[permaculture] spindle cut orchards

Rich Blaha rich at mossbackfarm.com
Sat Jun 2 23:17:32 EDT 2007

Hi Paul

I guess I don't share your outrage at the practice....Fukuoka aside, 
most fruit trees do well with heavy pruning.  If you've ever seen an old 
neglected apple tree, breaking branches from the weight of fruit on 
spindly limbs, you'll see that neglect, however benign, doesn't always 
do them good.  Espalier techniques are the spindle technique taken to 
the extreme...they are a great way to pack lots of fruit production, 
often of a variety that doesn't do well in your climate, into a little 
area.  Could be permaculture.

To add to my previous post, Cloud Mtn is a 20 acre family farm, which 
started out in the '70s  growing organic garlic and tomatoes, then moved 
into 'spindled' apple orchards, then a retail nursery, all to keep 
profitable, or at least, to keep the farm in the family. No longer 
organic, not permaculture, but diversified, with a good heart and mind 
running the show.

I wouldn't worry about big ag getting too into this game...there's so 
much competition from Chinese apple farmers that family farms in WA and 
OR are ripping out trees right and left, often putting in wine grapes if 
the location is suitable.  That, or subdivisions.  Not permaculture, in 
a far, far worse way.

You want to see outrage, come to the Willamette Valley and check out our 
grass seed fields...monoculture is mandated by the seed buyers, so even 
the roadside ditches are nuked to keep the seed from being 'contaminated'


>   3. Re: spindle cut orchards (paul wheaton)
>Message: 3
>Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2007 12:17:33 -0700
>From: "paul wheaton" <paul at richsoil.com>
>Subject: Re: [permaculture] spindle cut orchards
>To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
>	<22d4eb790706021217k7a17e6tcaa1ce50ddeb60aa at mail.gmail.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>I had some friends over for breakfast this morning and I mentioned
>this.  After that I want to talk about it here more.
>I guess what I'm fishing for here is not just more info.  I want to
>either get comfortable with the idea, or I want to get support for why
>it ain't permaculture.
>At the moment, I feel pretty outraged at this practice.  I'm open to
>the idea that I am simply ignorant - with a little more understanding
>a path will be illuminated to show that this practice can be
>incorporated into permaculture.  But my gut says that ain't the case.
>Lack of diversity bugs me.
>Lack of canopy layers bugs me.
>But I think the thing that bugs me the most is that the trees are
>treated so disrepectfully.  It reminds me of debeaking chickens or
>confining pigs into something where they cannot turn around.  I've
>never been one to do physically hug a tree - I keep the chain on my
>saw pretty sharp and I'm not bashful about taking out trees to help
>the farm - or me.  But it is done with the idea that I am working with
>nature.  This seems  ....  twisted.  Is this not one of God's
>creatures that is being shackled and squeezed to produce more money?
>It seems icky.  It seems far from permaculture.  It smells like a new
>direction from big ag.
>Or maybe I just don't fully understand it yet and I'm just reactionary.

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