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View Diary: At least make it easy for hardworking Americans to create FOOD (105 comments)

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  •  I've got a couple of apple trees on my property (5+ / 0-)

    I don't think I've ever seen an edible fruit off either one.  Some years they develop small apples, maybe a couple of inches across, but between birds, squirrels, wasps and who knows what else, they never seem to make it to 'ripe' before they're gone.  Most years they don't seem to fruit at all.  I suspect most foods can't simply be grown through 'benign neglect', and that those lawn farmers would have to learn how to tend them, and spend a lot more time working to produce actual food.  Just an observation, not trying to actually discourage your idea - I think it's a good one overall, but I just think like anything else worth doing, it will take more work than it seems at first glance.

    •  you ain't whistling dixie, doc (5+ / 0-)

      despite my pastoral ode above, I have learned that lesson, too. Growing food is not a simple task.
      I didn't necessarily want to learn about powdery mildew, Early Blight, Asparagus beetles, cabbage moths, soil pH, calcium deficiencies, and more, but it goes with the territory.
      (If you treat your lawn, and the trees are in it or nearby, don't eat the fruit under any circumstances. Chemicals could be one reason for poor fruiting. Of course, it could be a nitrogen issue, lack of pollinating insects, poorly draining soil...)

      Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

      by kamarvt on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 06:26:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is all about your soil (4+ / 0-)

        Healthy soil, with alot of composted leaves and some well rotted manure will produce a bumper crop.

        Try this- in the fall, designate a new garden patch.
        Pile leaves- anything but oak- much too acid and takes years to break down- a foot thick over newspaper covered with a couple of inches of fresh or rotted manure.
        Cover with a tarp, until freezing, if you live in a windy area.
        Remove tarp and let the winter snow and rain work their magic.

        Next spring, do not till- tilling destroys the soil structure.
        Plant your seedlings down thru the semi- rotted leaves.
         You will have a fantastic garden- check moisture and water with soaker hose laid on the surface.

        Try to disturb the soil in your garden as little as possible- this method can be used to rehabilitate a spent garden space.
        Leaves are solid gold.

        •  ah, yes. comforter compost. (3+ / 0-)

          there are some great names for different types of piles (Hospital Heap is one of my faves). That's the next step for the corn patch I've begun making by suffocating the grass. No-till makes a lot of sense, but since my space is limited, I cannot rotate crops, and so I have problems with plant diseases. I generally rotate the soil, and add finished compost to revitalize. I'm also pretty good about testing the soil, so I have an idea where the pH is, nutrient levels, etc.
          No problem getting leaves in VT right about now, either. Maybe I can sell tickets to my compost pile to the tourists...

          Oh, yeah; tourists? We fixed our roads, and most of the bridges, too. What Are You Waiting For?!?

          Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

          by kamarvt on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:36:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You're right, apples can be tricky (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Siri, Orinoco, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

      There were two decrepit apples on our 1 acre lot when we moved in, and we planted a Wolf River apple tree about 7 years ago.  I set in pruning the old trees, and they do make fruit (one every year, one every other year, generally) but just about none of it can be eaten out of hand.

      I tried bagging the apples (which you should investigate) but it hasn't worked for me.  It could be that by the time the apples are 1 inch in diameter, it's too late to bag them.  I do make a lot of applesauce, but it is labor intensive because I have to cut off all the brown areas and discard the worms.

      I'm actually considering using some sort of spray, or at least I'm thinking I should look into it.

      Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

      by DrFood on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 06:29:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sounds like your apple trees need some nutrients (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

      The best way to restore stressed trees is to feed with good manure in the early spring and then mulch heavily with hay all the way out to the dripline of the branches, keeping the hay a couple of inches away from the trunk.

      The hay breaks down slowly and gives additional nutrients to your tree as well as retaining water.
      Your tree also needs adequate water during fruiting.

      Your tree 'wants' to produce apples but is too sick to do that.

      Go for it and hopefully next year you will be swimming in fruit.

    •  A great website for growing almost anything is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN It's a forum format and the people there are very, very helpful. The collective wisdom of the gardening community is amazing.

    •  it might not be the right climate for them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

      i dunno, i am far from an ag expert, and manage to come away with tons of fruit from my citrus, peach and pomegranate trees, with basic pruning every once in a while.

      there are harder crops and easier ones, but there's a lot that are close to idiot proof, and don't require huge investments of time. getting to where you grow all of your food, or even most of your fruit and veggie allotment, is another story entirely, but  even supplementary food helps.

      think about how much time, money, effort and skill goes into growing lawn. if people spent the same effort on gardens, they'd get a decent harvest of food. you can do a fair amount just with pots on the porch.

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