seed catalogs/apple trees

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Deb&Al, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. Deb&Al

    Deb&Al Well-Known Member

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    hi

    we get our seeds from seeds of change, organic/heirloom seeds. they have apple trees, semi dwarf, heirloom varieties.

    has anyone done heirloom variety of apple trees? i know the modern hybrids are supposed to be disease resistant and more prolific, but we are trying to stay on the organic/heirloom side.

    please give your experience, whether heirloom or hybrid varieties.

    debbie
     
  2. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We grow a mix of varieties, both old heirloom varieties and newer popular varieties. We have gotten good trees from FEDCO (where we also buy most of our vegetable seeds), Jung's, and St Lawrence Nursery in New York.

    Jim
     

  3. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I find that the heirloom varieties have tougher skins and store better than the more "domesticated" modern breeds... but the modern breeds can have more flavor and juice.
     
  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    You'll need to choose varieties carefully for your area. My favorite apple in the whole world is Gravenstein, which grows beautifully over on the Oregon coast where my family is from. But, from what I've heard, in other locations Gravenstein is often mediocre. I think apples are one of the more location-specific types of fruit. You might contact the North American Fruit Explorers (I think that's the name -- someone correct me if I'm wrong) and see if they can help you choose varieties for your area. They should have members somewhere near you who have actually grown and tried many different varieties of apples (and other fruits).

    Has anyone purchased rootstock and scion wood from Fedco? I've been looking through their catalog, and was thinking about trying that. I've done a little grafting, though it's been a few years since I tried it.

    Kathleen
     
  5. spring77

    spring77 Well-Known Member

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    modern apple varieties aren't any more of hybrids than old fashioned ones. They still aren't using anything but traditional plant breeding to develop them and it takes a really long time to breed apples. If you start as an apple breeder, maybe one of the varieties you develop will be on the market before you die. But probably not. The new varieties that are coming out? Pink Lady, Liberty, Williams Pride, Honeycrisp, etc. The breeding on them began back in the fifties and sixties.

    I would go for a mix of old and new. Modern varieties are great in a lot of ways and you should get a scab immune variety like Liberty or NovaEasygro. Some of the old fashioned varieties are much better for winter storage in a root cellar so if you are wanting to store apples a long time go for an old winter apple.

    Fedco is good, they are a good company with good service and they have a nice variety of old and new. They only graft onto standard rootstock so if you want dwarf trees you have to go elsewhere. I would reccommend Cummins Nursery. They have a huge variety and a huge variety of rootstocks to graft onto including the new Geneva rootstocks. They also will custom graft trees for you for a fee.
     
  6. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    North American Fruit Explorers =nafex.org
    there was a new york fruit testing coop, they closed for lack of funding. odd to me since teh darndest tthings around here in stupidville will be able to get a grant from some foundation.
    the coop released a series of selected cultivars and many of their own breeding experiments- with labels like "ny-severalnumbers" for a name, does anyone have any of the old coop's apples?
    by the way, for you who wish toa avoid hybrids: very few crops have not been hybridized in some way. apples are probably a cross or a three way hybrid between wild crabapple species. cabbage traces its origin to the trading coast of west africa, it has been discovered to be a long ago hybrid of two mustard like weeds, and it still has wild relatives growing ther in africa (i saw them in a documentary on ethiopia!growing wild! what a thrill!)
    the seeds in the appples you buy are usually hybrids- used to be with crababble pollinators, but some orchards use different varieties of apple in rows to pollinate each other- worth a try?
     
  7. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    Another vote for St Lawrence Nursery. I just ordered about $700 worth of trees from them.
     
  8. Fonzie

    Fonzie Well-Known Member

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    Not to change the subject, but have you thought about trying Paw Paws? They are the largest fruit native to North America and you can't get any more "heirloom" than that. The varieties that are available have outstanding flavor and require practically no maintenance...especially no chemical spraying. If you have your heart set on apples o.k. if not I could post more Paw Paw info for you.

    Da Fonz
     
  9. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When talking fruit trees, it is hard to give recommendations without knowing where you are located, due to the widely varied temperature and climatic conditions that various trees can adapt to. What I grow here in NorthWestern Wisconsin may not grow in Ohio, California, Georgia, or (name your location), and vice-versa.

    Jim
     
  10. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    paw paws are a very interesting tree- i had a few hundred liners that i had grown out of the best stock of the time- the DAvis orchard. that was back when 'sunflower' was a new cultivar.60 bucks a pound of seed, and the seeds all as big as giant favas.(!)
    the seedlings are quite hard to transplant - the best time is in thier first or second winter- theyare just a loooong taproot with absolutely no secondary roots whatsoever- a lot like american persimmon seedlings but far worse. i foudn a big fail rate in teh transplants- best success i had was to dig them up with a long warren spade, and then transplant them by cutting a slit in sod, wedging it open, and sticking the whole length of that rubbery taproot into the full depth of the wedge-hole. then stomping it TIGHTLY shut. you need full contact all along that taproot with the soil.
    the tops of seedlings transplants ALWAYS died. strong liners that had been dug with at least 6 inches (more is better) of the taproot were teh best survivors, resproutning a new small leader near the base of the original seedling. you MUST replant a paw paw exactly as deep as the original was growing. i used thinned out white latex paint for this, dripping it milk thin on a sideways bundle of a hundred pawpaw liners tied up. it dried to a white mark that is pretty durable.
    i even bought a grafted one- took two or three years to bloom- wierd brown bloom- came thru cold michigan winter with some winter kill always- anxiously awaited the fall for my first fruit- only to move away to nawth carolinah.
     
  11. Deb&Al

    Deb&Al Well-Known Member

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    hi everyone,

    thanks for the information. in answer to some of your questions....

    we live in york county, pa, and we're kind of on the cusp of either mild or wild winters.

    i would be looking for apples that do well in root cellar storage, for fresh...as long as they last...eating, during the winter.

    i would like a flavorful variety as i do can applesause and make apple and pear chutney...for the lacto-fermentation aspects.
    ----------------------------------------

    i was very interested to learn from morrison, i think it was you, who said that the heirloom have thicker skins and keep better.

    could someone post what your experience is when you got your trees? i take it they come bare root?

    i don't mean every little detail, but maybe the things that went wrong, if they did.

    thanks again.

    debbie

    by the way, we want to plant apples, pears and maybe try peaches. we're not looking for oodles and oodles of harvest. about six bushels of each fruit, apples and pears and peaches, would be sufficient.

    by the way, if the trees do well, the semi-dwarf kind, how many trees would you need to get six bushels of apples?
     
  12. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would suggest that you read a bunch of good catalogs from a variety of orchards, such as the ones that I suggested earlier (their websites have all the info I think), and also get some books on orchards and fruit trees from the library, and buy some too, as you will use them a lot as your trees grow and you need to learn to prune them etc.
    We have 8 or so apples, just starting to produce good, and most are semi-dwarf with a few full size standard trees. We got a couple bushels of apples from most of them, more from a couple, and maybe 4 bushels of pears from the single pear tree.
    You might get more in your much warmer climate in Pennsylvania, and you can grow a wider variety of apples and peaches there, too, I suspect. We have to plan for 30 to 40 below every winter here.

    Jim