We discover the Verger Bord du Lac a little by chance during our visit to the neighbouring Project PACE who places its mobile chicken enclosure in his orchard. A complementary relationship that benefits both the chickens for the shade and the food at the trees’ feet (fallen fruits but also numerous insects that are present in this very alive soil) and the trees that get cleared of potentially growing pest populations.
Olivier welcomes us and his enthusiasm is extremely communicative. As we don’t know much about how to take care of fruit trees, we ask a few questions and quickly realize that he is both an excellent teacher and a very knowledgeable person.
Since 2012, Olivier set up the saplings nursery and is transforming it into a fruit producing orchard. He still sells trees but also is ramping up his fruit producing activity and organizes regularly training sessions on fruit trees care, grafting and a bunch of others things you need to know to maintain an orchard.
In his 2 acres orchard, there is an impressive variety of fruit trees, a lot of various plants also planted that contribute to the place’s biodiversity and footpaths which are filled with rameal chipped wood (RCW) in order to provide the soil with a durable and rich food source while protecting it from erosion. There are about 100 trees in the nursery’s inventory and perhaps 450 trees in production. The RCW was spread as a 15 inches layer in 2012 and is now 1,5 inches thick in 2019.
When Olivier took over this place, he noticed that the soil was very heavy and clay-rich. He therefore chose to improve it by bringing more organic matter which also used to weed and maintain the weeds thereafter under control. Still today mulching continues with RCW and lawn mowed grass. He also applies some horse manure to some fruit trees such as cherry trees according to their needs. Plants such as comfrey are planted everywhere in the orchard and are either chopped and dropped to enrich the soil or used as liquid preparations for the trees care.
In a blink of an eye, Oliver explains us how to graft a tree and the key elements so that it goes well, it is fascinating !
VIDEOS MADE ON-SITE: Soon to be published video on fruit tree grafting