Master Gardener Orchard Project shows what can be done

Submitted photo
Roger Lawrence. Submitted photo

By Roger Lawrence

The Maricopa Master Gardeners broke ground Sept. 18, 2018, on a new demonstration and teaching orchard to be planted in front of the administration office at the University of Arizona Maricopa Agriculture Center at the end of Smith-Enke Road.

Installation of the irrigation system began Oct. 27 of that year and was completed about 10 days later with pipe, irrigation box, valves, timer and miscellaneous supplies.

The gardeners planted:

  • Lisbon lemon
  • Cara Cara orange
  • key lime
  • finger lime
  • tangerine
  • kumquat

In March 2019, additional trees were planted, including:

  • Apple
  • Peach
  • Plum
  • Nectarine
  • Fig

Several more – another fig, a peach and a grapevine – were added in spring of 2020. For the past two years we have enjoyed seeing those trees grow.

Several pallets of bark mulch were spread to help with weed control. A split rail fence now surrounds the citrus trees and provides an entrance to the orchard. A recent donation of pavers is awaiting the creative touch of some artistic minds. And a grape arbor and picnic tables are in the planning stages.

We have had many Master Gardeners who volunteered for this project, including Ron Bernier, Wende Gehrt, Julie Olson, Scott Oliver, Trudy Fuller, Jean Sacramento, Barb Christianson and Rita Bricker. A big thanks to all of you who pitched in to make the orchard a success.

All these trees take about 3-5 years for production, and we are all looking forward to harvesting some beautiful fruits.

Roger Lawrence is a master gardener and Maricopa resident.

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This column appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

Submitted photo