June 12-16, 2017
Faculty: Michael Phillips & John Hayden
Berry and fruit production is of great value to many home gardeners, as well as small-scale and part-time market growers. This five day course presents a whole system-based approach for producing delicious, nutritionally dense fruits and berries. You will learn the tricks of cultivating a thriving, diverse orchard that is naturally resilient to pests and disease and has beneficial fungal dynamics. We will cover how to improve the biology of the orchard and soil to support optimal production, developing an understanding the mutual benefits of diverse orchard plantings, pollinators and beneficial insects, and soil fertility and microbiome. We will also learn to create natural sprays that boost plant immune response, explore the role of mycorrhizal fungi and teach techniques for managing and maintaining year-round orchards for optimal growth. Selecting varieties for climate, flavor, and marketability will be a focus, as will timing and methods of harvesting that capture sweet treats at their peak. Additionally, we will explore some of the value-added products made from the berries and fruits that thrive in Vermont, and ways of marketing those products.
Prerequisites: This course is suited to farmers, gardeners, and others with some background in growing perennial crops. The focus of the course is on ecological design and management techniques as they apply to the diversified orchard.
Tuition & Fees: $1250 covers the cost of the instruction, field trips, most course materials, three meals per day from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen, and ground transportation between class locations. Not included are airport transfers or accommodations; please let us know if we can assist you with finding or providing these.
Housing Availability & Fees: On-campus housing is available for an additional fee of $60 per night with a private bathroom and $50 per night with shared bathroom access. Please note that Sterling College offers rustic, dormitory-style housing that is clean and safe but not luxurious. Availability is limited and room requests are filled on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis. Please visit our accommodations page for more options.
Need some more information before you register? Let us know!
Michael Phillips: Michael Phillips is a farmer, writer, carpenter, orchard consultant, and speaker who lives with his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Grace, on Heartsong Farm in northern New Hampshire, where they grow apples and a variety of medicinal herbs. His Lost Nation Orchard is part of the Holistic Orchard Network. Michael also leads the community orchard movement at www.GrowOrganicApples.com, Michael is the author of The Apple Grower (Chelsea Green Publications, 2005) and The Holistic Orchard (Chelsea Green Publications, 2011), and teamed up with Nancy to write The Herbalist’s Way (Chelsea Green Publications, 2005). His latest book, Mycorrhizal Planet: How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils will be published by Chelsea Green in March 2017.
John Hayden’s favorite childhood place was his small backyard where he spent hours on his hands and knees observing bugs and watching things grow. His experience in sustainable agriculture started as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa, where he worked to incorporate ecological pest management techniques in market gardens. John has an M.S. in Agricultural Entomology and over 30 years professional experience in sustainable and regenerative agriculture as a university educator, researcher, extension agent, consultant, and practicing organic farmer. With his wife, Nancy, John operates The Farm Between, nestled in the northern Green Mountains along the Lamoille River in Jeffersonville, Vermont. They work closely with nature by using ecological principles and practices to grow cold hardy organic fruits, fruit nursery plants, and maintain a 14-acre pollinator sanctuary. They believe that ‘Small is Beautiful’ and keep acreage and markets at a scale where they can still give personal attention to both the plants they grow and the the markets they serve. Their nursery specializes in cold hardy fruits, most which are grown on the farm commercially, as well as native pollinator plants.
Disclaimer: Course descriptions on this webpage are for informational purposes only. Content may be updated or change as planning evolves. Sterling College reserves the right to alter the program specifics, including details about course content, instructors, collaborations, field trips and facilities at any time without notice. Some aspects of course content may be weather-dependent.