The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Two years of high-density apple growth

Two years of apples

I'd like to put in my order now for a May 2015 with no hard freezes to nip our apple flowers.  Because our high-density trees have grown remarkably over the last two years (2013 in the top photo, 2014 below), and I suspect they could give us quite a few fruits if the weather holds off.

Snaking an apple treeIt's a bit hard to get the full effect from photos like these, but trust me --- you feel like you're in a miniature forest when you walk by the row nowadays.  Mark's already talking about snaking the tops of the taller trees (see left) so they don't grow too far above his reach, and I'm itching for the leaves to fall so I can set out our second high-density row with this year's graftlings.  I wonder if I'll get as much joy from eating the fruits as I do from watching the trees grow?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Any possibility of putting some type of temporary plastic "greenhouse" over the trees in the spring? I sometimes throw an old clear shower curtain over some of my beds that have tender veggies in them in case of frost. Have a problem here with apple cedar rust due to all the cedar trees in the County. Unfortunately, the research I've done says the only way to combat that is to remove all those trees within 1/2 mile of my property and I don't think my neighbors would be very happy if I showed up with a chainsaw. So bought apples it is. On a good note, the Apple Festival in Erwin is the first weekend in October and I should be able to get some good apples from local growers there.
Comment by Nayan Tue Sep 23 09:16:57 2014
Maybe it would be worth an investment in some large tarps? Or even old sheets from a thrift shop?
Comment by Terry Tue Sep 23 09:35:22 2014
My neighbor gets up in the middle of the night on late, hard freezes and sprays water over his fruit trees. He claims that this prevents the frost from nipping them. I have never tried this for myself, or verified his claims.
Comment by Faith T Tue Sep 23 12:04:23 2014
With regard to the suggestion of spraying water on trees during potential late freezes, that's what the citrus growers in Florida do. Not sure how that works but apparently it does.
Comment by Nayan Tue Sep 23 20:07:06 2014

Nayan, maybe you could try pears--I've heard that they can be much easier in places where apples have a hard time. At my parents' house are several apple trees that have a hard time producing apples good for hand eating (although they make lots that are good for the cider press), but one pear tree that produces bushels of amazing dark red fruits every year (as long as there's no late frosts).

Along the same lines--Anna, I think you've been doing some experimenting with pears on your homestead, but I couldn't find any recent updates in the archives. Any luck with your disease-resistant rootstocks, etc.?

Comment by Jake Fri Sep 26 01:02:34 2014
From what I understand, most citrus grown in FL can tolerate only a few degrees of frost, so by spraying water to freeze on the leaves during a hard freeze, it protects them from getting so cold they are damaged.
Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Sep 30 08:52:22 2014

Thanks Jake for the idea of pears, a fruit I love! I think there are some folks around here that actually sell pear trees that are from stock in my area. I will look for them.

I'm only sorry I'm not able to grow apples as I love apples as well. :(

Comment by Nayan Mon Nov 3 08:39:08 2014

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