growing my own fruit

i’ve been sort of fascinated by the idea of growing my own fruit ever since reading michael pollen’s botany of desire.  In it he explains how john chapman the man we think of randomly scattering seeds all across the ohio valley was actually a land speculator and nursery man.  in days of old apples were used for hard cider, not the table fruit that we’ve come to associate them with, and so the focus was not the same.  in order to grow lots of trees folks didn’t bother with grafted root stock they grew everything from seed. some would taste lousy, but you threw them all into the press anyway and it made the cider have that much more complexity.   occasionally a tree would have especially good fruit and this could then be grafted to reproduce more of this variety.  basically every single red delicious tree in the whole world is derived from one tree which just happened to come from iowa.  these valuable varieties could fetch a premium, and so a vision has been molded in my mind of vacant lots with apple seedlings planted all over the city.  at the very least they can be used as root stock, or for making cider or they might even yield a really great variety.  it’s strange to me how little folks want to plant trees that have edible offerings in the city.  it seems to me that they are blamed for creating a mess on the ground.  that mess is called food!  

i’ve managed to get a few apples grown from seed, but not to many of them have survived more than one year.  i admit to gross negligence on my part as being a huge reason.  After getting them started i’ve dug them up and put them in the greenhouse and pretty much just forgot about them.  which is how i’ve lost them, as i’ve forgotten to water them.

now if all i want to do is reduce cost of perennials, making cuttings seems like a simpler way.  so this week i started some cuttings from my gooseberry and currants.  it seems like almost too easy, i gathered some about a dozen 8 inch long branches that are young, removes all but the top 8 or sow buds and then put them in pots.  I used blocking mix not my lighter potting mix since it tends to stay wet longer.  rumor has it that they should start rooting in about a month.  most sources said that this should be done in the fall, so if it doesn’t work, i’ll just try again in the fall. 

if this works it could be a really great method for me to make plenty more fruit, at least of smaller fruits.  with new fruit varieties on the way i’ll have more stock to take from.  and then i could plant all this out all over the city.  i think one of the single largest factors for folks not planting more fruits is the cost of the stock, and if we can lower that cost we can make it so everyone all across the city can plant fruits.  i imagine being able to stroll and eat all across the city.


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