How To Decide Which Type of Apple Tree to Plant

Posted September 19th, 2013 by Nanette Heffernan. Comment (0).

Organic Homegrown ApplesIf you have the room, and the sun, then planting fruit trees is a wonderful way to reduce your grocery bill and stay green. You can find the actual “how-to’s” for planting fruit trees on most gardening blogs, but what you often won’t find is how to decide which variety of tree to plant. So for all of you homesteaders out there, fall is the time to narrow down your apple of choice.

My yard is done in edible landscaping. I’ve worked in twenty-one fruit trees, table grapes, lots of half wine barrels with berries and tons vegetables in between my lavender and flax for year round appeal. It’s beautiful, but only because I took lots of time to plan it before digging a single hole. Especially when it came to my fruit trees.

Apples store amazingly well. So well in fact, that most of the apples available in your local grocery store in the summer are from last year’s crop unless they were shipped from half way across the world (in which case their carbon footprint is huge!). With three kids to feed, I was purchasing over twenty apples a week, and just one organic Fuji runs about $.075. That meant that planting an apple tree had the potential to save me $70 a month! And if I was able store some I could stretch my savings into the summer.

I chose my apple trees carefully. I researched varieties online to determine what would grow well in my area. But more importantly I made certain to taste whatever I was interested in first and bought nine of every type of apple I was considering; nine Fuji, nine Pink Lady and so on. I wrapped each set of apples in a paper bag and put them in the refrigerator. Then on the first day of the month, for nine months, we cut open one of each type as a test to see how its texture and flavor held up to long-term storage. In the end we had two clear winners and my patients paid off.

Four years later I have a large enough crop to feed my family apples eight months out of the year and put up 4-5 cases of applesauce, all of which saves me over $700 annually. In my opinion, that’s time well spent.

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