch gets water year round and decomposes nicely. Now the soil around the oldest trees is really, really nice. We use no fertilizers other than mulch and compost and no pesticides.

We kept expanding the orchard, this was 3 years ago:






And some of the most recent trees in 2018, citrus from CCPP budwood grafted onto C-35 and some Pomegranates:


A few months ago:

Yes, the trees have more of an ocean view than our house...

Of course all this looks bucolic, but the grim reality is often different. All the above photos are really of a war zone. It's us vs. them. Thankfully there aren't a lot of "them" interested in the citrus, but that's not the case for the other trees.

Persian Mulberry:


Nectarines:


Fig:


I'm skipping the images of the gopher traps, which are deployed somewhere virtually year-round.

An as a true addict I have the next set of grafted trees in the greenhouse:


More to follow...
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 01:50:08 PM by tve »

Radoslav

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Re: Intro: orchard in the Santa Barbara mountains
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 03:47:31 AM »
Beautiful.

Laaz

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Re: Intro: orchard in the Santa Barbara mountains
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2019, 05:53:41 AM »
Nice setup.

Millet

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Re: Intro: orchard in the Santa Barbara mountains
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2019, 10:58:21 AM »
Looks like the area is your slice of heaven.  Your doing an outstanding job.

matt_citrus

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Re: Intro: orchard in the Santa Barbara mountains
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2019, 10:25:59 PM »
Really nice to see the growth over time. Can you share more detail about the sprinkler and irrigation setup, especially for the younger/newly planted trees?

tve

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Re: Intro: orchard in the Santa Barbara mountains
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2019, 12:19:19 AM »
Quote
Looks like the area is your slice of heaven.

Yeah, isn't it true that whatever crazy stuff may be happening, a walk in the orchard brings the smile back?

Quote
Can you share more detail about the sprinkler and irrigation setup, especially for the younger/newly planted trees?

Nothing really special. I like the Netafim Supernet Jr sprinklers. They're used quite widely commercially but not so easy to source retail. I run a std 1/2" plastic irrigation tube down the row/terrace, and then plug in the sprinklers. I get the blue spreading discs with "short range" tabs. The tabs deflect the spray so only about a 3ft radius is covered, which is great when a small tree goes into the ground. After a few years I break off the tab as the root zone expands to get a ~6ft radius and I move the sprinklers a bit further away from the trunk. Two sprinklers per tree, or just one in between every two trees depending on how things work out. The latter is what is done commercially, but my crazy hillside terraces aren't that regular. In addition, I got special little deflectors that keep the water off the trunk. I can't get those anymore so I now use small binder clips instead. Doesn't seem to be so essential for citrus, more so for stone fruit.

Long reply, but the main thing for me is that I add mulch every year or two and I want sprinklers so the mulch gets rained on and decomposes. We have basically zero rain from about april to november. Plus, in sandy soil I don't believe that drip really works for trees due to the lack of lateral spread of the water.

 

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