This is a fantastic all round introduction to orchards, packed with guidance on all subjects you might ask about when planning or managing an orchard. Full of orchard lore and common sense advice, it’s practical, easy to follow and a joy to read, covering orchards of any size from small back gardens to field size.
Throughout the book, Wade stresses the value of observation before planting and over the lifetime of the trees. The main section opens with six key questions that will help you shape your orchard. Space is given to discussing what tree size, spacing and layout to choose, where to source trees and how to give them the best possible start in life. The planting section thoroughly covers ground preparation, planting and weed control.
The book is full of great advice on orchard maintenance with tips on shaping trees and keeping them healthy, including recommendations on grass management and pruning. To manage grass Wade favours grazing with sheep. I’m more of a scythe fan myself and find mowing with them a great way to keep the orchard in good shape, but our orchard isn’t all that big and I see good sense in his preference for animal power for larger sites.
Another section covers how to deal with the abundance a healthy orchard will eventually produce. You can stretch the fruit season through storing, processing and fermenting apples and their juice.
Wade’s great love and experience of fruit growing drew me in. The many examples drawn from his own back garden and field orchard bring the different subjects to life and his clear explanations make orcharding seem possible for anyone willing to give it a go.
Wade Muggleton’s book is an invaluable guide for current or aspiring orchardists, as well as fruit lovers anywhere in town or country.