Permaculture Words of the Week:
I wanted to start this blog around the theme of trees and why they are necessary, not just optional to your garden
In Permaculture, everything tends towards a succession and change from “pioneering” species to more perennial long-term species such as trees.
This is why the natural succession of any piece of land (if let alone) will tend towards a forest succession. It may take 100 years for it to become a forest, but we can accelerate it and design our gardens to become highly productive, low-maintenance food forests!
This takes some time to sink in. Usually, I think about this when I drive out to farms in the west and I see old abandoned silos grown over by vines and eventually trees.
So the Food Forest Challenge is this:
The picture below is of an apple tree grown from seed by one of the elementary students in our after-school garden program called “Sprouts.” He did nothing more than eat our “healthy snack” and plant it in a dirt cup.
The prize? A packet of seeds of course! Just send us a picture of your attempt to grow an apple “rootstock.” Yes, that’s the fancy word for your seedling. More about rootstocks and Growing Fruit Trees for your Backyard Orchard here.
If you have specific questions or comments about growing apple trees, do not hesitate to comment below.
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Hi, I love the idea, The children and I are already growing avocado trees and Curcuma I have put peach stones outside to get them cold before planting them in March (we live in north-eastern France, It has been around -12° C all of January ). We didn’t think of doing apples. Not exotic enough maybe! Will they grow to give table fruits or will they be more like wild apples? How long will it take for them to give fruits?
We really like receiving your emails, they are always fun.
Marie Pierre so glad to hear from you!
OK so the secret is these apples will not likely grow into the apples that they were originally. They call that “growing true to seed.” However, they will make good “rootstock.” Root stock is the mother plant upon which you (and don’t get scared of this word) “graft” on another sweet apple variety.
Here in the States, the grafting branches or “scion wood” that you would later attach to the root stock are very inexpensive. Sometimes a few dollars from an apple orchard. You can graft so many different kinds of apples onto one tree that literally grown many different varieties of apples!
I would write a blog post on this except that a colleague of mine named William from Eastern Europe, has already done an excellent job of it. https://permacultureapprentice.com/permaculture-growing-trees-from-seeds/
Now that being said, in America, they say that many of the apple trees that are the quintessential American fruit were planted randomly by a man named “Johnny Appleseed”
Some seeds tasted amazing and some were “crab apples.” So best of luck with that and please send me pictures so that you can be featured on our challenge email.
So happy your children are enjoying it!