How hard should I prune my fruit trees?

Eddie, Julie & Annabel live in Yarraville with a few dogs and a lovely weeping mulberry tree.  Until Dan moved recently they were a few doors down.  Knowing how soft-core most folk are when it comes to pruning, when Eddie asked Dan for some mulberry pruning advice, Dan's main message was clear: "go hard!"  Deciduous fruit trees can pump out shoots two metres long in a single spring and once you know how fast and vigorously they bounce back from a winter prune you realise you can really get stuck in to them.  Dan more so than others wrecks havoc with his felcos, and has been know to bring a 3-4m high orchard of 25+ trees down to a reachable, manageable and nettable 1.5m in less than two hours.  Anyway, when Eddie invited Dan to assess his pruning efforts, he said "I went pretty hard." "Sure sure" Dan thought, he's taken a twig off there, and branchlet off here.  But this is what he saw of what was previously a large gnarly weeping mulberry...

Dan smiled and nodded while thinking "gosh Eddie, I actually think you went too hard!"  Then, just three months later, this!

So fear not budding fruit-tree pruners and go hard knowing nature's amazing ability to bounce back with renewed vigour.  That said, maybe don't go quite as hard as Eddie and keep in mind the trade off between getting the desired form and getting fruit this season!

Here are a few more photos of this amazing recovery from serious surgery.


Big Beds in Caulfield

Two good-sized VEG Roughsawn Beds with oiled bench seats we finished installing in Caulfield yesterday - happy growing Judy!

2013 Permaculture Calendar

Edible weeds (courtesy of VEG's Adam Grubb), snuffling pigs at Taranaki Farm, people permablitzing, bountiful piles of produce: all wonderful things to look at over the course of your year, and all featured in the 2013 Permaculture calendar.  Each month tells a short story and illustrates a permaculture principle.  Here's the spiel from the producers: 

Organise your life and share your schedule with this lovely, deceptively simple but thought-provoking, calendar in your home or workplace. It's filled with inspirational and thought provoking images that support and reinforce your values every day of the year

"It would easily be the most useful and inspiring calendar I've ever come across - it's the very appropriate, definitely gift worthy, and what I like to call honest" Rob Bartrum 

Produced in Australia on 100% recycled paper using vegetable based inks. 10% of net return donated to Permafund. Size: A4 (210mm x 297mm) opening to A3. 

RRP $12 and available from

2013 Permaculture calendar

Dirt Girl World meets VEG

Hanging out with the Dirt Girl World girls at Maroondah Festival today...

Amazing weeds walk photos

Some amazing photos from Adam's weed walk last weekend. Thanks to Sal Abubakar.

Rosalie's Chook System

It was great today be working in Rosalie's Thornbury backyard again today.  We set her VEG Chook System up a few months back and now it is fully chooked with eggs and compost in full production!

Instant gratification & Sue's Richmond project

Dan enjoyed some instant gratification after planting a honey locust shade tree as part of a mini food-forest today...

...and here are some clips & photos of the project - transforming what was a concrete slab into a food forest and several veggie beds.

When we arrived this morning:

...then late morning:

...and just before we left:


Judy & Henry's Amazing Edible Garden in Wallan


Wicking bed & chook system in a day!

Today we started with a giant topshelf cypress wicking bed in Pascoe Vale South...

....followed by finishing off a VEG Chook House & Strawyard install up in Wallan...

...before heading back to the VEG warehouse to get ready for Sue's courtyard transformation in Richmond tomorrow!


Fresh Beets, Yo!

Got to love this one from Sticky Comics. If you break it down like a compost you can then produce some real fresh beets, you know what I'm saying?

Ant's Warmer Rhubarb Relish

We were stoked to install a chook system in Coburg the other day that just happened to be next door to a past customer, Ant, who we helped set up with about seven big raised beds and two chook tractors. His system his cranking and we'll get some photos up soon, but Ant gave us some relish which looked store-bought until we took a closer look!