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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/6/2010 8:50:38 AM EDT

I try to have vegetable seeds that will breed true, but is it important to have fruit and nut trees, or grapes that are heirlooms?
I was re-reading fordguy's thread and it got me wondering.


Link Posted: 9/6/2010 10:52:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 11:04:35 AM EDT by Kitties-with-Sigs]
Originally Posted By TornMonkey:

I try to have vegetable seeds that will breed true, but is it important to have fruit and nut trees, or grapes that are heirlooms?
I was re-reading fordguy's thread and it got me wondering.




I personally feel that it is important to have SOME fruit and nut trees which are heirlooms, because the reasoning is the same for those as it is for tomatoes, potatoes, or any other thing you grow. Genetic diversity is important to the continuation of any species. That said, I would not grow ONLY heirloom fruit trees because if you're going to produce any kind of significant harvest, some of them actually require more chemicals and fuss than do the hybrids. Fireblight resistance is a good example of something you really want, if you can get it. Some heirlooms are more resistant thatn others, but in recent years a lot of breeding has focused on resistance to fireblight and other such troubles.

I have no personal experience with hybrid nut trees––only heirloom–– so I can't comment about viability and such with those.

With grapes, you'll have a real struggle. Grapes are not usually grown from seed for purposes of realistic reproduction. They're grown from cuttings. Not that you can't grow grapes from seed. There are wild grapes after all. But they are generally inferior to cultivated vines. I just don't know any producers who do this. There may be some.

But with grapes, you have the problem of some commercially viable rootstocks being susceptible to an aphid which destroys the grapevine's roots. It nearly wiped out the world's grapes at one point. So there are considerations with anything like this. So if you want to grow a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir grape....those are European grapes. But they're grown on American rootstocks usually. So even if the grape would grow from seed, it would not ever produce for long, because phylloxera would get it.

None of that takes away from the basic principle that genetic diversity is extremely important to all our futures. Heirloom varieties are an important part of that. Growing them, saving seeds, and keeping the lines going may be, one day, what we depend on to keep us alive. Knowing how, and having the seeds available is something we should not depend on someone else doing for us, any more than we want to depend on the powers-that-be for anything else. We all depend on somebody else for something to some degree, but I guess here on Arfcom there are at least a group like-minded in that way––that any degree of self-sufficiency is good. Growing heirlooms fits with that, and the principle holds true pretty much across all species. Fruit trees, well-tended, are much longer lived than tomatoes, of course, and an apple tree can last a lifetime. Or two.

But heirlooms generally tend to adapt, evolve, and withstand all the vagaries of climate change and strange weather patterns better than hybrid cultivars. They're more dependable usually. If you leave them alone, they'll generally still be there when you get back to it two years..or ten years...later. So....having those old varieties around in some abundance....I can't help believing that's a good thing.

It's why I have fourteen black walnut trees in my yard, and all the problems that go with that (a landscape designer trying to garden underneath Juglans nigra is like an AR lover trying to be happy with a .22 RG pistol. ) But black walnuts are my favorite nuts, and they feed not only me, but the squirrels, which in a bad time, I could also eat. Everybody else mows them down with bulldozers cuz they're too much trouble. Not me.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 12:49:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Kitties-with-Sigs:
Originally Posted By TornMonkey:

I try to have vegetable seeds that will breed true, but is it important to have fruit and nut trees, or grapes that are heirlooms?
I was re-reading fordguy's thread and it got me wondering.




I personally feel that it is important to have SOME fruit and nut trees which are heirlooms, because the reasoning is the same for those as it is for tomatoes, potatoes, or any other thing you grow. Genetic diversity is important to the continuation of any species. That said, I would not grow ONLY heirloom fruit trees because if you're going to produce any kind of significant harvest, some of them actually require more chemicals and fuss than do the hybrids. Fireblight resistance is a good example of something you really want, if you can get it. Some heirlooms are more resistant thatn others, but in recent years a lot of breeding has focused on resistance to fireblight and other such troubles.

I have no personal experience with hybrid nut trees––only heirloom–– so I can't comment about viability and such with those.

With grapes, you'll have a real struggle. Grapes are not usually grown from seed for purposes of realistic reproduction. They're grown from cuttings. Not that you can't grow grapes from seed. There are wild grapes after all. But they are generally inferior to cultivated vines. I just don't know any producers who do this. There may be some.

But with grapes, you have the problem of some commercially viable rootstocks being susceptible to an aphid which destroys the grapevine's roots. It nearly wiped out the world's grapes at one point. So there are considerations with anything like this. So if you want to grow a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir grape....those are European grapes. But they're grown on American rootstocks usually. So even if the grape would grow from seed, it would not ever produce for long, because phylloxera would get it.

None of that takes away from the basic principle that genetic diversity is extremely important to all our futures. Heirloom varieties are an important part of that. Growing them, saving seeds, and keeping the lines going may be, one day, what we depend on to keep us alive. Knowing how, and having the seeds available is something we should not depend on someone else doing for us, any more than we want to depend on the powers-that-be for anything else. We all depend on somebody else for something to some degree, but I guess here on Arfcom there are at least a group like-minded in that way––that any degree of self-sufficiency is good. Growing heirlooms fits with that, and the principle holds true pretty much across all species. Fruit trees, well-tended, are much longer lived than tomatoes, of course, and an apple tree can last a lifetime. Or two.

But heirlooms generally tend to adapt, evolve, and withstand all the vagaries of climate change and strange weather patterns better than hybrid cultivars. They're more dependable usually. If you leave them alone, they'll generally still be there when you get back to it two years..or ten years...later. So....having those old varieties around in some abundance....I can't help believing that's a good thing.

It's why I have fourteen black walnut trees in my yard, and all the problems that go with that (a landscape designer trying to garden underneath Juglans nigra is like an AR lover trying to be happy with a .22 RG pistol. ) But black walnuts are my favorite nuts, and they feed not only me, but the squirrels, which in a bad time, I could also eat. Everybody else mows them down with bulldozers cuz they're too much trouble. Not me.

Thanks for the great reply Kitty!

I will definitely look at mixing it up


Link Posted: 9/8/2010 12:13:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2010 12:15:32 PM EDT by FordGuy]
Wow - im honored I was actually mentioned!

when it comes to fruit trees most propagation is by grafting. If I sew an apple seed, the little tree that grows up may produce wonderful apples or they may be bad apples. I am not waiting 15 years to see. I will simply take a known variety's bud and bud onto the little sapling. The bud is sexually mature while the sapling is not. I may see apples in 5 years versus many more. So I think to echo what KWS was talking about, our concern is to avoid a "monoculture." As a homestead grower, you want diversity in both rootstock and in the variety grafted onto it. You want red apples, green apples, yellow apples and orange-ey apples. When you have a monoculture (just one type of apple, or another tree for that matter) you risk a disease coming along that will wipe out your entire operation. So mix it up and hedge your genetic bets.

With grapes, you are going to propegate by rooting a cutting, not by planting a seed. With grapes you want bunch grape varieties that bear in mid summer like Mars, Venus, Vanessa, and you also want fall bearing muscadines like Late Fry and Supreme.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 12:50:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2010 1:02:17 PM EDT by Kitties-with-Sigs]
Originally Posted By FordGuy:

With grapes, you are going to propegate by rooting a cutting, not by planting a seed. With grapes you want bunch grape varieties that bear in mid summer like Mars, Venus, Vanessa, and you also want fall bearing muscadines like Late Fry and Supreme.


I think it's interesting that when someone says "grape" I automatically think "wine grape".

I don't even consider table grapes until I see a post and think..."OH....they want grapes to EAT!"

ETA: And you should not be surprised to be mentioned. You are the go-to guy for fruit trees IMO. Even if I do hold to my view that open pruning is better in the long run.

Link Posted: 9/8/2010 12:50:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2010 12:50:37 PM EDT by Kitties-with-Sigs]
Dangit. Double tap.
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