Health And Healing
Every organic garden should have at least one good apple tree, I believe. Apples are very beneficial to the health. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, the old saying goes.
Heritage apples have been shown to be much higher in nutrients than modern-day apples which are grown mainly to appeal to the eye, rather than for their healthful aspects. Heritage apples contain plenty of those antioxidants and phytochemicals which have been proven for their ability in helping prevent diseases such as cancer and arthritis.
There is, thankfully, a trend now for people to procure heritage apple trees, which are very old varieties, for their garden orchards.
Putting down cuttings is a way in which you can propagate your own trees from an old variety of apple tree. The method may not always work, but there is a good chance that you may get one or two lucky strikes from the cutting method of propagation.
The good thing about the cutting method is that the newly grown tree will be true to type and will produce the same kind of fruit as the original tree.
Some varieties of apple respond better to the cutting method than others. I have had wonderful success from an unknown old tree in the Waikato which had smallish but sweet apples, similar to a Cox’s Orange. Lately, I have managed to grow one cutting out of several I took from my daughter’s Dunedin orchard. This apple tree is quite old and gnarly, but is overloaded with beautiful big apples every year which stew up into a lovely creamy sweet pulp, and also make good eating apples too. I am looking forward to when it will begin to fruit.
I took most of my cuttings in the spring-time, just before the apples began to produce their new leaves. However, I have still had results from taking cuttings at Christmas time in New Zealand, when the apple tree had very young leaves on it.
The secret is to not let the new budding shoots dry out, or the new green leaves, if they have sprouted. So put your cuttings in a dampish place where they will get the sun for only a short time of the day. Right alongside a compost bin on the shadier side is an excellent place. The nutrients from the compost infiltrate the soil around the bin, and these nutrients help the cuttings to grow roots. Make sure to water the area where the cuttings have been planted so that the soil does not dry out.
Take cuttings around 18 inches to 2 feet long. Bury half of the length of the cutting in the ground.
Pushing the cuttings in at an angle amongst other leafy garden plants such as comfrey, which offer some shade as well as nutrients to the upcoming young apple tree can help the cutting to take root. Remember, again, to water enough so that the soil does not dry out.
I have found the occasional drink of watered down coffee grounds to be helpful in growing apple trees from cuttings. The high nitrogen content in coffee may be why this helps new growth.
Even if you think none have taken, try to leave the cuttings in until the following spring, when you might be surprised. Some cuttings will be obviously dead by the end of the summer, and you can remove those ones, but leave in those cuttings which still show promise, even though they may not be showing new leaves. Sometimes, the plant is busy building a root system below ground, even when it has not managed to sprout new leaves. You will know when springs comes whether it has made the grade or not.
Apples can help prevent constipation, acidity of the stomach, help digestion, help prevent arthritis, cancer and many other diseases.
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