Raising delicious organic fruit requires passion, dedication and patience. It is gratifying to see customers enjoying the flavors and yet very complicated to produce a quality piece of fruit. Since EcoFarm workshops barely scratch the surface of the many facets of orcharding, a whole day is being devoted to selected topics presented by some of the long-term experts in organic fruit growing in California.
We have decided to stick with the most commonly grown temperate orchard fruit for in-depth coverage: apples, pears, peaches, and plums. There is some relevance for other stone fruit as well. Participants will be assumed to have basic knowledge of organic farming and setting up orchards as our topics are designed for those with some experience, as well as those ready to dive right in.
The day will begin with a focus on tree nutrition and soil health. Next will be a variety showcase where our experts will discuss some of their favorite varieties with market potential for small scale growers, followed by audience members being invited to share some variety experience as well.
After lunch the some fine points of winter and summer pruning will be delved into, followed by organic options for holistic disease management in both stone and pome fruits. We will follow that with discussion of biodiversity and incorporating permaculture concepts into orchards and an ample time for questions and discussion with our expert presenters. We hope you can join us for some fruity inspiration and education!
- 8:45 am Welcome and introductions
8:45 - 10:15 am Plant Nutrition and Soil Health for Orchards - Gregg Young Certified Professional Agronomist, Ukiah, CA
The condition and fertility of soil in orchards has a strong influence on tree vigor and disease and pest susceptibility. Nutrient balance is key to healthy fruit trees.
10:15- 10:30 am Break
10:30 - 12:00 noon Variety Showcase
Experienced Orchardists share some top varieties for organic growers.
• Apples - Tim Bates, The Apple Farm, Philo, CA
• Pears - Terence Welch, Orchardscapes and Fruitilicious Farm, Santa Cruz, CA
• Peaches and plums - Todd Kennedy, Arboreum Company and Filoli orchard, San Francisco, CA
Note: Attendees are encouraged to speak about 2 or 3 favorite varieties if you wish.
12:00- 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00- 2:00 pm Pruning and Propagation topics, summer and winter -
Terence Welch, Orchardscapes and Fruitilicious Farm, Santa Cruz, CA;
John Valenzuela, Cornucopia Food Forest Gardens, Novato, CA.
2:00- 3:30 pm Holistic Organic Approaches to Diseases
• Apples & Pears - Bill Denevan, Viva Tierra Organic, Santa Cruz, CA
• Peaches & other stone fruit - Cindy Lashbrook, Four Seasons Ag Consulting, Livingston, CA.
3:30 - 3:45 pm Break
3:45 - 4:30 Ecosystem Connections for Orchards - John Valenzuela, Cornucopia Food Forest Gardens, Novato, CA.
The most successful orchard operations are crafted with broad ecological considerations in mind. Biodiversity at all levels from soil organisms to wildlife to plant species, and using permaculture principles to guide some orchard practices will be explored.
- 5:00 pm Wrap-up Discussion and Questions
Registration: $80* (Organic lunch included)