Skip to main content

The Holistic Orchard: My Review at Permaculture Magazine

Perry pears at Oliver's Cider
A bit like Sally Jean Cunningham's Great Garden Companions and Emma Cooper's Alternative Kitchen Garden, I found Michael Phillips' latest book, The Holistic Orchard, to be an intriguing read. My time farming and gardening still seems short in comparison to so many others I meet, but as the seasons roll by I find myself thinking more often that not, "There has to be more to this than what I see here."

Phillips' book, like the other two mentioned above, works on filling in the details I crave while giving me sound advice and instruction on how to work in partnership with those forces to grow good fruit. With the exception of a potted blueberry, I don't grow fruit, but I still found plenty of good information there to apply to my vegetables. Take a look at my review over at Permaculture Magazine to get more of my thoughts on the book, and then pick up a copy. (And consider subscribing to Permaculture Magazine, too. Great stuff there!) Orchard or no orchard, you won't regret it.

Photo Note: Taken during our trip last September to England. We took a day to help pick perry pears at Oliver's Cider after meeting them at the Ludlow Food Festival. What a glorious day it was to be out in real autumn again with friends new and old with a sip or two of perry at the end. 


Anjuli said…
what a great review of this book. I'll recommend it to my more 'green thumbed' friends and family- I TRY...but have gone through plants one after the other...the only thing that I seem to be able to do well with are orchids- not sure why that is- they appear to have a life of their own.
Many thanks, Anjuli! It's a great book that effectively presents WHY natural and organic techniques work so well. I loved it!

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro