Planning and Planting the Small Orchard Block

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This new short course will offer a wealth of information from orchard expert, Orin Martin, long-time manager of the Alan Chadwick Garden and instructor at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology. The course will walk participants through the planning and planting of a new apple orchard block at the UCSC Farm, from site selection and soil preparation to sourcing and planting quality trees (in quality holes). At the UCSC Farm and Alan Chadwick Garden, participants will look at orchard blocks of different ages and varieties for lessons on seasonal care, pest/disease/weed management, and winter pruning. At Fifth Crow Farm, participants will visit an orchard block Martin helped plant with the Fifth Crow farmers 15 years ago and hear from the farmers about the orchard’s growth, maintenance, and production for their diversified organic farm with direct markets around the Bay Area. The course includes an introductory webinar online along with a set of videos on soil preparation for the orchard block, planting, winter pruning, summer pruning, and more.

The course will have an emphasis on growing apples, but will also cover pears and stone fruit. Key considerations, concepts, and skills covered will include:

Site selection - flat ground or sloping ground, aspect (direction of slope)
Sunlight (>6-8 hr/day)
Climate and weather (microclimate too)
Soil (assessment and improvement)
Fertility plan
Scale and types of fruit to be grown
Orchard layout
Rootstock selection (size control)
Sourcing quality trees
Pollination factors
Weed management
Pruning and training
Planting and seasonal care
This is a course for anyone, novice to intermediate-level grower, wanting to learn more about the 'hows (skills and techniques) and whys (a little of the relevant science behind the hows (in bite-sized, digestible morsels)' of fruit tree growing.

About the Instructor
Orin Martin is the author of Fruit Trees for Every Garden: An Organic Approach to Growing Apples, Peaches, Plums, Citrus and More (2020 American Horticultural Society Book Award Winner). Since 1977, he has taught classes, lectures, and workshops to thousands of home gardeners, apprentices, students, and budding farmers.

About Fifth Crow Farm
Fifth Crow Farm, a diversified organic farm founded in 2008, is located in Pescadero about 35 miles north of Santa Cruz. The three farmer/owners—Teresa Kurtak, Michael Irving, and John Vars—and a committed team of farm staff manage 30 acres of row crops, a 24-variety apple orchard, a young pear orchard, and a pastured egg operation, marketing through a CSA and farmers markets throughout the Bay Area, as well as to restaurants. For information about their farm and orchard operation, visit their website.

Event types
    Time zone
    Pacific Standard Time (GMT-8)
    Contact name
    UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology

    1156 High St.
    Santa Cruz, CA 95064
    United States