Josh Garbo wrote:My plan for this is to collect seeds this Fall (from local orchards or online). Then stratify outside, over winter, in local soil (no amendments), in a pot with good drainage and wire mesh to keep animals out.
Not sure yet if I will plant the seeds directly in spring, or try to grow seedlings out first. I've heard different arguments there.
Scott Foster wrote:Apple seeds are super easy to start. I have done the soil in a jar method, and the wet paper towel in a plastic container method. The paper towel method was more effective for me. This fall I planted seeds directly in the ground.
In the beginning, I planted a small number of seeds. Now I plant as many seeds as I can get my hands on. I will do this with everything moving forward.
If it's good, it stays, if not it's biomass.
Of all the seeds planted none of the baby trees have shown disease resistance, so I yank them. (orchard apples from my area) The orchard seeds are from sprayed orchards.
My area has cedar apple rust. The rust absolutely decimates the heirlooms in place. Because of this pernicious pest replanting is in order.
Liberty apple which is very rust resistant is now the main apple. They did really well last year and seemed to be fast growers — no apples as of yet. The Liberty apple is a strain that comes from the Kazakhstan/Silvestri apple.
The problem with liberty is finding pollinators that are also resistant to rust. (Liberty is a triploid)
What I feel in my bones is that cloned apples are sick apples. They have almost no stamina. I will not spray my trees...period.
Seeds are the future and in my humble opinion are more in-line with permaculture values. That's not to say I don't have clones, I do. You work with what you have. I'm not judgemental on this; it's just my take on it. I'm all for seeds, it is something to strive for. Even if you're entire orchard is cloned it might be a good idea to start a tree or two from seed. Even knowing you may no reap what you sow so to speak.
Recently received 75 Silvestri seeds (Kazakhstan Apples) and I'm going to start planting these in a micro orchard along with edible crab apples, and the Liberties.
Out front, I have a pear tree that is close to 100 years old. Last fall I started about 100 seeds from this tree.
So the goal is to plant as many seeds as possible and select the best of the bunch and see what happens. Any seeds that make it and show signs of rust resistance will stay in the ground. As the trees mature, I will use the bad trees for woodcraft or compost. So I guess my dreams of having a thriving apple orchard are not a short-term goal. I may be dead but I figure having the genetic diversity in the ground and growing is something I can do for a future generation.
I will not give up on apples but it's definitely an act of patience.