Thursday, March 23, 2017

Heritage Apples: A Day on the Farm

This weekend we focused on the orchard.  I am not quite done pruning but decided to go ahead and spray the orchard with dormant oil.  All the trees are in such a hurry to bloom, I needed to get the spray on.  It was already too late for apricots and plums.  I will eventually finish up the pruning.

My hubby getting the spray ready.

Planting Some Heritage Apple Trees

Every year while pruning I regret having so many trees, but I quickly forget when catalogs come.  I ordered 3 more heritage apples to add to the orchard.  So I have 25 total fruit trees.  I will say you need to be committed to produce good fruit. These trees require a lot of care and attention.

I like purchasing bare root trees rather than potted.

I love the history behind heritage apple trees. I already have a Black Arkansas and Ashamed Kernel.   The Black Arkansas originated in 1870.  Ashamed Kernel is at the top of the list of the apple connoisseur for best tasting apple.  It has a drab russeted appearance and is from England around 1720.

I planted 3 new trees:  Spitzenberg, Yellow Newton Pippin, and a Belle de Boskoop (Don't you just love that name!).  I am so excited to add them to the orchard.

Known to be one of two of Thomas Jefferson's favorite apples.  He planted 32 of these at Monticello.

Yellow Newton Pippin.  A pippin was Jefferson's other favorite apple.  It originated in 1700 and was also George Washington's favorite dessert apple. I'm prepared to entertain the Founder's who were also avid gardeners.

When planting fruit trees, dig a hole big enough to accommodate the roots. Do not amend the soil.  Spread out the roots and cover.  Do not bury the graft union.  Fruit trees (scions) are grafted onto root stock and you can see the were they were grafted.  Water that is all that needs to be done the first year.  If you plant dwarf trees they will need to be staked in windy areas.

With all the work that needs to be done in early spring, don't forget to enjoy the beauty of the season.  Below is a Nanking Cherry I pruned as a small tree.  I have 3 of them and they are so gorgeous!  They are early spring bloomers and produce in June small tart cherries I juice for jellies and syrups.

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