Grow your own apples

appletreeFridayI don’t have my own apple trees but I do live a short drive away from Pine Orchard Farms, a wonderful orchard in King City, Ontario where row after row of wonderful apples grow in abundance. Although home gardeners will never plant trees on this scale, the same rules apply whether you have to tend to two trees or 200.

• Choose a location that offers 8 hours of sun per day (trees in shady areas won’t produce ample fruit).
• For pollination to occur, you need to plant at least two trees within 3 o 4 m of one another.
• Well-drained soil is very important since too much moisture will harm the roots of both new and established trees.
• Likewise, the soil needs to be rich; abundant nutrients are essential for a bountiful crop, so when planting, work compost, bonemeal or bloodmeal into the planting holes dug for each sapling.
• To maintain richness in the soil, add compost each fall or spring around the base of the trees as far out as the drip line; top up with mulch except near the trunk where excessive moisture can cause rot.
• Each fall clear fallen fruits from around the base of the trees to minimize the occurrence of apple maggots and other pests that can ruin the next crop of fruit

This wraps up apple week! Check out 10 tasty ways to eat apples for more suggestions on how to make the most of the season.


11 Responses to Grow your own apples

  1. Although I live in the city, a house down the road had a small orchard on its front lawn. I always wondered why they had so many apples (our lone apple tree when I was a child didn’t yield much). Your post answered my question. Proximity to other apple trees!

  2. Terry says:

    Does it have to be another apple tree? What if you had an apple and a pear tree, say, in close proximity? Would that work?

  3. Shaslam says:

    Wow, the 10 ways to eat apples was great–I think I need to renew my subscription to Homemakers! The apple-fig bread pudding with maple walnut sauce is going on my list of recipes to try, which, because of your blog is getting mighty long! Can’t wait for the cooler weather to do some baking–thanks.

  4. Laura says:

    I run an urban fruit harvesting program in Toronto. From our experience picking from trees on residential property, pollination easily occurs in the city when a neighbour has a fruit tree nearby. As long as there are other trees relatively close (3-4 m seems quite strict), city trees seem to produce with great abundance.

    Thanks for this great article! I’ll share it with our networks, for sure.

  5. Daniel says:

    I had a childhood friend whose father had a huge apple tree in his backyard, and my friend and I used to climb all over it when it was time to harvest. It was the perfect thing for a couple of rambunctious boys to do in the fall.

    And those apples were like nothing else–they blew away what you could buy in the store. Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories!

    Casual Kitchen

  6. My Gran has a huge apple tree in her garden, I always make sure to stock up when I go visit. Shame I don’t have room in my garden really.

  7. Oh and that is one beautiful photo 🙂

  8. Have you tried Elstar apples? I just did, and I wanna get me one of those trees…

  9. Hauptbahnhof says:


    […]Grow your own apples « Dana McCauley’s food blog[…]…

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