A Note to our Organic Friends
If you live anywhere except the desert, you probably already know the difficulties that are inherent in growing fruit that is acceptable for sale. It is not impossible, just difficult. Disease Resistance goes a long way towards making organic or low-spray input a reality. Most DRC's are not well known, but that is largely due to lack of marketing. In blind taste tests, varieties such as Liberty perform as well or better than well-known apples such as Empire and Delicious. The new PRI introduction, GoldRush, is a superb eating apple, and I've sampled several advanced selections from the breeding programs that are excellent. I believe that the future of Fruit Breeding is in Disease resistance. Someday soon, commercially important varieties will not require sprays for scab (30-50% of the average spray bill) or fire blight. Some of these varieties carry multiple resistances -- Liberty, Enterprise, Pristine, Williams Pride and Redfree are resistant (or tolerant) to cedar apple rust and fire blight as well as immune to apple scab.
Cummins Nursery is not an "organic" nursery. However, we are farmers, and we consider ourselves to be stewards of the land. We treat the soil as our friend. Long rotations and good cover crops and lots and lots of bull-barn manure!! Through careful insect monitoring, we spray only when it becomes necessary, and we use a spray specific for the insect pest. We do not subscribe to the prevalent nursery philosophy of -Who cares, nobody eats a tree. We try to be good stewards of land and water and the air we breathe.
Reading Must: Michael Phillips' new book, The Apple Grower, is by far the best publication yet available on Organic Orcharding.
Michael combines years of experience with good common sense, and the result is a how-to-grow-apples book that will help anyone dedicated to "organic" production. Available in our Bookstore.
For more information on disease resistance view the resistance table of apple varieties.