Book Reviews January 2001

Reviews continued:



Happy New Year From the New President!  At the December meeting I passed around three books related to training and pruning I borrowed from the NAFEX library.  Debbie Hinchey suggested I write short reviews on them for the members not present. The video mentioned last here was shown at the December meeting and was also from the NAFEX library.


Physiological Fruit Tree Training for Intensive Growing, Brunner, T., 1990, 286 pages.

This book explains more than you might want to know about intensive training and then some, and it does it in more words and unfamiliar scientific terms than you probably will want.  I don’t know if the translator is at fault because English is his second language or because he translated too accurately and the Hungarian author shares the blame – in any case, this is heavy reading.  A mild sample: pruning was once described as “special agrotechnical interventions.”


Training and Pruning Apple and Pear Trees, Forshey et al, 1992, 166 pages.

This is an excellent book – easy to read and practical.  It is both a primer and a summary of current theory and practice.  Each chapter is followed by a reference section listing extensive sources – a resource in itself.  This is a desirable book to have in one’s library.


For those of you trying to train older trees, I will pass on to you an unusual technique described for spreading a large limb: “a series of saw cuts on the underside of the limb near the crotch will allow the basal section to be bent.”


Espaliers and Vines for the Home Gardener, Perkins, Harold O., 1964, 200 pages.

This book has a few good drawings and photos of espaliers as well as two or three pages on training and pruning.  It also has 50 pages describing 50 fine ornamentals to espalier and about 70 pages describing 70 fine vines to espalier.  This book reminds me of the type of book one receives after joining a book club because of some great introductory offer.  If you are looking for advice to grow an espalier, look further.


Pruning Apple Trees to a Central Leader System, Kentucky, 25 minutes.

This video does an excellent job showing how to train and prune to a central leader each year from whip to bearing mature tree – short and sweet, easy to understand.  Training and pruning early in a tree’s life establish its lifetime’s framework


Reviews continued:



The Alaskan Bootlegger’s Bible, Leon W. Kania.

(They will give a 20% discount if our organization orders 10 or more copies in one order.  It is $21.95 plus $4.00 shipping and handling.)


This is an excellent book of information and very complete.  It ranges from brewing the most basic beer and wine to making your own malt or using commercial liqueur extracts to vodka to make amaretto, Drambue, apricot brandy, etc.  There are numerous recipes with fruit, blossoms, grain, and milk, rice, potatoes, beets, carrots, honey, pea pods, bread, birch sap, etc.  There are recipes for apple wine and applejack.  It also has sections on making your own beer capper, balanced beam scales using two coffee cans, and even a still.


All the processes are very complete and simple – no scientific jargon.  There is a whole section on liqueurs made from common fruit from the store or Alaskan cranberries.  You can also make your own syrup for liqueurs to add to common whiskey or vodka.


Small Farmer’s Journal PO Box 1627, Sisters, Oregon, 97759, 541-549-2064, 1-800-876-2893.

I strongly encourage everyone to buy a subscription to this publication.  One of our feed stores here sells current copies.  It is a large (10 1/2″ by 13 1/2″) 128 page quarterly issue (Fall 2000.)  The editor has reprinted one book Soil and Health using 7 issues and is now reprinting Humans and the Farmer in it’s third installment.  It covers research done in England, India, and Africa over 50 years ago.  All the back issues to cover these articles are available.  Usually they run a special of buy 2 get 1 free, or free back issues for a gift subscription or renewals.  Everyone who raises or eats anything owes it to themselves to read this series.  It’s $8.50 per issue or $30 per year.  If in doubt, call and order a sample copy of Fall 2000.  It is all written by or about people who are farming.  I’ll bet you can’t resist subscribing.  They have articles about all forms of agriculture in both current and old reprinted articles from the turn of the century.