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Apple seed (amd maybe grape, etc) collective/club?  RSS feed

 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 79
Location: near Athens, GA
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Hey y'all,

Let me know if this is a stupid idea.... Paul, sepp holzer and some others are big on growing trees from seed.  Of course, the objection to growing apples from seed is that they do not grow true to the parent tree.... you never know what you will get from the seeds of an apple.  That said, I doubt seeds from a fuji will grow a pippin.  I grew up on and near a lot of old homesteads in the Appalachians of NC.  Two apple trees, that grew on separate old farms, really stand out in my memory.... two out of dozens.  One really resembled a Cox's Pipin, but it was "wilder" in flavor, it was sharply tart, but sweet and very crisp.  The other bore burgundy red apples, that would turn deep purple, almost black on the sun side.  Both, and usually the combination, made the best pies, apple sauce, apple butter and hard apple cider I have ever had.  Both trees were on old homesteads from the early/mid 1800s, so I am fairly confident they grew from seed. I have investigated every heirloom apple variety I can find... hundreds, probably...  and never found their match.  I hope to be settled by on some property by the end of this year.  So, around the end of next summer, I plan to approach the current owners of those properties and ask to gather and buy a bushel of each (I sure hope those old trees are still there then).  I'll make lots of cider, tarts and such and save seeds to plant on my new property, in hopes just a few will grow the apples I have craved for oh... about 20 years.

So, that got me thinking.... I reckon a lot of us have spotted gnarled old apple trees that yield delicious, but ugly apples.  Why not start a seed sharing club?... like maybe mailing self addressed stamped envelopes to each other.... or anything else more workable, I'm open to suggestions.

But, that got me thinking that there are at least 75 varieties of wild grapes in America..... and I'd like to grow them all.  There are persimmons, plums, pawpaws, pears, etc etc.  IS there already a group of Permies that share's seeds like this?  If not, what do y'all think about starting one?
 
Marcus Billings
pollinator
Posts: 93
Location: South Central Indiana
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In regards to the two really great apple trees, why not grab some bud wood to graft?

As for planting, Mark Sheppard has always put forth the idea of plating as many seeds and trees as possible because it's only through the diversity that we'll find the new varieties that will work in the future.    Once you find the good ones, you can graft almost indefinitely, but what was once a good, disease resistant apple, might not be one today or tomorrow.   As someone who gets just about every seed and plant catalog, I'm always amazed at how few new varieties are produced.  It does take years of effort to develop new types through breeding, but just as in the case of your apple trees, there may be some great ones already growing.  I myself just found two phenomenal chestnut trees in my town that I've lived in for forty-some odd years.  I think they are a chinese hybrid, but who cares, the chestnuts are huge and taste great, so I'm collecting them to plant at my house.  We just need to keep our eyes open and look around. 

I like the idea of a seed club/collective/exchange.  For the price of some postage, we could trade what we have and increase diversity.  There may be something like this out there already, but I haven't seen it.  If anyone knows of a program or club, please give us the 411.
 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 79
Location: near Athens, GA
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I probably will graft..... but, I don't know the land owners and one is a yuppie family.... the other is a particularly odd old guy who seems intent on cutting down and eradicating every single thing on his 100 acres that isn't perfectly manicured....he inherited the land through a distant relative... very obsessive, and I'll be lucky if he just lets me get some apples... I think they would be more willing to let me pick apples than cut their trees, even twigs.  But also, I need rootstock.  So, planting the seeds from a couple of bushels of apples from my favorite trees probably will yield the apples I want... and even if not, I'll have good root stock.  BTW, the only time I encountered bears in the woods just by chance was under those old apple trees.  They would just sit down and eat, very peaceful and content.  I often had them come in quietly while I was picking and wait their turn.  I'm a bear hunter (no more than 1 a year-3, in the absolute coldest weather), but some of the coolest nature experiences I ever had were just kind of hanging out with a black bear or two, eating apples by an old spring.... turkey flocks and crows all around us eating the bugs the apples attracted... a doe and her fawns coming in for a drink at the spring.  The apples were so abundant that there was no competition .... all the critters were wary and careful of each other, but they all seemed to understand that they were all there to eat fruit.  That happened maybe 3-5 times over 20 years, but it was very cool and would be reason enough for me to plant all the apple seeds I an get.
 
Marcus Billings
pollinator
Posts: 93
Location: South Central Indiana
16
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WJ,  I've got that same neighbor nearby and I understand the difficulties, but since old apples usually have a lot of bud wood sprouting all over, maybe you could get some under the pretense of pruning the tree for him?  Just a thought.  Or maybe get a ghillie suit and sneak over there at night (not that I've ever done that).
 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 79
Location: near Athens, GA
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I like the ghille suit idea!  It would be a good opportunity to do some gorilla gardening...... just to frustrate him!  I know I should be more charitable toward him, but his elders left trails open for kids and church groups to access the Blue Ridge Parkway across his land and I could hunt, fish and forage there.... amazing mushroom abundance, angelica, blood root, etc.  He has cleared it all so he can ride in his golf cart.  Well, it is his land.  I now life several hours away, so I'll just be a near stranger knocking on his door.
 
Sara Rosenberg
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Location: Fort Worth, TX 76179
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I always see people dissuading children and adults new to gardening from planting their seeds from foods they ate. It annoys me because some of the coolest things that happen are from happy accidents... Said Bob Ross or something along those lines. Just think, if those people were encouraged instead of sent to the big box stores to get their graphed tree, we might have a 100 more varieties today
 
Rez Zircon
Posts: 162
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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My current favorite apple, the "SweeTango" was a happy accident between a Honeycrisp and an unknown parent (tho I see they've now decided it was a Minnewasheta). I'm going to plant some seeds and take my chances on what they produce!

Might those extremely dark apples be Arkansas Blacks?

Here's a guy who is trying to preserve heritage apples:
http://www.applesearch.org/

 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1155
Location: northern northern california
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i agree, we need to plant more seeds of all fruit and nut trees!

here this is something fun, specifically about apples -->



one things that happens that i find annoying is that since its known that apples are particularly variable, having crabapples in the gene pool, and with some wild type apples being small and undesirable, theres a lot of people who then say its not worth it at all to try out random apple seeds. ...but then assume that this is true of ALL fruit seeds, when it is not. MANY types of fruit trees can be grown from seeds and will come out true to type, or at the very least - close enough to type to make it definitely worth it.

all stone fruits ( plum, peach, apricot, etc), citrus, many types of nuts and others all show true to type seedlings, and will produce good tasting fruit. even if its just a fun experimental project (btw- kids love planting tree seeds from their fruits!) it is definitely worth it, and will contribute to future diversity.

we do talk about this quite a bit here.

on the subject of places to swap seeds, i have been a long time contributor to the SEED EXCHANGE, at garden web. garden web has changed a lot in the last couple of years since it was moved to a new host, HOUZZ, and lost a lot of it's earlier membership...

but here is a link, it would be great to see this again being a bigger community of people doing seed swaps...

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/the-seed-exchange

 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1155
Location: northern northern california
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also i have several types of grape seeds, once i get myself together enough to sort through my seeds. i collect a lot of VITIS CALIFORNICA, the wild california grape that grow prolifically in the mountains of northern california. i am sort...too hectic and scattered a bit right now, but if you are patient and interested i could send some seeds of this grape to WJ Carroll.
for trade or SASE ( = you send me postage)....
 
Rez Zircon
Posts: 162
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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leila hamaya wrote:on the subject of places to swap seeds, i have been a long time contributor to the SEED EXCHANGE, at garden web. garden web has changed a lot in the last couple of years since it was moved to a new host, HOUZZ, and lost a lot of it's earlier membership...

but here is a link, it would be great to see this again being a bigger community of people doing seed swaps...

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/the-seed-exchange



Gardenweb seems to have completely lost my account. Well, no wonder they lost membership, when that happens most people just give up and go away.

 
Patrik Schumann
Posts: 5
Location: New Mexico, Alta California, New York, Andalucia
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Hola everyone, This is what most all growers used to do as a matter of course.  I've been collecting, growing, saving, selecting, breeding seed & scion lines of vegetable & herbs (300+ vars) & fruit, nut, berry (600+ vars) for many years.  I've approached close to some others & organisations involved. and I'd very much like to see & be part of a systematic collaboration on this.  Note that scale, time, complexity, differentiation, communication, information become challenges quickly: amount of land, succession/ overlap/ time management, individual interests/ parallel cropping/ exchanging reproduction-propagation material, making the most of the group effect, making comparative phenological data accessible, zeroing in on the most promising while keeping the long-term wide-spread going.  My focus at the moment is not breeding the best true-seed garlic for high desert or finding land for the 17,000 apple seedlings from which one might not be a spitter - it's the app that'll connect us all, the material, and the insights.  Best, Patrik

see also: https://permies.com/t/70905/Changing-world-direct-seeded-gardening
 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 79
Location: near Athens, GA
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Rez Zircon wrote:

Might those extremely dark apples be Arkansas Blacks?



I think that it may be a variant of Arkansas Black - maybe had a common ancestor.  The flesh is very white and crisp.  As a hard cider maker, I would call it wonderfully tart until perfectly ripe, but which time the flesh is too mellow but the skins still have good tannins.  That said, even when over ripe, it combines with brown sugar and cinnamon in ways that cause you to taste butter even when none has been added.
 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 79
Location: near Athens, GA
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leila hamaya wrote:also i have several types of grape seeds, once i get myself together enough to sort through my seeds. i collect a lot of VITIS CALIFORNICA, the wild california grape that grow prolifically in the mountains of northern california. i am sort...too hectic and scattered a bit right now, but if you are patient and interested i could send some seeds of this grape to WJ Carroll.
for trade or SASE ( = you send me postage)....


Much appreciated - when I get settled on my new property, I will be sure to take you up on that.  I have a few native NC grapes that I can trade, or SASE will be fine.
 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 79
Location: near Athens, GA
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leila hamaya wrote:i agree, we need to plant more seeds of all fruit and nut trees!

one things that happens that i find annoying is that since its known that apples are particularly variable, having crabapples in the gene pool, and with some wild type apples being small and undesirable, theres a lot of people who then say its not worth it at all to try out random apple seeds. ...but then assume that this is true of ALL fruit seeds, when it is not. MANY types of fruit trees can be grown from seeds and will come out true to type, or at the very least - close enough to type to make it definitely worth it



Some of the best cider I have ever made was from half crab apples and half transparents.  The old transparent apples are very mild in flavor.  I didn't think they would have the "backbone" to make a nice, crisp apple wine or hard cider - great combined with quince and rose petals for jelly though -  so I combined them with crab apples, and the result was a favorite among all my friends and family.  I think that perhaps my tastes lean toward what folks who generally view apples as a fruit to be eaten "out of hand" would call "spitters".  I want tart, sour, tannic, hard apples.  Where I come from, folks call them "deer apples".  Those I mentioned that look like ugly pippens are absolutely minerally!  They have distinct flavors of stone.  Most folks would spit them out unless they were very ripe, but I got used to them and often ate 4-5 a day, raw.  What amazing pies and tarts they made, though!
 
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