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The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way Paperback – January 10, 2012


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The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way + The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist + The Fruit Gardener's Bible: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruits and Nuts in the Home Garden
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392134
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Publishers Weekly-
The author of the classic guide for small-scale fruit cultivation, The Apple Grower, returns to the orchard. Phillips, who grows apples and herbs in New Hampshire, concedes early on that growing fruit that is both attractive and delicious is more challenging than cultivating vegetables and herbs. What distinguishes this book from other organic guides is the author's ecological approach. He argues that orchard success begins with a deep understanding of soil health and forest-edge ecology. The chemistry lessons may challenge many, but he translates most of the science basics into practical routines that any gardener could use. Straightforward information on selecting trees and horticultural basics such as pruning and pest management follows. For those who intend to invest significant time and resources into growing fruit, this is a comprehensive guide to managing a healthy and bountiful orchard. Color photographs and illustrations throughout.



"Rooted in the author's many years of organic orcharding experience, this book blends ideas from soil science, holistic health, permaculture, and traditional fruit growing into a powerful new approach to orchard design and care. Phillips' first-hand knowledge anchors this innovative and highly readable book in practical wisdom that both beginner and long-time fruit growers will find invaluable."--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture



"Michael Phillips' Holistic Orchard is a seminal work, to be compared with Sir Albert Howard and J.I. Rodale's classic books on soil and organic gardening. This is deep horticulture at its best, showing just how and what we must do to orchard sustainably and ecologically."--Bill MacKentley, St. Lawrence Nurseries



"The words 'holistic' and 'comprehensive' barely do honor to Michael Phillips' scope in The Holistic Orchard. The author has woven multiple strands of orchard knowledge -- based on his expansive vision and a lifetime of experience, together with the wisdom of researchers and fellow fruit growers -- into a brilliant web that captures the wonderful complexity of the orchard ecosystem. A sparkling joy to behold!"--Guy Ames, orchardist and tree fruit specialist with ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service



"The Holistic Orchard is a stimulating account of fruit production from a biological rather than chemical approach. Phillips' orchard philosophy- learned from keen observation and reflection- will fall and clobber you like a giant Newtonian apple; then, your walk through the orchard will never be the same. Digesting this book is like tasting a delectable new apple variety for the first time."--Tom Burford, Orchard Consultant, Author, Apple Historian



"For decades experts have insisted that organic orcharding is an impossibility. Michael Phillips has led the effort to show that the truly sustainable, organic orchard is something we all can have. His example has been an inspiration. His tireless research has provided a road map to creating our own holistic orchards."--John Bunker, apple historian and author, Not Far from the Tree



"Michael Phillips does it again! His ability to understand and explain the parts, interactions and emergent properties of orchard systems is unparalleled. The Holistic Orchard integrates fundamental biology with the practical realities of ecologically sound management. The book describes the trek from healthy soil to healthy people, with great fruit all along the way. This is done in a way that can only be achieved by a highly experienced orchardist-practitioner-author-philosopher."--George W. Bird, Professor of Nematology, Michigan State University



"A new way of thinking is called for given the failure of chemicals to solve problems and feed the world. Mixing up dozens of organic thoughts, Michael Phillips ushers us into the 21st century and virtually creates a new language so we can really understand what is happening in our orchards. Shake off those 20th century blues and let's move on with The Holistic Orchard as a guiding light."--Tim Bates, biodynamic orchardist, The Apple Farm, Philo, California



ForeWord Reviews-
Despite a wealth of information available about grafting, soil health, tree planting, and pruning, there’s one major area of orchard management that’s tough for any beginner to learn: confidence.  That’s where Michael Phillips comes in. As a farmer in northern New Hampshire, and author of The Apple Grower, he provides gentle-but-sure advice on holistic orchards in a way that’s encouraging and valuable.  Beginning with a fascinating explanation of forest-edge ecology—which defines where fruit trees thrive best—Phillips moves into topics like fungal dominance, haphazard mulching, pulsing agents, and more. For those moving to the next level of orchard management, Phillips delves into the specifics of three major categories of fruits: pome, which includes apples and pears; stone, which encompasses cherry, peach, plum, and apricot; and woody berries, including blackberry, currant, gooseberry, and raspberry. Throughout, Phillips adopts a genial tone that blends farmer-next-door friendliness with a more academic approach. The mix works, giving the scientific descriptions more weight while keeping the material accessible.  In general, the sheer breadth of information presented can seem overwhelming, particularly for a beginner, but it’s likely that those who are interested in getting started in holistic orchard practices will appreciate having such a thorough reference guide.



Booklist-
With the rising popularity of farmers’ markets and ever-increasing availability of organic foods in mainstream grocery stores, more and more gardeners are catching the urge to go pesticide-free. For fruit lovers wanting to tend an orchard on a small scale, Phillips, author of the gardening best-seller The Apple Grower (2005), offers a wealth of tips and tricks here on growing berries and tree fruits without resorting to toxic sprays. Eight information-packed chapters cover such basics as orchard design, seeding and growing schedules, and soil varieties, all using natural methods of cooperating with nature to resist attacks by garden pests and plant diseases. Phillips also provides an exhaustive directory of fruit varieties, from pome fruits, such as apples and pears, to stone fruits, such as cherries and nectarines. Although the guide is aimed primarily at home growers with a little yard space and a yen for organic produce, professional orchard managers can certainly benefit and will hopefully be prompted to shy away from pesticides as well.



Choice-
The Holistic Orchard
is a breath of fresh air in a genre too often characterized by occult mysticism and/or an air of moral superiority. Phillips (The Apple Grower, 2005), a farmer/orchardist with many years of experience, is a pragmatist, not a polemicist; he successfully covers topics ranging from plant biology and ecology to the realities and economics of niche markets. The author presents a challenge to backyard fruit growers and community orchardists to produce healthy, quality fruits organically. Phillips begins by discussing the soil and finishes with marketing his fruit at the production site. The text reflects his infectious enthusiasm, his deep understanding of the positive and negative impacts of natural organisms on his trees, and his commitment to hard work and critical thinking. The author addresses the challenges of dealing with disease and insect and animal pests along with the need to accommodate trees' annual needs for nutrients; he uses approaches that seek to promote within orchards a diversity of beneficial organisms as well as methods that promote the plant's immunological response via phytoalexins. This book is richly photographed and contains well-placed sidebars with pertinent information. It was a delight to read. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All undergraduate students, general readers, and professionals/practitioners.

About the Author

Michael Phillips is a farmer, writer, carpenter, orchard consultant, and speaker who lives with his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Grace, on Heartsong Farm in northern new Hampshire, where they grow apples and a variety of medicinal herbs. Michael authored The Apple Grower and teamed up with Nancy to write The Herbalist's Way. His Lost Nation Orchard is part of a diversified mountain farm in northern New Hampshire, and he also leads the community orchard movement at www.GrowOrganicApples.com.


More About the Author

Michael Phillips is known across the country for helping people grow healthy apples. His "community orchard movement" can be found at www.GrowOrganicApples.com and provides full immersion into the holistic approach to orcharding. His Lost Nation Orchard is part of a diversified medicinal herb farm in northern New Hampshire (see www.HerbsAndApples.com ). Michael was honored by Slow Food USA to receive the first Betsy Lydon Ark Award in 2005 for his work promoting healthy ways to grow fruit.


Related Media


Customer Reviews

Good images and drawings.
sonoma
This book is very well organized, easy to read and full of great information.
Crowellc
This is the BEST book on holistic orcharding out there.
Lynetta Anne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Applenut on January 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Southern California is three thousand miles and six climate zones from Northern New Hampshire, but I found Michael's book more relevant to growing apples in my area than all the garden books I've seen written for Southern California. He explains the mechanics of what constitutes soil heath and plant vigor and how to build it. Of course the particulars and strategy will vary from region to region, but to quote Liberty Hyde Baily, "If a grower knows why, he or she will teach themselves how".

As such it is relevant to growers outside of New England, even to my apple growing friends in Equatorial Africa, as many of the spray mixes and culture methods are available there; this is opposed to the latest pesticides which are expensive and hard to get for them. The book has the best section on pruning I've ever seen; especially how to train shoots into fruiting buds, and also how to invigorate an old tree.

He reviews the whole orchard operation, from tools and ladders to picking bags and fruit storage. I would have never figured out how to get neem oil to spray otherwise and would have ended up with a real mess. The photographs and illustrations are excellent, many taken at his beautiful farm.

He presents a myriad of operations and sprays for pest and disease control, and thankfully summarizes them with a calendar to help organize your year. The review of fruit culture for other stonefruits and berries is also helpful, using many of the methods utilized in the apple orchard.

Commercial growers may sniff at it and grumble that these methods will never produce marketable fruit on an efficient, competitive scale to stave off foreign imports. On the other hand home and small specialty orchards may be wondering if there's any way to get apples besides spraying with expensive and potentially harmful chemicals 12 to 20 times a year. This book presents a way to do it in a much gentler fashion and is a fascinating read.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Patricia R. Guild on March 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
The best fruit growing book that I have EVER read. Even though I have a degree in Botany with a minor in Horticulture, I still learned much more from reading this book. It is also very accessible, interesting, and well organized.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Lynetta Anne on May 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I could give this book 10 stars, I would.

This is the BEST book on holistic orcharding out there. While it's accessible, Phillips isn't afraid to get down in the dirt and go for technical biological details. A huge amount of information, but this didn't leave me wondering where to begin- he takes care of that by stepping you through the timeline and process. As soon as I'd finished reading, I started over and read it again. We all have areas that are more difficult for us than others, and some chapters will require me to study them carefully before I master the detail. I know I'll be referring to it frequently, and as my knowledge and understanding builds, I'm certain that I'll continue to gain insights from it through the years to come. This book has heft and value!

Apples are listed as one of the dirtiest conventionally produced crops. When I started researching how to care for fruit trees it was a tough slog. I respect organic farmers deeply, but for many the basic bias is the same as conventional ag, just using less toxic chemicals. The problem is that if it were as simple as substituting less toxic chemicals EVERYONE would be doing it - no farmer really wants that crap around his home and family. Spraying isn't only a chore, but a hated one. When you need to wear protective clothing it's hard to feel good about you're doing, instead it encourages a war zone mentality. We war against insects, we war against disease.

After studying organic, permaculture and biodynamic farming for 5 years, I finally stumbled across Elaine Ingham's work on soil microbiology, and became convinced that the key is maximizing the health of the biological critters in the soil, and finding ways to support them correctly so that they can support my apple trees.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By E. Evans on February 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the book I have been looking for! I have been trying to find a book about growing fruit organically for years, but I've never been able to find just what I was looking for. I needed someone to break it all down in terms a novice can understand, explain the hows and whys, and give explicit advice. This book achieves all that plus it is entertaining to read. Incredibly inspirational AND doable. Thanks, Michael!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Donny T on February 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a great book on orchard fruit and using natural ways to enhance and support a system of plants that builds diversity. It has in depth information on all phases of tree establishment and care and takes an approach that holds nature as the teacher of good practices, providing experience and evidence of the short sighted approach of industrial agriculture. If you need a book to get you started or a reference for permaculture and biodiversity in the orchard, this is the book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By sonoma on February 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
Came to this tome from "The Apple Grower". Which i found very good. Also find this book a Five Star. It is informative, education, resourceful. Good images and drawings. Appreciate artful drawings in this age of electronics. The sidebars are good and "fun" additions for me. Book travels with me from bed side to orchard. Appreciate the organic solutions to problems.
Regards and good gardening.
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