Organic gardening at home is both good for your family and good for the environment. By taking advantage of natural yard and kitchen waste, organic gardeners make their own fertilizer and soil amendment. Products from the kitchen, such as baking soda, help fight certain fungal diseases. When it comes to growing apples, there are both homemade and commercial products that help the gardener grow yummy, organic fruit. It all starts, however, with growing disease-resistant apple varieties, such as Gold Rush, Crimson Crisp or Liberty. Without the need for chemicals to fight disease pathogens, growing organic apples at home is easy. Does this Spark an idea?
Fertilize the apple tree in spring with organic materials, such as well-rotted manure or compost. Spread the material -- 1 to 2 inches thick -- around the tree in a 3-foot radius.
Prune the interior of the apple tree to allow sunlight in and air to circulate. This helps prevent fungal disease and the need to use fungicides. Prune in January or February and remove dead and broken branches, those crossing over others and any that are growing straight up.
Prevent aphid, scale and spider mite infestations by spraying the apple tree with dormant oil before it begins turning green. Spray branches, stems and the trunk until the product drips.
Protect the apple tree from borers by painting the trunk with a 1 percent neem oil product. Apply the oil in June and reapply in late July, according to label instructions.
Spray pure neem oil on the apple tree every 10 days from late spring to harvest.
Clean the soil around the tree of fallen leaves and fruit that act as a safe harbor for pests and fungal pathogens.
- Rodale; Grow Organic Apples at Home; Leah Zerbe; November 2008
- AppleTreeHill.com: Organic Apple Trees
- "The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden"; Stella B. Otto; 1995
- Photo Credit IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images