works in progress:
All fruit growers are invited to join in this community effort by sharing innovative research and bouncing around unconventional ideas. Comparison trials amongst growers targeting similar fruit varieties on soil-focused orchard sites will prove very insightful to us all.
Useful research in a holistic context will always depend on integrating a number of factors. Tree health counts, air drainage counts, birds count, microbes count, beneficial insects count, and when it comes to inputs, synergy counts. That heartfelt desire to grow beyond organically can best be met by realizing anything we do is connected to everything else throughout the orchard.
How we grow should enhance the virtue of the fruit.
We all know how this goes. The spark of creativity flashes and you're running with it. The intent is to do one thing here, another thing there, and thereby 'know' an idea proved legit. Yet odds are slim that any of us will actually follow through and track results, simply because making a farm living too often takes precedence, right?
Let's focus in on that spark of creativity because growers are indeed the innovators that count. Add a cooperative element to the plan by realizing others probably share this notion. You may find further encouragement in the suggestions for grassroots research on the departmental pages that follow. Sample protocols have been posted in our portal library to assist when making plans. Subjective results can be shared and analyzed in a dedicated category for grower research discussion in our forum. The fungi work through collaborative support networks (called mycelium) and so can we!
Appreciation for complexity admittedly makes results harder to discern. Still, ideas abound when we start considering foliar nutrients, thinning sprays, biological inputs, and specific pest challenges. Our greatest opportunity to make progress lies in loosely coordinating comparison trials around all sorts of cutting edge ideas. Therein can be found the motivation to follow through and mutually up our growing game.
Learning to project your consciousness into the mind of an insect – or a pathogen spore or a feeder root tip for that matter – is a powerful way to think about the interdependence inherent in Nature. The late Ron Prokopy of the University of Massachusetts did this time and time again in developing numerous strategies to deter orchard pests. And so was born the sticky red ball trap for apple maggot fly. Fruit growers need to hone their observation skills in similar fashion and then be receptive to the teachings that the universe willingly provides. Ron’s influence will live on for a long time to come in those of us who seek to 'see deeply' in this way.
Life's prompts can come totally out of the blue. What's called a hunch or an inkling often proves important. We now direct attention to the esoteric among us. Hidden possibilities become unhidden when we take time to simply be. If you've been looking for justification to sit under a tree and daydream, you have come to the right place! The inner nature of the biodynamic orchard becomes revealed in these quieter times. Realizing what makes us stronger, smarter, and happier resonates with tree wisdom across generations. Going beyond cerebral boundaries can actually bring us round to the practical light of day. Every fruit grower has intuitive understanding . . . provided we listen to the voice within.
Jazzed to learn more
We encourage inquisitive growers to trial particular notions. Every site has its quirks just as every growing season brings new curveballs. Subjective analysis comes down to the time-honored maxim of Hey, this works! Orchardists in different places observing similar results has import. It's having the discipline to follow through on ideas initiated in spring that makes all the difference.
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