Monday, March 30, 2015

The Holistic Orchard, A Review

The Man: Michael Phillips

A few weeks back I was looking for information on plant propagation from cuttings, as well as grafting.  I checked out a lot of books and some videos, including this one.  At over 5 hrs long, it's not what I would call a fun flick to watch with your significant other, unless they happen to share your interest.  This is 5 hours packed full of "push play, push rewind" until you can write it all down.  This is packed full of great information and easily on the level of the college classes I took when I was getting my engineering degree.  Oh, one last thing before I get into it... grab a pen and paper before you push play... you'll need it!

Here's the trailer for the dvd...

I had a hard time finding the DVD set on the internet, but eventually ended up finding the book/dvd bundle on Amazon here and the book alone available here.  I can't comment on the book, but continue reading to learn more about the DVD.

While I'm working from memory, the education begins with comprehensive explanation about the process and a demonstration of bench grafting (grafting branches onto root stock to form new trees).  It then moves on to planting the tree, pruning, training, spraying, dealing with insects, thinning, picking and a discussion on various varieties of apples scattered throughout.  So how do you get 5 hours plus from all that?  Yea, I'm not sure... but I never really felt the need to skip over anything.

One of the things I thought was great about this was it covered everything I wondered about how to do with my home garden, and so much more!  Before I watched this people would tell me about how horrible the bugs were and how all I would grow is nasty bug infested fruit... and some say I can be pessimistic!  Well now I have answers those people, and they don't include the use of some really nasty chemicals! 

Some of you might know that I worked landscaping through college,  With that I spent a lot of time spraying various chemicals to treat what most people would call weeds, which I now love to have around to provide a healthier habitat for the pollinators and other critters that make the world work.  Getting back to the chemicals... have you ever read the caution labels on the chemicals you get at the store?  I don't think those things are good for me and if you read the label, you should come to the same conclusion.  If you think they are fine, that's okay... I would, however, challenge you to drink some.  Here's a quick demonstration for kick's and giggles...

Okay, back on topic...

There are a lot of different ways you can help your trees be successful, and a lot of things that are required to make them successful too.  Adding the right soil amendments, ensuring adequate pollination, insect traps, pruning (think about the future!) and training, thinning out the fruit so the tree can grow bigger healthier fruit, support plants (dandelions and comfrey), disease prevention... growing an orchard is a lot of work if you're going to make money at it! 

Well I apologize for the ranting and rabbit trails.  Hopefully what you got from this is the recognition that you might be missing a few things in your attempts to grow healthy apple trees and the motivation to do something about it.  If you check out the reviews om Amazon, you'll find out they have a lot of good things to say about this dvd too!  I can't say enough...

This one might have to make itself a new home in my library at home!

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