Our fruit trees did really well this first year, and I found that I really like the apples and peaches of two of the varieties I planted last year, so it is time to expand the orchard. Fall is the best time to be planting fruit trees here as the soil is still warm and the trees will have time to send out roots before it freezes. If you plant in the spring, the trees have to manage cool soil, little natural moisture, and spring heat.
I must say that without our small John Deere and Dave's backhoe, this would be a huge job, requiring a couple of weeks' work for both of us, as well as a bottle of Advil. With the right tools it's still work, but certainly manageable. Dan dug the holes, 5'x5'x5', hauled composted horse manure, mixed the soil and manure with the backhoe, while I raked out the watering basins and shoveled the extra dirt into the tractor bucket and took it to our pond wall. Of course we had another near miss (it's usually a hit) with our underground power and water line from the house to shop/shed, but Dan managed to stop digging just in time.
We ran out of gas, literally and figuratively, about 11:30, but we are almost done. The last hole, the sixth, needs to be filled with manure, the basin shaped and the dirt hauled off. Then it will be off to Tucson to buy 2 more apples, 2 more peaches, an additional apricot and a plum. Planting them will be in cinch.