Organic Apple Growing: Advice From Michael Phillips

Mother interviews Michael Phillips, author of "The Apple Grower," who answers common questions about organic apple growing. Michael tends his Lost Nation Orchard in New Hampshire.

| February/March 2004

  • Organic apple growing allows you to bear fruit with considerable impact on both the flavor and the nutrient density. Trees planted in an herbicide strip braced with soluble chemical fertilizers do not yield the same delightful fare as trees sharing a well-composted soil in a diversified ecosystem.
    Photo by Fotolia/Minerva Studio
  • Recall the greatest tasting locally grown apples you've ever encountered, consult a nursery to be sure the varieties you like will ripen in your climate and then plant the varieties that suit on both counts.
    Photo by Fotolia/Mikael Damkier

Michael Phillips has written the definitive book on organic apple growing, The Apple Grower. He tends Lost Nation Orchard (www.herbsandapples.com) in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with his wife, Nancy, and their daughter, Gracie. In the following piece, Phillips answers the most common questions about backyard apple growing.

— MOTHER

Getting Started

Q: Are homegrown apples really any better than what I get at the supermarket?
MP: Supermarkets typically offer sweet, bland varieties imported from large commercial orchards. No words to describe flavor come to mind when you bite into a supermarket apple. Venture out to a neighborhood orchard during the harvest season and you should find regional favorites and heirloom varieties far more intriguing.



Additionally, how apples are grown has a considerable impact on both the flavor and the nutrient density of the fruit. Trees planted in an herbicide strip braced with soluble chemical fertilizers do not yield the same delightful fare as trees sharing a well-composted soil in a diversified ecosystem.

Now, imagine sitting under that tree, from which you just picked that apple, sighing happily and biting into its juicy, tangy perfection and realizing that you grew this gift of nature your very own self. I don't see it getting any better than that.





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