POP Field Trip: Truelove Seeds

I had the pleasure of visiting Owen Taylor at his farm within the Mill Hollow Farm in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Owen runs Truelove Seeds, a network of 20 farms that offers “rare, open pollinated, and culturally important vegetable, herb, and flower seeds.” Among this network of seed growers are several POP orchard partner sites, including Sankofa Farm at Bartram’s Garden, Mill Creek Farm, and Pentridge Children’s Garden.

Early Spring Orchard Care Tips

Happy Spring, Fellow Orchardists! With the past few weeks of balmy rain and bud and flower break, we wanted to remind you of some early spring tips for tending to your orchard’s health and managing potential disease and pest woes. For a recap of orchard care through all the seasons, check out our recent POP blog article. Unwrap Your Figs … Continue reading Early Spring Orchard Care Tips

POP CORE Recap & Orchard Care Through the Seasons

POP kicked off its newest training program last Wednesday, March 8th at Bartram’s Garden called POPCORE: Community Orchardist Resilience Education. An endeavor to realize the potential and beauty of fully productive, well cared-for eco-orchards in every neighborhood, POPCORE seeks to encourage the self-sufficiency of our partners and connections between partners in close geographical proximity through … Continue reading POP CORE Recap & Orchard Care Through the Seasons

Building Living Soils with Biochar

  This edition of POP Tips written by 2016 Orchard Apprentice Alkebu-lan Marcus and Education Director Alyssa Schimmel. What if you could turn vegetative waste like twigs, wood chips, pruning clippings, and overwintered compost crops into a valuable, organic, soil-additive that promotes the growth and fertility of future orchard and agricultural plantings? You can! Enter biochar, a highly … Continue reading Building Living Soils with Biochar

Autumn Composting in Orchards

Compost Benefits Why put compost in your orchard? The benefits are many. Adding compost will add organic matter to your soil, and thereby feed your trees and bushes with vital nutrients. Additionally, spreading compost around the base of your trees and bushes will help with water retention and may reduce your irrigation needs. Compost also … Continue reading Autumn Composting in Orchards

Poultry in Orchards

The permaculture chicken niche – http://permaculturenews.org/2013/05/12/managing-the-working-chicken-video/ Looking for an organic method of reducing insect pests in your orchard? You might want to consider poultry! There are many benefits to letting chickens or ducks roam around your orchard. These lovely birds can help you manage both weeds and insects without the use of pesticides, while also naturally fertilizing … Continue reading Poultry in Orchards

Soil-Building and Nutrient-Accumulating Plants

Red Clover (L) and Comfrey (R) Healthy soil is the foundation of a productive and fruitful orchard. When designing an orchard forest garden like many of those POP plants throughout the city, a key consideration in design is choosing plants that will function as soil builders and nutrient accumulators to support the diverse and multi-layered … Continue reading Soil-Building and Nutrient-Accumulating Plants

Soil Building: Sheet-mulching

Sheet mulching is a simple, cheap, and environmentally friendly technique that helps you build nutrient rich soil while also getting rid of pesky weeds or unwanted grass. Sheet mulching involves layering nitrogen rich materials and carbon rich materials on top of each other (like a lasagna) so that they will breakdown into a rich compost to … Continue reading Soil Building: Sheet-mulching

Ramial Wood Chips and Weeding in Place

There are many different techniques a grower can use to add organic matter to improve soil. Using ramial wood chips and weeding in place are two simple ways that both work very well and are environmentally friendly. WEEDING IN PLACE Why throw weedy materials out when you can turn them into more biomass and nutrients … Continue reading Ramial Wood Chips and Weeding in Place