On Planting Your Home Orchard
by Don Weaver
“It is impossible for man to evolve mentally unless s/he participates in the creation of the world. This is a very simple way to participate. Fruit trees and nut trees marry the earth and sky. They give shade and food. They are a powerful symbol. To plant a tree along a public road, that is an act of generosity. Lack of heart, lack of generosity, is the real disease in our world.” –Bernard Moitessier
I have been gratefully enjoying a growing supply of fantastic mineralized fruit in recent years, and now I find my home orchard is fully planted! So I accept a soft place under freshly-leafing chocolate persimmon to encourage you to share this inspired feeling of shared nurturance and nourishment of mind-body-spirit...and Earth!
Have you noticed the countless efforts made to experience greater health of indivisible mind-body-spirit, but too often “Earth” is divided off or forgotten and an essential unity is severed or misplaced? Please never undervalue the Soil-Earth-Health complex of beautiful relationships. Don’t we all want and truly need more beautiful relationships in our lives? Might you start on your present “homestead”? If you see any soil and receive about six or more hours of sun per day, and live south of the Arctic Circle, your chances are excellent.
To consciously begin your symbiotic relationship with the Earth by planting orchards and gardens is a direct, radical step toward total perfect health for you and the Earth—for you as a caring, intelligent part of the Earth. As your caring translates to giving wisely and generously to soil-and-Earth, Nature’s response translates into the natural spectacle of Healthy Abundance and Fruitfulness. This includes Nature offering back the beautiful, pure, vibrant living foods we need for real human health, thus completing this most sacred symbiotic relationship cycle.
If you aren’t aware of how strongly and urgently Earth and humanity are crying out for this win-win” relationship, it only takes a little time and study—or simple observation—to become “painfully aware” of humanity’s local/global confusion and “relationship problems”!
So, if you’re exploring the course of wisdom and this work of re-greening and regeneration appeals to you, shall I now tell you “how to?” I’d say please question all “how to’s,” especially as each moment and circumstance and set of interrelationships is unique and new, but I’ll suggest some principles to consider:
- Soil organisms largely “run the show” below and above ground, so providing them with a generous supply of their natural diet of mixed rock minerals and organic compounds, such as your own homemade composts and mulches, is of primary importance.
- Find good tree (and seed) sources, using organic methods. I’ve also “adopted” a number of free or inexpensive trees from un organic nurseries, knowing with “TLC” and plentiful feeding I could help them “get off the drugs” and become upstanding members of the Healthy Tree Community. Some trees may be grown from seed, but the seedling may be quite different than the parent! My nectarine tree from seed gives wonderful fruit.
- Fertilize adequately in the planting hole and also in the surrounding future rooting area. In typical infertile, tough ground, I use pick and spade to make a hole approximately two feet deep by three feet across, place the tree at right level, below any graft union, then mix rock/gravel dust and compost in with the original soil in roughly a 5-20-75% ratio. Then I provide a future nutrient supply by topping with a good compost/rock dust mulch, berming up the outside to create a wide watering basin. In richer soil, like garden soil, a smaller hole and less immediate root zone fertilization may be sufficient. Consider all of the tree catalog suggestions, also library books if you wish (but question those “how to’s” that sound unnatural), water the trees as needed, and enjoy a pure and beautiful relationship!
“Then what is the answer? Integrity is wholeness, the great beauty is Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man apart from that, or else you will share man’s pitiful confusion, or drown in despair when his days darken.” –Robinson Jeffers