Tuesday, September 29, 2015

You Might Be A Homesteader If . . .



. . . your purchase of nine new apple trees makes it feel like Christmas just came three months early.


We have struggled for years trying to get our seven semi-dwarf apple trees to bear mature fruit with any kind of consistency.

This next and new venture (filled with determination and gusto) has us experimenting with dwarf trees.  We just got four Zestar, four Honey Crisp and one Chestnut Crabapple.

So now we have these new trees.  We have an area in which to plant them.  Next we'll need to build a grow house around them.  (Yeah, I totally realize it would be more sensible [and a mite bit easier] to build the grow house first and then plant the trees in the structure, but sometimes it's fun to make things more difficult than they have to be.  Snort.)

Truth to tell, we had the opportunity of obtaining these three year old trees right here and now and didn't want to pass it up.

Recently, through lots of research, book learnin', and encountering a great (apple-growing) mentor in the area, we've come to the conclusion (go ahead and label us slow learners) that rarely will apples ripen and mature in our far northern climate without some help on both ends of the season --- spring and fall.  Hence, a grow house.

This will be a wood-framed structure covered with greenhouse plastic having a wide door on each end and panels on the top which will be constructed so they can be opened when necessary.

I promise to post more about this "little" venture as it progresses.

Right now, I gotta go dig some holes.

19 comments:

Kristina said...

Oh happy day for you! Very exciting!

Susan said...

So, what you're saying is, you might be a homesteader if you make lots of work for yourself? I'm in!!!!

DFW said...

I tried apple growing last year & they didn't make it. They do sell them at the arbor day sales & swear they should grow & produce the type they are selling but they didn't. I doubt I'll try again. Think I'll put in a couple of pear trees instead. Good luck with yours!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Yes, it is. It is, it is, it is!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Yepper. And you qualify in spades. (Said in the kindest way possible.) ;o}

Mama Pea said...

DFW - The more we learn about apple growing, the more we realize it's not as easy as one might think. (Drat.) We planted two pear trees (love pears) but one died and the remaining one never even blossoms. I think it needs a friend for pollination.)

Dawn McHugh said...

Good luck with your apple venture you should pp over to Kevs blog English Homestead he is a bit of an expert on apple growing :-)

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Nice selection of tree's, I'm happy for you!!!
Wish we had some apple trees here :-(
High Ho its off to work you go .......

Sparkless said...

That sounds very interesting. We've got some heirloom apples and I'm going to try to grow a tree from the seeds. I know it will take many years but it should be interesting to see if I can get one tree to grow from the seeds from one apple.

Laurie said...

Wow! I am very intrigued by your grow house. I've never heard of them, but then again we wouldn't have a need for them in the south. Honey Crisps are one of my favorites. Hope you have great luck with them.

odiie said...

Wow! That is exciting. So many trees at once. I planted a Honey Crisp this summer and I hope it does well. I've never heard of grow houses, either. It'll be interesting to follow this.

odiie said...

I've heard that rarely do you know what you're getting when you plant apple seeds. Almost all apple trees are grafted. I did it anyways. I planted some seeds from a wonderful old fashioned crabapple two years ago and they're out in my herb bed until they get a bit more height to them. They may grow faster than you think.

Mama Pea said...

I agree with you, odiie. Even if you can grow an "apple" tree planted from an apple seed, often times it will never bear fruit. Or if it does, the fruit will not be like the tree the seed originally came from. It's a "mystery" to me, but to get another apple tree from one you like, you have to graft a branch or twig from that tree onto healthy root stock.

Mama Pea said...

Laurie - Did you know the Honey Crisp apples were developed right here in Minnesota? (Gives us something to brag about!) Thanks for the good wishes.

Mama Pea said...

odiie - Gotta admit "grow house" is just our made up term for an idea we saw someone else doing. He made a metal frame from old water piping and hung plastic over that. Both ends were open but it gave the apple trees some protection and raised the temperature inside significantly. We wanted a structure more permanent so designed what will be our "grow house." I can see it would work for vegetables that we have trouble growing up here, too. Much like a hoop house. You know, for tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc. Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I can't wait to see how this works out for you!!! Coincidentally, I was reading about the Alaskan trials of growing apples in high tunnels. The trials took place in Fairbanks and with some success. So this should work out for you! BTW, I'm glad to be reading you again after a busy summer. -M

Mama Pea said...

M - Good to have you back on board!

Mama Pea said...

Dawn - Thank you for the push to English Homestead. I'll follow through on that!

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Apples are one "fresh" (in the root cellar) fruit we'd love to have for months into the winter. If I had a good tasting apple, I'd use it for a snack every day.

Do apple trees grow well in your area?