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How to Start a new apple orchard

Is it true that an apple a day may help keep the doctor away? Yes, it certainly is true. There are many health benefits from eating apples.

Apples are a good source of fiber. Pectin a source of soluble fiber helps to prevent cholesterol build up in blood vessel walls. The insoluble fiber is like a cleanser for your intestinal tract holding water and moving food through the digestive system. Insoluble fiber can be found in the skin so don’t cut it off.

Apples have always had an anecdotal healthy reputation and that reputation has and continues to be confirmed by past and ongoing medical research. The bottom line is that eating apples are good for you and the health benefits of apples are numerous and include anything from lowering bad cholesterol to reducing the risk of contracting cancer.

An orchard is a lovely way to grow this tasty and healthy fruit but it will take planning and time before you’re harvesting.

 

Reasons to Eat Apples

  • Apples are a perfect portable snack food
  • Apples are fat and cholesterol free
  • Apples are sodium free
  • Apples contain antioxidants which may help fight off diseases
  • Apples are a great source of dietary fiber
  • Apples can strengthen lung function
  • Apples contain many vitamins and minerals
  • Apples come in hundreds of varieties
  • Apples are low in calories
  • Apples have no artificial colors or flavors

 

Picking the site

Apple orchards, once successfully established, can last for decades and you really do not want to be faced with the prospect of starting again if your selection of the orchard site does not work out for one reason or another.

First of all, consider where an apple orchard might work in terms of the topography of your land. Apple trees cannot tolerate standing in water, therefore discount any low lying areas that have or may be subject to flooding or likely to retain water from run off. Even if you have a low lying area that does not flood or hold water it may well be a frost pocket where cold air settles.

These areas can kill the apple blossom and the developing fruit. Once you have selected an area that might be suitable, check out the soil. Ideally, the soil should be rich, loamy, and well drained; apple trees will also grow in sandy or clay soil as a second best. Having identified your best likely spot, you should be looking to test your soil’s PH. Aim for a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 as an ideal but a PH between 5.5 and 8.0 is tolerable too.

Related Content: Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop

 

Selecting trees

Apple trees come in numerous varieties and growth patterns. Some varieties will be more suitable to your area than others. However, bear in mind that for pollination to work you will require at least two varieties of apple tree in your orchard. In order to maximize fruiting, you should also be looking for apple trees that blossom around the same time, that could be early, mid-season, or late season, your local nursery should be able to advise you of the right varieties that will work for you, especially as some varieties are simply not compatible with each other as their blossom is sterile.

Now it is up to you to select the best trees that both suit your needs and your site. Some apple trees, called standards, can grow 25 feet high or more and can live more than fifty years. However, you will be waiting five or six years for apples from these trees and the height of the tree may be a deterrent for you as the trees will need pruning at some time.

Smaller varieties such as semi-dwarfs and dwarfs however, could be producing within two to three years but are not as strong or as long lived. In terms of production, standard trees should be producing around eight bushels of apples each, semi-dwarf’s five bushels each, and dwarf’s one to two bushels each. Again, talk to your local nursery man and establish what will best work for you.

 

Planting

Ideally, you will want to buy apple trees that are around 3 months old and stand about one feet high. If you think the roots are dry when you get them home soak the root ball in water for 24 hours. When you are ready to plant you will need to dig a hole that is 2 feet by 2 feet and about two feet deeper, allowing the root system to spread out when you back fill part of the hole with loose soil.

Gently spread the tree’s roots out when you plant the tree, firm the soil around the roots, and backfill so that the place where the tree’s roots meet the trunk is up to two inches above the ground. Pack the soil down and water the tree well; no fertilizer is required at the planting stage.

After planting your trees remove a circle of grass or ground cover to a radius of three feet, taking the tree as the center of the circle, and add a layer of mulch, which will deter weeds and keep your tree well supplied with water and nutrients.

In terms of spacing, dwarf apple trees will need staking and should be planted between eight to 12 feet apart, semi-dwarf apple trees are hardier and should not require staking and can be planted ten to 15 feet apart, while standard trees should be planted 17 to 20 feet apart; proper spacing should ensure the effective pollination of your orchard. Your orchard is established now all you have to do is look after it.

Book for various variety of apple seedlings

 

Apples trees seedlings

 

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Apple Farming – An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Many time we hear the phrase and think it’s just a proverb, but hey it is true. “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

Apples have a good claim to promote health. They contain Vitamin C, which aids the immune system, and phenols, which reduce cholesterol. They also reduce tooth decay by cleaning one’s teeth and killing off bacteria. It has also been suggested by Cornell University researchers that the quercetin found in apples protects brain cells against neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease.

Apples are one of the most popular, flavorful and healthful fruits grown in the world. Three-fourths of America’s population, both young and old, name apples as one of their favorite fruits for snacking. They are also great with meals. Apples are pre-packaged in nature’s own wrapper. Several servings of apples and apple products should be included in children’s diet every day to help build a healthy body.

Today, the science of apple growing is called pomology. Over the years many people have worked together to refine methods to produce the best formed and tastiest apples. It takes about four or five years for apple trees to produce their first fruits. Apple trees are grown on farms, better known as apple orchards. In spring apple trees blossom with fragrant, sweet smelling white flowers.

Core facts about Apples

  • Apples come in many varieties– Apples come in a range of interesting flavors, offering a variety not available in most other fruits and vegetables.
  • Apples are convenient– One of Mother Nature’s original fast foods, they can be eaten fresh, or processed as sauce, juice and slices.
  • Apples are nutritious– Apples are a very good fruit for building healthy bodies.
  • Contains no fat, and contains no saturated fat – helps reduce risk of cancer.
  • Contains no sodium– helps reduce risk or high blood pressure.
  • Is an excellent source of fiber– helps reduce cholesterol and may help prevent certain types of cancer.
  • Has only 80 calories.
  • Contains no cholesterol.
  • Contains no artificial colors or flavors.

Related Story: HEALTHY BENEFITS OF LEMON AND HOW TO GROW THEM

 

COMMERCIAL APPLE PRODUCTION IN KENYA

Commercial apple production requires two essential preconditions: cold winters and relatively hot summers. Apples do well in areas with an annual rainfall of 800 to 1100 mm. Apples can do well in different soil types as long as the soil is deep, fertile, properly aerated and well drained. Sufficient soil moisture is desired during bud break and fruit set for proper fruit quality and yield.

Most apple cultivars are not sufficiently self-pollinating; it is advisable to plant other cultivars that act as pollinators, these include winter banana, Jonathan and golden dorset. A spacing of 2-3m between plants and 3-4m from row to row is ideal. Soil and leaf analysis will offer great insights and will determine the fertilizer program to be adapted.

Some varieties of apples that are popular in the country include Winter Banana, Anna and Top Red, all of which are viable in Kenya’s climate. Apples grow best in sandy to sandy-loamy soils that run deep and drain easily. The recommended pH for the soils is 5.5, which is slightly basic. If you are not sure what kind of soil you have, you can send samples to laboratories for testing.

You can start with a few seedlings, lets say 10 plants. Assuming that one will give you an average of 200-500 fruits within an year you have 2000 – 5000 fruits that you can sell between 10-15. This will approximately give you between 20000-50000 Shillings if you sell at Ksh 10 and between 30,000 and 75,000 if you sell at Ksh 15.

All you need to do is get out of your comfort zone and take that bold step. Order your seedlings today. Start early, plan well, and the returns are wonderful. Contact us today for more information.

 

Apples trees seedlings

 

 

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Varieties of fruit Seedlings

Get all grafted fruit seedlings from us and get free advice on planting, management and marketing of the fruits for free. We have all types of fruits seedling including.

Mangoes (Kent, Tommy, Ngowe and apple varieties) @150
Hass avocados/fuerte @150
Oranges @150
Muthakwa grafted tree tomatoes @100
Apples @400
Lime @150
Lemons@100
Tangerines @150
Macadamia @400
Grafted purple passion fruits @70
Aplicot @300
Pepino melons @100

 

Tissue culture bananas @250
Guavas @100
Plums @400
Peaches @300
Pomegranates @300
Kiwi @800
Pawpaw @50
Grapes @250

Delivery services available countrywide. Contact 0702536978/0723662773 for more. Visit our offices at Hermes house opposite kTDA, Tom mboya in Nairobi, Nyeri at Kang’aru House.