August 15, 2011


In the last five years, scientific studies have discovered some new and powerful health benefits from eating apples that add to the old apple studies that said similarly positive things. Research the topic and you’ll find compelling, recent evidence of the apple’s ability to address prevention and/or management of many types of cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, digestive health and weight loss. It is truly a wonder food but, unfortunately, due to conventional growing methods, some apples also contain toxins. Why waste all those health benefits by covering it with pesticides? The Environmental Working Group’s report titled “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” identified apples as among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. That alone is a good reason to try growing them yourself with John & Bob’s products to maximize soil health which will minimize pest and disease problems. They are quite easy to grow at home, particularly dwarf varieties.   Without a doubt, the best apple I have tasted is the Honeycrisp. First, it is always very crisp. There is nothing I dislike more than a mealy apple and so many of them are. Varieties like Fuji are always very crisp, but the Honeycrisp has a fantastic complex flavor that combines tartness and sweetness into a full-bodied delight that is unrivaled in the apple world. I decided to plant a few of these fantastic apple trees in my home garden. When I was ordering my Honeycrisp apple trees, I saw a nursery ad that guaranteed me I would like the Pixie Crunch apple better than Honeycrisp. Since I love Honeycrisp, I had to order and plant Pixie Crunch also. The literature tells me Honeycrisp can be temperamental to grow and not well-suited to my inland California location. Apparently, commercial orchards are almost exclusively in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Idaho. However, with good soil created by John & Bob’s GrowGreen system, I am hopeful and confident that my apples will succeed.

I didn’t really have room for five trees planted the traditional way, so I removed some dwarf roses in a narrow 4’ bed on my property line. Then I planted five dwarf trees that I am training in a kind of informal espalier without any support. With this style of pruning, the trees will be very narrow and form a kind of “living wall” that produces formerly forbidden fruit and now newly discovered to prevent cancer, strengthen your heart and lungs and make your bones strong. They also keep your eyesight and brain sharp enough to recognize your neighbor into and beyond your nineties. I’ve noticed as I get older that everyone has started to look familiar, like I’ve seen them before. But I worry as I get really old that no one will look familiar! My plan is to eat my apple crop every year (as well as sharing a few) and keep pictures of my neighbors up in my house, so I won’t forget what they look like. Join me by planting an apple tree and make sure it grows by giving it lively, healthy soil with John and Bob’s. And say hello to your neighbor.