Developing a healthy and viable orchard

Syed Tajdar Hussain

The riverine valleys of Gilgit Baltistan along the rugged mountainous slopes are rich in soil texture with clay on the top; sandy and gravel beneath, this type of landscape has positive impact on the health of endemic fruit trees. The air, water and nutrients are also important components that have tremendous effects on the health of trees in a garden. The next step to develop an orchard is levelling of land and selection of a few types of endemic fruit plants and native flowers for sowing around the boarders of the orchard. This will provide not only food staple but also a shelter and cover to maintain healthy natural ecosystem. Levelling of orchard can reduce hard labour for watering the trees. It is always necessary to select plant species according to the landscape of the area, if the garden is in a dry place then preference should be to select those plants which love to grow in barren lands. In  a moist place where there is plenty of water supply remember to choose water loving species.

Today most people have little space and time to care for growing fruit trees in their small orchards. Corporate cultures in a small garden which can  grow a variety of trees that ripen in different times are better to be planted as compared to single fruit tree species in a garden. Most of the people are used to growing their gardens with commercial point of view and using their own methods but not able to get an abundant yield from their backyard. The homeowners who have small space in their gardens can get much more yield if properly managed. Some one who is able to cultivate a variety of fruit trees in his small garden can maximize the length of the fruit season. The most appropriate technique for growing two different fruit plants in a single hole, known as close plantation technique, help in better cross pollination in home grower. This technique is suitable for deciduous fruit trees varieties which are sweet and tasty i.e. pears, apples, cherries and grapes for consistent production. One thing should be clear that pruning of deciduous fruit trees stimulate new fruits and remove diseased wood, so pruning after two to tree years or on the need basis should be undertaken necessarily.

Some precautionary measures in selection of trees is to give preference to  endemic plants are much better adapted to grow than exotic plants because of the latter’s negative impact on the environment by producing chemicals that have allopathic effects on native plants and ecosystems. The local species are more beneficial than the exotics and help to restore the natural habitat through providing food source to rare wildlife species Native plants are well adapted to the harsh climate conditions of the area and flourish with less use of fertilizers or even without the use of fertilizers. Some native species prefer to live in less water supply and need no effort in pest control. The ornamental plants growing along the corners of orchards in Gilgit Baltistan are very important because of wildlife dependence for food and shelter. These wildlife act as pollen transportation from one flower to another flower for reproduction.

Elimination of chemical practices is essential to maintain quality of edible fruits; the world is now favouring organic growing of edible plants for superior quality and condemns using the inorganic material  to ensure the safe healthy and nutritional values of the fruits and maintenance of the sustainability  of soil quality.

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  1. I appreciate this article by the writer and would request our young professionals to come up with write-ups and articles on subjects of public interest.

    As the technological and intellectual development of the society unfolds, it is necessary to replace and modifying the outdated and inefficient ways of farming combining the modern knowledge and techniques acquired by our youth with the traditional knowledge and intellect.

    It is more important that the emphasis must be on the organic material for farming and the use of chemicals should be stopped as these are not good for the health of the users of the farm products as well as the farmers who are ignorant about the harmfulness of chemicals. It is seen that no protective measures are taken to handle Urea and pesticides by our farmers which results in serious health related complications.

    I would like our young professionals to share their knowledge and learnings for the benefit of our society using the internet, print and electronic media for our farmers to use their small farms and orchards to grow quality products for a better living.

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