Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Porkorchard for pest-free fruit.

Sepp Holzer at the Krameterhof farm in Austria (where I took the photo) has been using pigs to keep his orchards free of pests and competing weeds and grasses. He has 30,000 fruit trees that require no pruning, fertilizing, or spraying thanks to the pigs. Here's a clip from his website about classes being offered in the Pacific Northwest:

"For more than 40 years now, Sepp Holzer, the agricultural rebel has been transforming his family farm in the Lungau district in the Austrian Alps into an eco-paradise of fishing ponds, ten thousands of fruit trees, shrubs, vines and highly productive vegetables and herbs. Here, at an altitude of 1500 meters (~5000 feet) in the "Siberia of Austria", he has created a self-sustaining landscape in which he produces many varieties of the best quality fish, fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms, pork, poultry and even citrus without irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides or weeding.

By observing nature and experimenting with his own garden from childhood on, he developed his own form of Permaculture, which is already the subject of scientific research. He cleverly uses ecological relationships and cycles, letting nature do the work for him with minimal labor input while providing optimum living conditions for his plants and animals. In this way he creates an eco-paradise which also achieves maximized economic success from his farming activities.

He has become famous far beyond the German-speaking world. His farm, the "Krameterhof" has become a symbol for a new kind of farming with hundreds of busses of visitors touring it every year. Sepp also acts as a consultant to a large number of projects all over Europe and the world, including Scotland, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Thailand, creating new croplands from depleted soils in harsh and difficult conditions. The principles of Sepp Holzer's Permaculture are simple and can be applied in any climate, by anyone, on any scale. These principles can empower anyone to develop a more sustainable life style and create their own highly productive eco-paradise, from the balcony garden to the family farm.

From February 19th to March 14th, 2009, Sepp Holzer and his son Joseph Andreas Holzer, will be visiting the United States, conducting The Secrets of Eden series of interviews, talks, and two day workshops in the Pudget Sound region of Washington State and the Portland area in Oregon. In each hands-on workshop a Holzer Permaculture project will be explained and created, such as ponds, terraces, fertile mounds (Huegelbeds), earth-bermed chicken coops and horse shelters, herb and vegetable spirals and craters, companion planting and plant communities. In January and February, 2009, videos screenings throughout the Pudget Sound region will give an introduction to Sepp Holzer and his dynamic approach to Permaculture.

Here's further confirmation of the orcharding with pigs technique:

Apple Farmer Uses Pigs Instead of Pesticides

Who needs toxic chemicals when cute little piggies do the job?

Jim Koan is doing something revolutionary on his Flushing, MI farm. Or, is he? Instead of using pesticides to rid his orchard of a pest, Koan is going old school and using pigs.

Koan’s 120-acre apple farm in has been plagued by the Plum Curculio Beetle that lays its eggs in apples and makes the fruit drop too early from trees. He could have used frequent sprays of pesticides for years to get rid of the beetles, or he could use pigs. (He tried chickens and guineas, but they weren’t hard enough workers and the guineas were taken away by hawks. He contemplated sheep, too, but in the end hard-working pigs, too big for any hawk or coyote to steal, were the best bet.) Now he has a group of pigs who shuffle through the orchards when the apples infected with beetles start to fall. They eat the apples and the eggs that would have spelled disaster for next year’s crop, and clear the ground and eat weeds in the process. The pigs make short work of an apple orchard, eating every last contaminated apple. And, bonus: once the pigs have solved the beetle problem, Koan plans to sell them as organic pork.

So, revolutionary or not, pigs are a refreshing idea.

Original link...


  1. That looks like awfully bare ground. What happens when it rains?

  2. All of that bare ground is a carefully sculpted terrace that slopes toward the hill side and is ridged with contour hillocks that spread the water evenly. The well-tilled earth is VERY absorptive as well. IMMEDIATELY upon removal of the pigs mulch and seed are scattered. The first rain results in an explosion of growth with NO erosion. Cool, huh?