351 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour tables
The Fruit Tree Handbook is a clear, practical guide for both amateur and expert. It explains all you need to know in order to grow delicious fruit, from designing your orchard and planting your trees to harvesting your produce. Apples, pears, plums, cherries, apricots, peaches and nectarines, as well as less common fruits such as mulberries, medlars and figs, are covered in detail, with recommended varieties of each. The book describes all the pest and disease problems you may encounter and advises on how to deal with them. It explains about choosing rootstocks and suitable varieties for your needs, and illuminates the mysteries of pruning with step-by-step instructions and detailed diagrams. It features beautiful pictures throughout.
The Fruit Tree Handbook conveys a deep respect for the natural world, showing how to cultivate healthy trees through good management, and also includes chapters on restoring an old orchard and setting up a community orchard. Whether you are planting a few trees in your garden or 50 trees in a field, The Fruit Tree Handbook provides the expert guidance you need to look after your trees – and be rewarded with basketfuls of luscious fruit at harvest time.
"You'll need an extra season to make best use of all the advice contained in this comprehensive, practical book. It will help you to choose your fruit trees and rootstocks, situate your orchard, prune your trees and keep them healthy. It is bursting with well-illustrated guidance, generously given from someone who knows orchards and cares about the wildlife that they can support."
- Sue Clifford & Angela King - Common Ground
"The Fruit Tree Handbook is a really well-organised, approachable yet thorough guide to sourcing, planting and caring for fruit trees. It's a must for anyone considering anything from a couple of trees to an orchard."
- Mark Diacono - River Cottage Head Gardener
"If you've ever thought about turning an unproductive grassy area into an orchard and then quietly filed it away under 'wouldn't know where to start', it may be time for a rethink. The Fruit Tree Handbook is fairly hefty for a paperback but fruit growing is a big topic and deserves the space. All too often 'top fruit' [apples, pears, plums etc] is relegated to a couple of chapters in a general fruit book, losing out to the easy virtues of strawberries and other soft fruit. Given such cramped conditions, it's small wonder that people get confused about pollination so a well-written specialist book like this one is a welcome addition to my bookshelf."
- The Ecologist - October 2011
"No matter how small your garden, if you want to grow fruit, this guide will help you on your way with excellent photos and clear diagrams."
- Dobies of Devon
"Whether you are planting a few trees in your garden or 50 trees in a field, you will find all you need to know to design and manage your own orchard."
- Devon Country Gardener - October 2011
"At last! A book about growing fruit with an organic approach, written for British conditions and with home fruit growers rather than professionals in mind. To my knowledge it's the first book that ticks all three boxes but, just as important, it's very good."
- Patrick Whitefield - Permaculture Magazine
"An excellent book. Full of all sorts of useful information for lovers of fruit trees, from, lovely pictures and clear illustrations. It is beautifully laid out, simple to follow and good and accurate to read. Congratulations to you, Ben Pike and Green Books for a first rate book."
- Dorset Cider Blog
"Brilliant work, beautifully presented."
- Allotment Blog
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Ben Pike's love of gardening comes from very early childhood memories of walking past a garden laden with fruit trees and rows of vegetables on his way to school. By the age of 28 he was working as a landscape gardener, followed by a spell as a jobbing gardener, and it was during this period that his love affair with fruit trees began. Asked by his clients to prune their trees, he began to inquire into all aspects of growing fruit. Ben taught himself how to prune fruit trees and his passionate interest started. During this time he met Tom Hoblyn and in 1995 they set up South Hams Orchard Services. This involved planting and pruning fruit trees as well as consultancy work. This business continued to grow and is now known as Devon Orchard Services. For the past six years Ben has been the head gardener at Sharpham House, near Totnes. There he looked after a walled fruit and vegetable garden as well as two orchards containing 150 fruit trees. Ben also mentored volunteers who come to work in the gardens and he enjoys passing his knowledge and enthusiasm on to young people interested in horticulture. Through Ben's work and interest in orchards he became very involved with Orchard Link. For many years he was their horticultural advisor and has run courses on orchard management. Ben is currently in Canada where he is learning how to grow fruit trees in cold climates.