So instead of getting straight into the orchard we thought we'd wear our bodies out a bit first by slogging away at the gravel on the roads to avoid them deteriorating more. Nothing like hacking away at solidified road metal and scraping away at stony gutters - so good for the abs.
After a couple of hours on the road we were due for a lighter job so we thought we might go into the orchard and slog away at some of the blackberry growth and try to pull it out by the roots. This is so not the permaculture way of doing things. A goat or a couple of pigs and a couple of months would be how they would deal with our blackberry issue. however - i am keen to fast forward the tape on food production and goats and livestock are out for now as long as we aren't living here full time. So we made lovely little piles of blackberry focusing around the trees first then working our way out.
The plant which has made a star appearance in the newly planted orchard was sorrel. i didn't think we had much of it but now i think that it is going to be quite a challenge to control (especially in the vege garden) as it is quite happy poking its way up through significant layers of mulch, and has lots of roots in the soil which it can resprout from when it is cut off. And i'm not sure any animals like eating it either - except perhaps people.
last year in spring when i was weeding i direct seeded a range of plants where there were holes left. i also planted seeds in the unused fruit tree holes. Hey presto - we have pumpkins which grew on natural rainfall without any additional watering. We also had a couple of Zinnias and sunflowers and red clover making an appearance.
Once enough of the weeds were cleared away it was time to put the berry vines on a trellis. Not knowing any better we used two strands of wire with a couple of support poles. i think i have seen something like that while "u-picking" raspberries.