Apples

If you have ever tasted a home grown apple, you will never go back to those bland tasteless ones that they sell in the grocery store. The reason they taste so blah is because the varieties are selected for their ability to ship and store well, not for their flavor. Planting an apple tree is a long term investment that will bear fruit for years. It is also quite an area of study. I don't pretend to be an expert orchardist. But in trying to start my own small planting of apple trees I did some research and I will share what I learned with you. I'm going to name some varieties here, but keep in mind that I am not familiar with all the different types that are available for different regions of the country. Apples are classified according to how their fruits are best used. For instance a dessert apple is one that can be eaten fresh-as is-straight off the tree. Like Fuji and Gala. Fuji is one of the best keeping sweet apples. Next is your processing apples, these are the best for pies, cobblers and other baked apple goodies. A Winesap or a Gravenstein is a good choice. Of if you like to make applesauce try a Mcintosh. For cider you might want a Golden Delicious or a Jonathon. Expert cider makers will blend two or more types for just the right taste. The last group is storage apples, varieties that won't turn brown, get soft or lose flavor in storage. Storage apples tend to ripen later in the season, have a crisp texture and firm skins. Fuji, Goldrush, Arkansas Black are good keepers. For longest storage life, chill apples after harvest and store in a cool, humid root cellar.

First, be sure you have the best rootstock for your needs. This might be a dwarf, semidwarf, or standard. Dwarfs keep your tree size small but I have heard that they have more problems than the other two. Some rootstock are better for wet soils, while others are more tolerant of dry. I would recommend you check with your local extension agent for the best choices for your area. Good drainage and plenty of sunshine are critical. Be sure you don't dig your planting hole too deep. If your tree is grafted the graft should always be at least 6 inches above ground level. If you need to amend the soil to provide fertilizer, go in a two foot radius amount the tree, not just the planting hole. Mulch after planting to maintain soil moisture, but be careful putting it right up against the trunk as this is where rodents will hide and may damage your trees.

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Vegetables ar frequently classified according to their ability to survive frosts. Hardy or cool season crops will make it through medium to heavy frosts. Peas, beets, and kale are some that can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked or in my case as soon as you can stand to be out in the garden. Semi-hardy will survive a light frost. The seeds will germinate when the soil temperatures are kinda low. Usually two or three weeks before the last frost. Your area may be even longer. Tender plants like tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers are injured or killed by frost and they don't germinate in cold soil.

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Here is a time saver. Keep small rubber bands around the neck of your herb scissors. They'll be easy to find when your harvesting bunches of herbs in the garden.

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Here are some excellant herbs for growing indoors; basil, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, taragon, thyme.

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Here is one of the best ways to prevent a lot of diseases; rotate your crops. By changing the location of disease prone crops in your garden you can prevent disease organisms from building up large populations.

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Beet seeds for some reason need to be well tucked in. Cover the seeds with 1/2 inch of soil and stomp on them, just kidding, but you get the idea. Beet seeds are notorious for spotty germination. They may be coated with a germination inhibitor. Soak the seeds for an hour or two before planting.

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Brandie

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow."

 

 

 
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