For the last few years I’ve made brazen claims about holistic, organic gardening and orcharding. No pesticides. No way; no how.
I’ve refused to spray our fruit trees to inoculate them against all of the baddies that lurk in an orchard’s tender places. I’ve refuted the discouraging oracles who assure me that I will fail; that a successful orchard requires, requires, pesticides and fungicides; that neighboring fruit tree growers will consider my bad judgment not only an ill-informed mistake but a dangerous threat to their own trees.
I’ve soldiered on, resolved to make Rosslyn a toxin-free, organic, healthy environment. I’ve poured over alternative gardening, lawn maintenance and orcharding resources. And I’ve experimented. Sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully. The orchard alone has required about a 5-10% replant rate over the last 3+ years. Which is discouraging. And frustrating. But it’s also remarkable that most of the trees have survived and thrived!
But I am slightly evolving in my thinking. Less dogmatic. More informed. And my black and white “Pesticides: No Way, No How” line in the sand is yielding to alternative, non-toxic, but considerably more proactive approaches to fruit tree growing. (Much credit is due to Michael Phillips (Grow Organic Apples: Holistic Orchard Network) among other holistic orchard mentors. Thanks, Sir Phillips!)
Last summer I added three new “tools” to my orcharding, and I’m going to focus on each of the three in separate posts in order to keep the topics focused and useful to others exploring the realm of healthy, non-toxic fruit tree propagation. Here are the three:
- Tanglefoot: How to Use Tanglefoot
- Neem Oil
- Kaolin Clay