Sometimes everything just seems to go right. This last weekend was one of those.
We finally had a planting location where we could use the ripper. This is my big project for this year – a big windbreak on Adnamira which will connect a gully with the existing ridgetop windbreak.
Last year we had a similar project, but it was rocky and steep, and each hole for each tree had to be dug by hand. Also it took a lot more trees than I’d estimated. This year I tried not to be caught out that way, so I’d estimated we needed 850-900 trees for the windbreak.
The weekend before, on a freezing cold, windy day, Craig drove over the Bobkitten with its wonderful ripping attachment designed and hand-built by James, the Bobcat Master and created row after row of rip lines in the soft, non-rocky soil. We did our best to work out where the contours ran on the tilting land. Craig ripped each row three times just to make sure they were wide and deep enough, and easy to convert into planting holes.
We also placed caches of covers and stakes every 150 metres, which was how far I estimated we’d get each day of planting – I was estimating 5 planting days at least, plus maybe some followup in the spring.
During the week I picked up plants and had a heap of mulch delivered. On Saturday the crew of Matt, Sam, Imi and Dan arrived and helped label each plant, as did Mum (“At last, something I can help with!” she said). I’ve been labelling for the last couple of years mainly to help me know who the victim is when a tree or shrub dies. Also, it’s helpful to have them marked when the different species are shuffled around, as especially the eucalypts and wattles can all look very alike.
The planting itself went like clockwork. There was something very soothing about working your way from row to row, especially since the soft ripped holes could be easily shaped up with a trowel. By the afternoon, we’d planted 160 and reached the 200 metre point that I thought could take us all weekend.
The next day we went into a rocky area, needing about 80 hand-dug holes.
In comparison to the rip lines it was slower, but nothing like as steep and awkward as last year’s Esdale windbreak. I now know why most people don’t like planting in the difficult, rocky places.
But with Sunday’s extra crew of Jessie, and the two James, we not only got in 210 more (making a total of 370), but all of them were properly watered and mulched. Last year we had to wait months before we could bring the mulch in. Without it I would have been concerned about the dryness of the soil and the heavy frosts.
Even better, I’m hoping to finish the whole plantation next week (about 250 plants), with the help of an even bigger crew. (!!!)
The only thing is, I’ll have to explain to Lisa at Murrumbateman Landcare, why I don’t need 300 extra plants after all. Oops.