Ecological Orcharding with Michael Phillips
Monday, June 12, 2017 (All day) to Friday, June 16, 2017 (All day)
Berry and fruit production is of great value to many home gardeners, as well as small-scale and part-time market growers. This five day course presents a whole system-based approach for producing delicious, nutritionally dense fruits and berries. You will learn the tricks of cultivating a thriving, diverse orchard that is naturally resilient to pests and disease and has beneficial fungal dynamics. We will cover how to improve the biology of the orchard and soil to support optimal production, developing an understanding the mutual benefits of diverse orchard plantings, pollinators and beneficial insects, and soil fertility and microbiome. We will also learn to create natural sprays that boost plant immune response, explore the role of mycorrhizal fungi and teach techniques for managing and maintaining year-round orchards for optimal growth. Selecting varieties for climate, flavor, and marketability will be a focus, as will timing and methods of harvesting that capture sweet treats at their peak. Additionally, we will explore some of the value-added products made from the berries and fruits that thrive in Vermont, and ways of marketing those products.