Andrea Wiley wrote:I guess my questions are; can I chuck this fruit in my freezer, whole, until we dig the swales and I can plant them? Do you think the general stratification needs for the seeds will be met?
Andrea Wiley wrote:That's why I'm thinking seeds. And why buy seeds when you got em free! ...
Can you think of anyone who has planted at a large scale like this?
Dan Boone wrote:...I just figure you shouldn't be dismayed if you plant 2,000 apples and only fourteen trees survive...
Cj Verde wrote: I've read that planting apples in thorny areas (like brambles) can help. The thorns provide protection and the shelter promotes faster growth.
There is a man who had a 14 - year old sow. He fed it a lot of good things, including apples. He had pigs before her. About 17 years ago, in the corner of the pig pen there was a blackberry clump. An apple tree started there, and up it came. Then the apples started to fall, and the pigs got into the blackberries and moved them out, ripped them all out and left the apple tree. This fellow was a man of great sagacity. He went out and got a lot of apple trees, waded into the middle of his blackberries and planted trees in every blackberry clump he could find. He also planted peaches and quinces and figs and pears. He had a lot of blackberry on his farm; he was in fairly heavy rainfall foothill country. Blackberries there are not the weak undersized things you see around here. They are violently rampant blackberries. They will fill gullies and be level across the top of them with the hills. The water flows down below. So he waded in and put in a grafted sometimes, but often seedling trees.
What happens in this situation is that the tree grows straight up to the light. It doesn't make any low branches. It grows very fast. It is the fastest growing situation you can find for fruit trees. The tree doesn't have any branches for maybe nine feet, and then it crowns out. When the apples start to fall, there will not be enough of them to attract anything except three or four rabbits, and they eat them. Then, in a couple of seasons, maybe, a lot of apples start to fall, and they start smelling good and getting lost in the blackberries and fermenting. At that point the cattle can't stand it. They wade into the blackberries up to their chest, picking out apples, and they tread heavy on the blackberries. Then the tree gets bigger, and it drops 30 bushels of apples. It is now partially shading the blackberries out. It also becomes absolutely impossible for the cattle to stay out. They smash the blackberries flat, and you have this gigantic apple tree with the big thick trunk, eight feet clear of branches. One of those trees is 70 feet across, and 60 feet high, yielding 70 bushels of apples. The cattle get about 40 bushels, and you can pick 30. At just 17 years old, it's a phenomenal tree.
I don't know whether you can imagine this farm; but you should see it. It has patches of eucalyptus and wattles, and here and there a gigantic fig tree, a gigantic apple tree, and an enormous pear tree. Twelve pear trees growing under similar conditions yield almost seven tons of fruit per tree. They are big. They are approaching 160 feet high. There is a flood plain with blackberries there, and these pear trees haven't any brambles at all under them. You can get on your ladder and pick the first 20 feet. The rest, from there on up, drop to the sheep and cattle.
I keep seeing this happening all the time. I thought, Of course! Here is the old European forest, in which lived the white ox, the old European white ox. On the edge of that forest, sneaking out into the plains, step after step, is the bramble. On the edge of this forest, the only place where it is doing any good, is the apple. Its fruit falls into the brambles. The seedlings come up and begin fruiting. Then comes the white ox. He comes and rescues the forest. That is how the forest advanced. Here comes your little boar out of the forest, rooting around in the blackberries for apples, and they will change the soil condition. They will make a high manurial situation, and will stimulate this edge growth of plants. Then on the forest will go, with apples out in front of it. You will find this happening like that all over the place. Geoff Wallace is doing this deliberately. He has run completely out of blackberries, wiped blackberries right off his property.
The main value of blackberry to tree is that it prevents grass competition at the roots. Grasses produce chemicals hostile to trees. There is a fight on between grassland and trees. Fire helps the grasses; brambles help the trees. Hence there is a whole conflict of pioneer species in grasslands. The bramble is really continually mulching the tree, keeping its root system free of grass. The tree grows much better there than in an open situation. A secondary effect is that the bramble growth pre-prunes the tree to a standard, prevents low branching, and the tree crowns out into a really classical old British type crown--round, with a strong trunk. By the time the bramble is smashed, the bark is coming up from the root of the tree. It has all been timed. We couldn't have designed it better.
Somebody designed that for us. I just keep on this way, discovering something; then I go and have a look. It was there anyhow. After the forest is gone, when we are trying to grow the apple tree away from the forest, without the cattle, without the pigs, without the blackberries, we are going to have a lot of apple trees that are very unhealthy. In California, a lot of iris and fennel grow under apple trees. What you are looking for now is the tree's garden, the situation in which the tree can stand against the grass and still be very healthy. Now these are an interesting group of plants. Their main characteristic is that they are not surface fibrous rooted plants. They do not set up that mat that intercepts light, rain, and prevents the percolation of water.
The nasturtium and any of the root thistles are very good plants. They are tap-rooted, large-leafed. They are clumped or have feathery fronds. Those are the sort of plants that do well under trees. You can design the apple garden, in which the apple will thrive according to its shade and sun requirements. If you start planting this garden with your apples, you get healthy, fast growing, non-cultivated trees.
We are building up a set of plants from which we can derive characteristics that will enable us to add plants with specific traits. These are very good grass barrier plants with a very fast rotting leaf crop, quick turnover plants. You can start to garden your orchard over with these species. At home, daffodils often grow under apple trees. You may want to sell daffodils and apples; or you may want to sell fennel and apples.
Go and take a look at where the mulberry, the fig, the pear, the apple and the quince have survived the ebb and flow of human settlement. Work out the characteristics of the understory. You are seeking a tree with about a nine to 12 inch incremental growth annually, continuously self-pruning at the crown, so that branches are not overlaying and smashing, and the fruit will not be small and crowded. In the blackberry patch, the tree is protected until it starts to bear. When the blackberries are removed, growth slows.