Planting and Pruning at Green Thumb Community Orchard

April with orchard flags

The saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” But judging by this beautiful morning last Saturday, we may have gotten it backwards!

Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP) had a busy day organizing two related events at Green Thumb Community Orchard last Saturday, April 9th. In honor of of community orchards month, Green Thumb hosted two educational events focused on both fruit tree pruning and plantings.

Tools for orchard care

While pruning involves some smaller-scale tools, the work involved in preparing the soil and planting new growth in the orchard necessitated quite the selection of heavy duty rakes, pitchforks and shovels.

Volunteers sign in

As with any event, Portland Fruit Tree Project asks all volunteers to sign in at the beginning of the event. This lovely lady pictured above was ready for some sun with her wide-brimmed hat. I couldn’t resist honoring her preparedness with a quick snapshot.

Volunteers circle up

The day’s events spanned three hours and two general subjects—pruning and planting—so it was important to corral everyone at the beginning to makes sure folks knew what to do and where to go.

Bob explains pruning techniques

Long-time PFTP Program Manager, Bob Hatton, took a chunk of volunteers to the west side of the orchard, adjacent to the Brentwood-Darlington community orchard, to teach pruning techniques on the rows of espalier trees.

Deciding where to prune

The blossoms were so beautiful, even from afar, that I’d wager to say some volunteers may have had to fight moments of distraction during the pruning demonstration.

Senior volunteer plants understory

One of my favorite parts of educational programming at PFTP, is how intergenerational it can become. Our regulars consist of parents and kids as much as they do parents and grandparents, and grandparents and grandchildren.

Volunteers laughing

There was a slight hitch in the plans for last Saturday’s programming, as a guest speaker was expected to attend, but volunteers just laughed it off. A few hours in the sunshine lightens the hearts of most.

Green Thumb orchard volunteers

I love taking group photos at the end of community orchard events, because unlike PFTP’s harvesting events—which more often than not accommodate just a dozen or so people—the orchard session have virtually no limit on attendance. It’s amazing to see nearly thirty people get together on their Saturday to work together in the dirt.