Leora Laforge wrote:http://www.fruit.usask.ca/index.html
Yep there is some great fruit around here. They are even working on grapes now.
You can get these varieties all over Canada and the US now. Cold and drought hardy plants. A lot of the fruit is smaller and more tart than varieties from warmer places, but they go great in pies!
Scott Foster wrote:
Wes Hunter wrote:
Scott Foster wrote:I guess the biggest concern I have,and the question I can't answer is why do apple trees have so many pest and disease issues that weren't around 200 years ago. Part of it could be that I don't have enough biodiversity yet...same issue with the pollinators. So maybe these issues will work themselves out with time.
The orchards around here are spraying millions of gallons of toxic herbicides and pesticides on the trees. What changed from the depression era and before? The trees back in the day didn't get any herbicide or pesticide and they did well...if not they died.
I've got a book on my shelf titled "Orchard and Small Fruit Culture," copyright 1929, that devotes nearly 100 pages to controlling insects and diseases. So they were around.
I don't know, but I'm going to hazard a guess that apple trees today aren't necessarily less resilient than they were then, but that apple culture has shifted and so more effort and emphasis is now placed on disease and insect control. So what has changed?
It's easy to romanticize the past, but I think it's safe to say that the farms of yesteryear were more diverse than they are today. When it was much more common to run livestock (poultry, sheep, hogs) under one's fruit trees, a burden was certainly eased. Further, though the concept of production regions (e.g. dairy in Wisconsin, apples in Washington) is by no means new, I assume that particular regions were not as narrowly focused as they tend to be now, so that in apple country, for example, there was plenty of other agricultural production going on, thus mitigating some of the disease and insect risk.
I'd think another contributing factor is the increase in land prices. Farmland is now not priced according to its productive capacity, it seems, but is valued as an investment or for residential and recreational concerns, in many places at least. This then puts more strain on the farmer to make money, which could easily lead to a (desperate?) attempt to spray more in order to yield more salable fruit.
And then there are consumer demands for flawless fruit. If you can't sell your apples because they've got a bit of scab, or a few indentations from insect bites, by gaw you're going to have to do something about it.
Anyway, I don't say this at all to dismiss your overall thoughts, Scott. I've got a field of about 3 acres that borders my woodlot. Over the coming couple years, my intention is to plant it (primarily) to widely spaced seedling apple trees. I figure I'll get some apples for eating, some for cooking, some for cider, and some fit only for the deer and squirrels, which will, in turn, become apples for me. I set out about 20 itty seedlings last spring in another location, but they ultimately didn't make it. Whether they got grazed, pecked, or just outcompeted I don't know, but next spring I'll set them out in a nursery bed first to grow for a year or two before planting out.
I get what you are saying. I would point out that most of the recent information we have regarding growing apples is based on commercial growers. I'm not hammering Monocultural orchardists but I don't think we need to model our permaculture or food forest efforts on the same information. We want stuff to taste good or fit the nitch we want it to fill. Picking apples primarily on how they look and how long they last aren't necessary. If you wanted to sell say a Russet Apple that's not very appealing to the eye but tastes like ambrosia you would have to educate the customer. Here take a bite.
When we talk about creating genetic diversity in an apple, the tree and the pest do the dance of natural selection. The Apple tree and the bug change over time in order to counter the other...it's constant. What we have done is clone and reduce our apple yields to basically two strains. By only cloning, we aren't allowing the apple to adapt. I'm not saying there were no pests, I'm saying the man has come in and changed the game. By cloning, we are not allowing the apple tree to evolve defenses. The critter, fungus etc is still evolving.
How are commercial apples chosen 1. Beauty, 2. Ability to get to the store in great shape. Taste is the last thing considered when breeding. I don't have any proof that we are dealing with a lot of disinformation because I haven't actually done it yet. If I base my assumptions on why we are trying to implement permaculture practices, growing from seed makes a lot of sense. Most of the new strains of apples that are non-GMO and are tough as nuts (Liberty Apple) were found by cross-breeding with the apples from the Kazakhstan forests. By cross-pollinating, planting the seeds and moving to a dwarf rootstock we can test an apple within 3 or 4 years.
I may be full of it. We shall see.
Check out the video below that was shared with me...
Briony Beveridge wrote:Hi -
Does anyone have any comments on his holistic spring sprays?
Isn't neem oil a bit mean to the good microbes, especially when cut with soap?
Is liquid fish the same as liquid fish fertilizer?
Scott Tenorman wrote:I don't know how you northerner's do it!!! Much respect for enduring the colder months of the year.
I was surprised to see the new shoot when I cut the dead growth off this week, and mulched. It's the only plant out of a dozen or so that's putting anything off? It's been fairly mild here this winter, but two weeks ago we did get into the mid twenties or so.
It put a smile on my face to see the new shoot yesterday when I was cutting the old ferns back.
I just watched a youtube video saying asparagus was grown in Egypt and was a staple of the Egyptians for centuries......I had no idea.
Simone Gar wrote:Does any of your Elderberry bear fruit? I recently heard that non up here bear fruit (mine is too small to tell I think, it only flowers a bit last year).