Saturday, July 18, 2009

All About Fruit Trees Workshop

Today's workshop was so inspiring! Entitled "all about fruit trees" we really did cover a huge range of information about fruit (and nut) trees - including:
* planting (e.g. from seed, from bareroot, from root-burlap ball, from container, from graft, from rooting it ourselves, from cuttings);
* pruning (e.g. when, where, how, what tools to use, how to shape the tree - for example stone fruits like cherries or peach need a more open centre, whereas apple or pear trees have a central leading main branch);
* where to plant; when to plant;
* how to prepare the soil (e.g. adding good compost, planting a cover crop like clover the year before and tilling that in, adding rock dust or just covering the soil around the roots with rocks);
*organic pest & fungal control (e.g. planting lavender under the tree, spraying neem oil under the tree upto the drip line, or spraying the entire tree with kaolin clay).

I think what I was most excited about was the diversity of fruit trees that are possible in our zone - and the encouragement we were given to just experiment, even if it means growing indoors in pots or taking them in for the winter. With patience and care, we can grow many varieties of apricots, peaches, pears, asian pears, quince, apples, crab apples, fig, plum, cherry, also (indoors) persimmon, pomegranate, possibly citrus, many kinds of berries, and also chestnuts, hazelnuts, heartnuts, walnuts. Our facilitator had even grown enough tiny pineapple guava seedling for each participant to take one home. She stressed the importance of healthy soil over the quality of tree, and also emphasized finding hardy varieties for our zone. Resources she mentioned for finding heirloom varieties included Green Barn Farm in Quebec (, The 2009 Ethnobotanical Catalog of Seeds (, and Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa (also Seeds of Diversity in Canada). I'm ready to go start some more fruit trees!

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