Yesterday, the farmers took a field trip to the garden, where we learned how to prune fruit trees. Sharp clippers are a must!
Those espalier dwarf apple trees are really amazing. Each one was grafted to a root base- cutting a notch in the root base, and inserting the tree into that notch, and amazingly a tree grows fruit. Only a two to three year old branch bears fruit and our mission was to support those branches by cutting all the vegetation growth, little branches that would just suck up energy, around the thickness of the a pencil.
Some of the branches on our trees are 30 years old! Some, just a couple months. As I made my way around the branches I could see where other gardeners had gone before me. Some cuts were were wonderful; clean 45 degree angles, two leaves above the base clusters. Some were like mine; mostly okay, but some not so confident, not so clean.
The whole process reminds me of what the farm manager said when I asked her what our farm mission was: Production? Education? Sustainability? Nope.
Our farm mission is to grow Bodhisattvas.
And I thought growing vegetables was hard.
I'd love to take refuge in my internet sangha; I'm not keeping up that well with the growth of this bodhisattva. There a lot of weeds, a lot of preferential cultivation, and the habit energy of conventional techniques. Much more focused on the fruit, less on the dirt, and I know how that ends up.
There's an intention here to return to growing dirt, like all good organic farmers. We don't grow food, we grow dirt, and food happens. It's time to compost, turn, and tilth.