Fruit Tree Care

top working an apple treeTop working an apple tree




Fellow fanatic fanciers of foliated fruiting forests,

Thank you for your interest in Barkslip's Fruit School.
It is my intenton to set up arrangements with community organizers like you to not only have me come to your communty to have fun sharing the joys of growing fruit and other "re-skilling" activities, but to offer an opportunity to raise money for other projects you may be championing. Whether it is to raise money to pay for plant material, help finance further trainings, community or school gardens, initiate a local fruit club, etc. I want to help get out as much information about diversity, self reliance and empowerment as possible. In most cases, if you can get a minimum of 12 students, that will be sufficient to cover my costs, as well as, have money left over for your projects. Given the popularity of fruit and the lack of access to informaton about alternative fruit culture, a 12 student minimum should be within reach.

I have put together a weekend package intensive of classes in order for us to get the most of my travel expenses. Also, people will be willing to come from further distances because participating in a concentrated number of classes will make it worth their while. The classes are delineated enough so a person can pay for one day of two classes, or get a discount for attending the entire series of four classes.

Facilities- The beauty of fruit school is we can do it anywhere people can be comfortable. However, things that would enhance the experience for the students is to have access to existing fruit trees, bushy young unwanted trees for practicing pruning, an opportunity to plant a tree, being able to make a small mess, and encourage having lunch breaks together either by providing soup and bread or have people bring their bag lunch.

Materials- I will provide most of the specific materials, but could use help scavanging some other common supplies.

Additional class offerings:

Darwin's Worms- (1-2 hours) Few people realize that Charles Darwin spent 40 years of his life in fascination of worms and finally finished his last book, "Vegetable mould and the actions of earthworms upon it" right before he himself began fodder for his subject matter. Darwin makes an appearance for this class teamed up with Professor Barkslip for an amazing presentation of nature's most steadfast and beneficial workers.

Humanure or Human error?- "It's a hot topic": Consider offering this 3 hour class, that will cover all you need to know to consciously set up a no cost, low tech, composting toilet system. Encourage your carbon footprint to take a huge step towards living sustainably. This class is a life changer.

Urban Fruit growing: (2 hours) The yields from fruit tree plantings in the urban jungle are far from over with the picking of fruit.This class comes from my 8 years experience stewarding and in initiating Public Edible parks in Asheville, working with school garden programs, and planting new Edible gardens. I will share what I have learned about being most effective working with the community, city officials, non profits, schools, as well as, the practical side of what and how to plant in public paces. (Most effective following the Fruit Tree Care and Pruning class)

Maple Sugaring for the Sap Sucker: (2-4 hours)You can make maple syrup in your urban yard as well as mountainside suger bush. This half day class focusses on the harvesting and rendering of maple sap into maple syrup. We will cover what you will need to known to harvest maple sap using common items found near your home to larger commercial operations. Whether you run one tap or 10,000, maple sugaring is great fun. Professor Barkslip apprenticed on a sugar operation in Northern Vermont in 1983 that ran 1500 taps, and has been making syrup ever since.

Tools for Fools: (two day) "That's been a good ol' axe. It's had 4 handles and 2 heads...."

 Havent had the heart to throw away those old vestiges of honest work? Rusty hammer, axe heads, shovels and post hole diggers with broken handles laying aroung the basement ? No worries, fixing them up doesnt mean YOU have to use them. That's what your son-in-law for. It is, however, an opportunity to study a deeper understanding of wood and it's amazing diversity of functions. 

During this one day intensive, the fools will be making tool handles and learning how to hang them. We will learn about  grain, appropriate species, wood movement, harvesting, processing, and hand working green wood, all the while, applying these traditional technologies to all matter of  Tom toolery. Be willing to break a sweat.

Stools for Fools: (two day) This is the second half of the "fools" series. Building on what was learned in the "Tools" class, we will be making a small stool incorporating traditional joinery. Tools for fools is a necessary prerequisite.