Organic Orcharding Classes

A series of workshops, covering theory and hands-on practice in organic fruit tree and orchard management.

Designed for beginner to intermediate orchardists managing backyard plantings to larger orchards.

Pruning Apple Trees – March 7, March 14

Bringing Back an Old Orchard – March 15, March 21

Bench Grafting Fruit Trees – April 4, April 11

Organic Orcharding 101 with Michael Phillips – April 19

Top Working Fruit Trees – May 16, May 17

Pests and Diseases in the Summer Orchard – June 14

Growing Nursery Stock and Bud Grafting – August 1cancelled

Pruning Apple Trees

Saturday, March 7, 2020
• Bar Harbor – College of the Atlantic
• Palmyra – Eureka Farm
• Saco – The Ecology School
• Unity
Saturday, March 14, 2020
• Patten – Elliotsville, Inc.

Learn to prune fruit trees to encourage vigorous growth, annual fruit set and quality fruit yield. Collection of scion wood and storage will also be discussed.  Participants should bring any pruning tools they may have. Saws and loppers in particular are helpful. Bar Harbor and Patten workshops led by MOFGA’s Orchard Educator C.J. Walke. Palmyra workshop led by Sean Murphy of Murphy Family Farm. Unity workshop led by MOFGA’s Orchard Coordinator, Laura Sieger. Saco workshop led by Edgar Evenkeel.

Bringing Back an Old Orchard

Sunday, March 15, 2020
• Dixmont – Cloudy Mountain Farm
• Damariscotta – CRCT Denny Education Center

Saturday, March 21, 2020
• Bar Harbor – College of the Atlantic

Instructors will employ various methods to demonstrate proper pruning of trees that have been unmanaged. This class differs from our pruning classes in that the trees we will be working with are older and have not been pruned in a long time.

Bench Grafting Fruit Trees

Saturday, April 4
• Saco – The Ecology School
• Unity – MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center

Sat., April 11
• Bar Harbor – College of the Atlantic

Learn to propagate and reproduce your favorite fruit tree varieties. Instructors will explain why to graft and will demonstrate the techniques for whip & tongue grafting. Participants will graft trees to take home and plant. Care for the new trees will also be discussed. Fee includes all supplies including rootstock, scionwood and handouts. Saco location led by Matt Kaminsky. Unity workshop led by Jen Ries and MOFGA’s Orchard Coordinator, Laura Sieger. Bar Harbor workshop led by C.J. Walke, MOFGA’s orchard educator.

Please bring a bag lunch. You will need to purchase a grafting knife in advance of this event! Any old knife will NOT do; but we will have several grafting knives to lend to those without. (Please email [email protected] if you would like to borrow a knife.) This is the correct type of knife to use for grafting:

Organic Orcharding 101 with Michael Phillips

Sunday, April 19, 2020
Saco – The Ecology School

Michael Phillips, author of “The Apple Grower,” will provide a comprehensive exploration of orchard health strategies that make disease and insect challenges doable for the organic grower. Michael is renowned for helping people grow healthy fruit using herbal protocols and his approach is premised on the fact that growing healthy fruit begins with understanding biological core truths. These in turn determine how we go about stewarding the orchard ecosystem through the growing season. In this workshop he will discuss how challenges you face in your locale will become far more manageable as you build a holistic system that keeps trees and berry plantings healthy from the get-go.

Michael’s latest book is called “Mycorrhizal Planet: How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils,” and the community orchard movement he helped to found at provides a full immersion into the holistic approach to orcharding. His Lost Nation Orchard is part of a medicinal herb farm in northern New Hampshire.

Top Working Fruit Trees

Saturday, May 16, 2020
Unity – MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Whitefield – Sheepscot General

Learn to topwork new, disease-resistant, cider, dessert or heritage varieties onto your existing trees. In this workshop you will see how a professional topgrafts and will be able to try it on your own. Unity workshop will be led by Laura Sieger, MOFGA’s Orchard Coordinator. Whitefield workshop will be led by Jacob Mentlik of After the Fall Farm in Montville and Fedco. This workshop will be hands-on, outdoors; please dress appropriately.

Pests and Diseases in the Summer Orchard

Sunday, June 14, 2020
Saco – The Ecology School

Learn about caring for your orchard through the summer and getting your orchard to a successful harvest in the fall. Instructed by C.J. Walke, MOFGA’s Orchard Educator. Please remember to bring a lunch.

Growing Nursery Stock and Bud Grafting

CANCELLED – Saturday, August 1, 2020
Monroe – North Branch Farm

Bud grafting is a great way to start your own fruit trees and many ornamentals, using individual buds from this year’s new growth to graft onto rootstock already set in the nursery.

The class beginS with an introduction to growing nursery stock including soil preparation, planting, tree care, pest and disease management, and grafting. All major tree fruit species ARE covered. Instructed by Seth Yentes of North Branch Farm.

Grafting knives are available for sale at Fedco Seeds

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

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