Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Growing fruit cont'd.... Apples

Our grocery store brought in some delicious New Zealand apples a few years back. I think they were called Pacific rose and Southern rose. These were about the best apples I've eaten. Unfortunately the store has not been consistent in bringing in these apples on a regular basis.

There are so many apple varieties listed in catalogs I wish I could sample them all before committing to growing a tree or two. Unfortunately the local u-pick orchards haven't planted very many interesting varieties but they are starting to grow more of the heirloom apples. In the local farmers market I see the usual suspects, macintoshes, yellow and red delicious, wine sap, criterion etc. I saw some Pippin for the first time and Northern spy but the price was too exorbitant for me to try. I did buy some Black Arkansas for the first time on someone's recommendation. It was a pretty good apple with a lot of flavor and dense flesh which I prefer but not as good as the rose apples from NZ imho.

Looking through the catalogs I decided to buy an Opalescent because I saw a gardening show on growing apples and this was highly recommended as being one of the best eating apples as well as one of the most beautiful. I also bought a Roxbury russet because the russets were described as nothing to look at (rough scabarous skin) but a delicious eating apple. Both of these are heirloom apples. My thinking is that if they've lasted this long they must have something good that recommends them. The trees arrived bareroot, all of a spindly three feet tall so I have a long wait before we see some fruit. All I have to do now is to keep the rust and mildew diseases at bay and the deer too. I later read that apples are one of the most difficult fruit to grow requiring an intensive regular spraying schedule. What have I gotten myself into now? I hate using pesticides but I guess I'll have to spray if we want any fruit. Hopefully there are some natural organic sprays that won't be so biologically toxic.

18 Comments:

Blogger Kathy said...

If heirloom apples were growing long before people used all these chemical sprays on apples, who's to say you still can't grow them without using all those sprays? Now, if you must have perfect, blemish-free marketable fruit, that's one thing, but if you're willing to take a knife to your apple and do a little trimming before you bite in, I bet you don't have to spray nearly as much. I know there's been at least one book written on growing apples organically. Do a little nosing around amazon before you commit to a rigorous spraying schedule.

7:38 AM  
Blogger MeganZ said...

Best of luck with your apples! I just ordered two columnar apples myself - a new experiment. I'm hoping I have the skills to keep them alive too.

Nice blog!

2:43 PM  
Blogger Girl Gone Gardening said...

Apples arnt hard at all...but then I was growing them in CA, with no rust or mildew problems. We did get the occasional worm in them but we just used traps to control the problem and I never once spreyed them. The do grow pretty fast and soon you will have so many apples you won't know what to do. Good Luck.

5:22 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kathy and girlgonegardening,
My sister in Calif. has an 4 in 1 apple tree that bears a ton of unblemished fruit w/o spraying. But their eastbay climate is mostly desert like so they don't have to contend with mildew and other fungal disease. Seems to be pretty bug free too. Only the squirrels to do battle with. I don't mind wormy apples but the spaying would be to keep the mildew in check. I will search for the growing apples organically book and do a goole search too.Thanks for the comments.

To Megan,
Good luck with your apples. What kind are you growing? Let us know in your blog about your progress with them. My blog could be much better esp. in the grammar dept. but it's the best I can do with the time constraints I'm under. Thanks for the compliment and for writing.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Girl Gone Gardening said...

I've heard spraying milk on your plants is supposed to help prevent mildew but I have never tried it before. I will be trying it this year, as in Indiana I learned last year that we are very supseptible to it on squash!

5:37 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

To girl gone gardening, thanks for the tip on spraying milk to prevent mildew. I think it may work because the casein in milk, when it dries, creates a barrier on the leaf surface. Artists used casein paints is the past. I will certainly try it and let you know if it works. This is a quote from Reed Kay's book the "Painter's Companion" on casein. "Casein is made from skim milk, and since the Renaissance, has been used as a binder for paints and grounds. It is somewhat more brittle than rabbitskin glue, but dries to a more water resistant film. Available today in the form of a dry yellow powder, it is dissolved in water by means of the slow additon of a stron alkali, such as ammounium carbonate."

5:40 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

To girl gone gardening, thanks for the tip on spraying milk to prevent mildew. I think it may work because the casein in milk, when it dries, creates a barrier on the leaf surface. Artists used casein paints is the past. I will certainly try it and let you know if it works. This is a quote from Reed Kay's book the "Painter's Companion" on casein. "Casein is made from skim milk, and since the Renaissance, has been used as a binder for paints and grounds. It is somewhat more brittle than rabbitskin glue, but dries to a more water resistant film. Available today in the form of a dry yellow powder, it is dissolved in water by means of the slow additon of a strong alkali, such as ammounium carbonate."

5:49 AM  
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5:41 PM  
Anonymous tiffany rose said...

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12:03 AM  
Anonymous gardening organic rose said...

I skim a lot of blogs, and so far yours is in the Top 3 of my list of favorites. I'm going to dive in and try my hand at it, so wish me luck.

I've got a site you might be interested in (mine is about gardening caring for roses ) I know, it sounds strange, but it's like anything, once you learn more about it, it's pretty cool. It's mostly about gardening caring for roses related articles and subjects.

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