Tis the season for planting trees!  Last week we were gifted with  six new apple trees (varieties: ‘Pristine’ and ‘Liberty’).  We had a tree planting party on Wednesday and our orchard now has a grand total of 13 apple trees, including our 7 original Gala and Granny Smith varieties.  We had a lot of help from our clients and staff. 
Our intention is to utilize permaculture principles as we develop our small orchard.  This season we will mulch out most of the sod using woodchips, then plant comfrey and possibly lily or iris bulbs around the edges of the mulch to deter the grass in the root zone.  Comfrey is an excellent plant for compost tea and green manure.  Check out this site for more info on comfrey.  Next year we will begin to plant strawberries in between fruit trees in our orchard to utilize space and promote a polyculture environment.  The strawberries should do well in that mid-summer shade once the fruit trees begin to fill out. I learned this technique from my friend Susana, who operates a no-till permaculture farm in Berea,Ky.   She is an inspiring farmer who is dedicated to earth stewardship and good practices.  Our program is currently experimenting with permaculture principles on our site whenever possible.

New ‘Liberty’ Apple Trees at BDVP

‘Pristine’ apple trees  

Other recent garden projects have included pruning and mulching of our raspberry patch, planting  more spinach and radishes (watermelon variety) and some weeding in the healing garden.  It’s been so fun to play in the dirt again!

BDVP received some funding to plant a micro-forest!
In the coming weeks we will be preparing for a native tree planting on March 24th at our facility.  We received some money through Kentucky Utilities’ Plant for the Planet Program to plant a micro-forest at our shelter.  We will be working with a number of arborists, native plant specialists, and community volunteers to make this event happen.  Our micro-forest will consist of several native oaks (Bur, Swamp White, and Swamp Chestnut) along with Sycamore, Sweetgum, Blackgum, Hickory, Sumac, Flowering Dogwood and Redbud trees. We are also including some native fruit trees such as pawpaws, persimmons, serviceberries and elderberries!   Thanks so much to KU and a supportive community that helps us create fun, educational, service opportunities  that benefit our clients, our staff, our community , and our Earth!