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The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way
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The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  379 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Many people want to grow fruit on a small scale but lack the insight to be successful orchardists. Growing tree fruits and berries is something virtually anyone with space and passionate desire can do - given wise guidance and a personal commitment to observe the teachings of the trees. A holistic grower knows that producing fruit is not about manipulating nature but more ...more
Paperback, 414 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company
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[I just finished the first 167 pages of the book - the rest is on specifics of diseases and varieties that I don't find relevant in my journey as an orcharder yet, and certainly not in bulk, all at once.]

I walked into Michael Phillips' talk at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference without much interest in orcharding. I knew we had one at school, but I'dn't been very interested in it. Phillips' talk didn't spur me to be interested in orcharding, but it did strike me as among the most wise and arti
Bossy Acres
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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, 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 t
Justin  K. Rivers
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It really is the best book you can get on the subject. When his book The Apple Grower came out a few years ago, it was a big deal. This is bigger, the culmination of a lot of that work.

Phillips' book is dense, packed with charts, photos, diagrams, information, and lots of detailed footnotes. His holistic orchard systems methodology can be applied to pretty much any growing scenario, and is geared toward a permanent, long-term system balance.

He spends most of his time on apples. They're one of
Amanda Mueller
May 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I found this book to be much more useful than The Apple Grower for my backyard orchard needs. Still, the layout of the book could use a major overhaul. There is a lot of good information in this book that is difficult to find. I shouldn't need to re-read the whole text when I need to reference a specific piece of information. But I find myself doing this often as I am going through the process of establishing a family-sized orchard this year. Information on planting trees, for example, is sprink ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book comes endorsed by Toby Hemenway, but is not as well written as Hemenway's "Gaia's Garden". It is dense and informative, but somewhat meandering in style and would have benefited from more structured editing.

I was sold on neem oil which is highly praised for many reasons throughout the book, and planned to buy some, but then discovered that it has been banned in the UK due to its harmful effect on bumble bees (I believe the study post-dates the book). See :
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Four years after starting, I made it through--but just barely. Phillips is a wealth of knowledge, but his writing is the worst: convoluted sentence structure bloated with strange combinations of vocabulary and peppered with inappropriately informal exclamations. This man desperately needed a good editor. Or maybe even ghostwriter.

As an example, here's a sentence he wrote:
"Curiously, feeding on Prunus species results in slug larvae having a different range of coloration that's more dark green in
Aleksandar Janković
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book that goes in depth about hollistic protection spraying, various diseases and insect pests. Lots of good info on pruning, growth habbits and cultivar selection.

It has a North American perspective, but most of the advice is easily applicable to other parts of the world as well. It definitely has more information than I am ready to put to use just now (my trees are less than a year in the ground), so maybe in future times I might be inclined to give it 5 stars.
Dan Ditzler
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book to get you started on the biological path of orchard management. So excited to put into action the four holistic sprays of spring! I really feel from reading the book a much better understanding of the life and processes of fruit trees but also their pests and diseases and how to deal with them without poisions and still get good quality fruit
So much good info here! a must have for any serious non synthetic fruit growers
Rod Endacott
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The only book about orchards I've ever seen or read that get's it . . . you must work with the mycorrhizal life. Period. Also, just plain delightful reading. Michael Phillips last words: "Growing healthy fruit is for thinking people who embrace being part of something slightly more than wonderful." :-) ...more
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Няма друга подобна книга, която да ви даде модерен, холистичен поглед върху една овощна градина, без значение дали говорим за 3 фиданки в задния двор или 20 дка смесено насаждение. Видеата му са задължителни, а след това гледайте и The Permaculture orchard.

ps: Пиша това ревю с около 4 години закъснение, защото бях спрял да отварям гуудрийдс.
Anthony Byars
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Easily explained concepts and instructions. Will be referring back to often.
John Brian Anderson
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening
Fantastic reference for the orchards. Full of great information if you live in the northeast. Blueprint for a second career, I think? Highly recommend if you grow fruit.
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Lots of good info poorly written and poorly organized
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best book on orgsanic orcharding out there.
Katherine Stevick
Sep 08, 2020 rated it liked it
More of handbook than a read cover-to-cover. Very persuasive, chatty, but I wanted more of the science behind it all, worried that bits felt a little woo-woo.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What I love most about the Holistic Orchard is Phillips' ability to breakdown the need for a new view on holistic, natural tree care at times using an open spiritual philosophy, incorporating the best of permaculture. His incredible knowledge is scientific, encyclopedic and his endnotes are often times hilarious. His essential view is that we apply a broken health care model towards our plants. If there is a pest on your crops, kill it, poison it. Philips instead focuses on creating a healthy ec ...more
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Holistic Orchard is a dense book --- I was very glad to read it slowly over the course of a couple of months rather than trying to take in all of the facts and ideas right away. But it's worth reading for anyone who wants to grow fruits without lots of chemicals. Understanding how the tree ecosystem works allows you to tweak your fertilizing, mulching, and pest-suppression campaigns to work with the tree rather than against it. Highly recommended as a book to buy and digest slowly. ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks
The information and quality of this book makes me wish I had bought it in hardback copy instead of just an ebook. I really feel like it gives me a beginner working on bringing back an abandoned orchard all the primer skills I need. I'm sure I will be referencing this year after year. The only thing that I struggled with is the third of the book isn't as clearly organized as later on. The author tries to stress the importance of "holistic" care. I think many wonderful points are made. It was just ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has more information than the beginner could possibly use, but it really gets you excited about getting started (if you're not already started). Also, Phillips has a good sense of humor throughout to keep the book engaging even when he's just listing out the numerous ways that all of your fruits can be killed off.

Highly recommended for anyone looking to grow or improve fruit trees and bushes. No treatment of nut trees here, but he does include berry bushes and brambles.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Growing tree fruit organically is harder than you might think, and in a nutshell, this book is about how to manage the total system and in particular the life in the soil to optimize plant health and resilience of the whole system. Michael Phillips is well-respected in his field and an expert on organic orcharding in northern climates.
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: garden
To expand our home food supply we added fruit trees two years ago. We wanted to develop a care routine that would have the least impact on wild life, specifically bees. Phillips outlines a plan that is manageable and conscientious while making you laugh out loud. He blends permaculture and biodynamic principles to grow fruit you actually want to eat.
Rorie Kirk
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is actually an encyclopedia! I'll confess I didn't read the entire thing, I skimmed through to the parts that pertain to my current fruit-scape situation, but I am very impressed with this book. Every subject is covered thoroughly and written in a way to make this an easier read and enjoyable with the author's bits of humor. ...more
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ag-food
It took a while, or it seemed like it did, but I finally finished, skimming a reasonable amount of the specific fruit sections. The beginning and end of the book may end up being the most useful to me, especially the orchard to-do list. I wish there were more tables and figures included.
Zach Frey
Jul 12, 2012 marked it as to-read
This is the book I want when I have a place to plant fruit trees and tend them for a few decades. I'm halfway through it, and reluctantly sending it back to the library until I have either more free time or more land. ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Great resource. The book really shines when it comes to fruit trees, and I thought it was a little thin in the berry section.
Christopher C. Fuchs
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Awesome. Really changes your whole philosophy on how to start and maintain an orchard.
Elise Lauterbach
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Essential for anyone raising organic produce. Brilliant!
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-library, farming
Xmas gift from Robin. Excellent!
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting book but much too involved to get completed in a subdivision. Be nice if I lived on a farm where all the things I need are close by. Need something simpler.
Robin Hyman
rated it it was amazing
Jan 18, 2015
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