The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

The Holistic Orchard

The Holistic OrchardToday, I'll take a brief break from our forest gardening lunchtime series to plug our upcoming book club.  We'll start discussing the first chapter of The Holistic Orchard during our regular Wednesday lunch post next week, so I thought I'd try to drum up interest by singing the praises of the author and book.

Michael Phillips is one of the few gardening authors I've read who combines decades of hands-on experience with a thorough understanding of ecology and permaculture from the scientific and popular literature.  His first book, The Apple Grower, is so good that I'm starting to feel the need to re-read it --- I felt like many parts of the book went over my head on the first perusal and would help me now that I've moved from being a beginner to an intermediate fruit-grower.  For comparison's sake, the only other gardening authors I've wanted to reread lately are Paul Stamets and Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier.

I've only flipped through The Holistic Orchard and read about ten pages so far, but I can already tell that this second book is going to be as good as, if not better than, Phillips' first.  And it also feels like a dense (but readable) book that could benefit from being bounced around a group.  If you have any interest in growing fruit trees or bushes, I highly recommend you join the club in October and read along --- chances are The Holistic Orchard will open your eyes to a whole permaculture world you didn't even know existed.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Just saw Michael Phillips speaking at the Common Ground Fair, in Maine, this past weekend. He was very, very good.
Comment by Anonymous Wed Sep 26 18:39:27 2012
Anonymous --- I'm jealous! I hold him up there with Harvey Ussery and the like --- extremely knowledgeable in his field!
Comment by anna Wed Sep 26 18:50:42 2012

Thats so wild! Today I made a 5 hour round trip to a nursery that sells heirloom fruit trees, to buy my first apple trees. Guess what book the owner brought out and recommended for me to read? Small world, I guess! I couldn't purchase it today, but have it on my wish list. This nursery practices what Phillips writes about. Knowing that my apples have been grown in harmony with nature, plus the fact that they are grown at the same high elevation as my house (8000 feet) makes me feel very happy about my little trees. I can wait to plant them tomorrow!

Comment by Deb Wed Sep 26 20:10:59 2012
Deb --- I've been amazed at the different in growth I've seen between the trees I got at online nurseries versus at two local nurseries where the orchardists graft varieties and rootstocks that do well in our area. I'll bet yours will thrive! What varieties did you buy?
Comment by anna Thu Sep 27 08:32:48 2012

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