Growing non-hybrid fruit tree's - from seed

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Paul Darrington, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. Paul Darrington

    Paul Darrington Junior Member

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    I'm not that keen on growing hybridised fruit - i want traditional or wild varieties.

    Sure, hybridised fruits are sweeter, less seeds, or less prone to attack.
    But I've read many times that the original, wild varieties are generally richer in vitamins & minerals etc.

    Also, tree's grown from seed generally produce more nutritious fruit, so i've read.

    But where can one source these wild strains of seed?

    Sourcing Heirloom Vege's is easy, but heilroom fruit tree seed is rare!

    Does anybody know of a good book on growing from seed & which varieties to choose, or heilroom seed suppliers?


    Thanks
    Paul
     
  2. Jackie K

    Jackie K Junior Member

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    Hi Paul,
    The rootstocks that are used to graft our modern fruit trees are heirloom or original species. They are used for their superior hardiness or disease resistance. The grafts are added for their superior fruit. A lot of the wild. or old type fruits had undesirable characteristics. You might be somewhat disappointed after biting into a Citreon, which is one of the rootstocks used for oranges. Just one example. Personally, I'd just eat more of our currently available yummy fruits.
    Jackie K
     
  3. Plumtree

    Plumtree Junior Member

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    Planting seeds of anything is pretty 'hit and miss'. You do not necessarily get the apple you want. You may get any sort of result. When you have to wait 4 years or so with a grafted tree, a seedling could take ten for a undesireable result.

    It is one area that seems best to follow modern practise. There are producers developing appealing strains of 'old fashioned' fruit trees.

    Try this https://www.woodbridgefruittrees.com.au
     
  4. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    I have started several trees from seeds, apples, avocadoes, apricots, and one of the issues is that you may not know just which one you've started, and will you have a pollinator for it? Blooming times are crucial. Asian pears need another Asian pear pollinator (not the same kind), and not just any old pear.

    I love to do heirloom fruits, and they were growing on their own roots for centuries before hybridization came along. I think it's worth trying, as long as you know which seeds you've got, and if you've got enough chill hours to produce fruit, the correct pollinators, and soil that is not too wet, not too sandy. Plant some hybrids for a reliable crop, and do a few heirlooms on the side. Trees are a great investment, and always worth whatever room and effort you've got for them.

    There are lots of 100-year-old orchards where I am in the mountains and rural areas, and if you can find old orchards (even 50 years is old enough) and get those seeds, you know they will do well in your area, someone probably knows just which ones they are, and they are a good bet :)
     
  5. damien

    damien Junior Member

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    fruit trees

    Hi Paul,

    Quite a few fruit trees are only edible because of weird genetic mutations and permutations that we then clone. Some examples are:

    Apples. Plant an apple seed and you will most likely get an apples known as 'spitters', good for cider. not good for eating.

    Almonds. Only edible due to mutation. don't plant seed.

    Citrus. It it's wild state is sour and seedy. Most crosses will end up like this (except for likely ones like meyer lemons which is an orange / lemon cross). On the other hand I think citrus has some unfertilized seeds which are clones of their parent, anyone know ?

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers

    Damien
     
  6. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

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    I think there is some missunderstanding: there are pretty much apple varieties which are considered as heirlooms, all grafted. Apples, Stonefruit ect. are since early times grafted. In Germany we had thousands of different apple varieties before the european Union and their sometimes weird burocracy.
    On the other hand there are some fruits you can easily grow from seed, but that are more tropical species. For example tamarillo, papya etc.

    'There are other fruit trees which come reasonably true to type you can plant from seed that are magos and as far as I know some lemons and avocados. The disadvantage of growing from seed with this trees is that they need twice the time to fruit (an in all these years you will buy your fruit)

    Some trees can be propagated by cuttings etc.

    Most of the vegetables you eat are breeded varieties and they have little resemblance to their ancestors.

    Breeding vegetables and developping fruit trees is a cultural heritage and you can conserve it buying grafted heirloom varieties (or graft yourself)
     
  7. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    I agree that there are two issues here: heirloom, and grafted vs seed.

    Just wanted to say that some fruit does do ok self seeding. I have plums and apples locally that do this. The fruit is smaller than 'bred' fruit, and is typically not as sweet. But it's free, and I'm kind of partial to feral food. And in terms of powerdown, I'm interested in my tastes changing to accomodate wild food more. The feral fruit is good when dried but again it's not intensely sweet like commercial dried fruit. But I think that degree of sweetness is a modern and learned thing.

    Also, I don't have the energy or space to establish a good heirloom orchard at the moment, so I appreciate the local feral trees.

    So if you have the room (in addition say to a grafted heirloom orchard), you could find the fruit trees local to you that you can harvest seed from, or even seedlings.

    I agree that heirloom varieties are more nutritious. There is research to back this up too.



    A question about grafting. Is it still faster than seed if you have to grow your own rootstock?
     
  9. Plumtree

    Plumtree Junior Member

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    Sweetpea, you discussed Asian Pears and I suppose these are the things we call 'Nashi'. Very watery, plain tasting sort of a cross between an apple and a pear. I have three 'Nashi' trees that are all the same variety and while they do pollinate and bear fruit they are not really very productive. I have blamed the frost for getting at the blossoms but perhaps I do need another variety to boost pollination. Thanks for the 'heads-up'. :wink:
     
  10. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Plumtree, my Asian pears are Yoinashi and Kikusui, so they pollinate each other. They are very sweet and nice. But I had to get the two kinds so they would pollinate each other.

    All my pear trees are tough, unfussy trees. I have been impressed. I have one I planted long ago that is far away from my other trees, about 800 feet, and the deer don't eat it, and it's tapped into some underground water source because I don't water it, and it's fine. They make the best tarts! :)
     
  11. Paul Darrington

    Paul Darrington Junior Member

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    thankyou all for your diverse thoughts, I really really appreciate it.

    Due to the lack of information out there, to the select few who care about this, I've decided to write an article - focusing on which varieties are 'close to heirloom' but still good tasting - as thats the important thing.

    Essentially, i just want to compile a list that details which 'commercial hybrids' to avoid - as we're not that interested in long storage life, unifrom ripening etc.


    Pebble;
    quote: "A question about grafting. Is it still faster than seed if you have to grow your own rootstock?"

    I'm not qualified to answer this (being a mere 21 yrs old), but i'm sure someone will soon.
    Anyhow, I'm pretty sure that yes, it is still faster, but it got me thinking that the root system will still be immature & hence the first few years of fruit may be of marginal quality, or just low yeild.
    but anway, its better than no fruit.

    I thinks its obvious to always plant a grafted orchard, in addition to a seedling orchard.

    I've now got little concerns of grafting (in terms of nutrient rich fruit), however, I can see that cutting grown tree's - which would not develop a tap root, would be somewhat limited to sucking up the deep down minerals, to put into fruit.
    Hence, I'll avoid cutting grown food tree's - where practical.


    So, over the next few months, i'll be contacting as many people as possible (DPI of various states, Seed savers, growers from the various rare fruit societies etc.) - to help answer many of my questions & compile a rather comprehensive list of good tasting, 'non-commercial-hybrid' varieties.
    I'll also be putting together a another list (for my own propagation purposes) of which varieties can be grown from seed & which rootstock to use.

    When i finnally finish, I'll ask old Geoff L, to pop the articles up on the site for all to use... some months away.


    Thanks again for your input & keep it coming!


    For our earth,
    Paul
    over enthusiastic food plant collector & naturopathic student
     
  12. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Just grew a few apples- dead easy from seed.
    Also some lemons -very slow.
    I got about a 1,000 capsicum seedlings from a few capsicum.
    Given the new discoveries about plant epigenetic/natural selection and our fast changing climate, growing fruit from seeds is important (and cheap).
    I was saddened to see the beautiful big oranges I just purchased have no seed. Plant eunuchs- seems wrong somehow.
     
  13. Tropical food forest

    Tropical food forest Junior Member

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    Do plant seeds
    not enough people do

    heres a list of planst that produce trees that are just fine from seed that ive seen or grown

    Persimmon, american
    Japanese persimmon
    Passionfruit - all types
    Star apple
    Star fruit
    Black sapote
    Custard apple
    Cherry plum
    Mexican limes
    Calamansi
    Finger limes
    Oranges (long thorny juvenile phase)
    Bush lemon
    Bilimbi
    Bushnut macadamia
    Heartnut walnut
    tamarillo
    pawpaw/papaya
    guava
    jaboticaba
    loquat
    Some mangos (bowen /kensington pride is one)
    Mangosteen (apomictic)
    Peach
    Capulin cherry
    Canistel
    Grapes
    Jackfruit
    Cempedak


    Avos sometime do ok. buy a couple grafted types, but if you have the whole hectare then plant some seedlings up the back.
    its the only way to make new varieties

    apples and pears are fine too. The true value of these is not as desert fruits, thats just a modern invention
    they are really more valuable as cooking fruits for pies, for making alcohol (Cider and perry), vinegars and fattening pigs

    we need more seedling apples and avos as the genepool is getting narrowed, nay whittled down!
    apples are already weak trees, and they shouldnt be. Pears have been less overbred and are tougher still

    if you get a really bad but very healthy pear or apple you can always topwork it with improved varieties. very easy
     
  14. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

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    You say you want to avoid hybrids, but growing from seed is the way to get hybrids. Unless you're taking an active role in fertilisation, you don't really know which tree pollinated which, so you don't know whether your seed is going to grow "true" or be a hybrid until it fruits (several years away). For example, if you grow an orange next to a lemon and then plant seeds from both, you're going to get some orange trees, some lemon trees, and some that are like meyer lemons.

    The orange itself is a hybrid (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Orange), as is the grapefruit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapefruit).

    I think what you really want to do is plant some rootstock trees, and then locate the specific heirloom fruit trees you want to grow. Then take cuttings and graft them onto your rootstock.
     
  15. Tropical food forest

    Tropical food forest Junior Member

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    theres three genetic systems you need to know about

    Apomixis - thats where the seed is formed from the mothers own cells. No sex involved
    SE asian mangos, limes, mangosteen and a number of other crops do this. Its a good way to get rid of viruses
    if one seed pops up multiple seedlings theres a good chance its apomictic! but they dont always do this

    Homozygous - this means theres a fairly common pairs of genes in the genome. planst will tend to breed true with little variation if they self pollinate or pollinate another of the same population. Some peaches are like this, loquats seem to breed true too. I read pommelo is like this - so im giving it a go

    Heterzygous - this means theres very different sets of paired genes in the genome, so when they mix up with sex they end up segregation into many new combinations and therefore expressed forms
    Apples, durians, and numerous other fruits

    its important to keep trialling seeds, not at the expense of food security mind you
    id def reccomend getting the best trees you can afford for your homegarden
    or if you were designing somebody elses home garden
    but once you go extensive you have to recall that modern and heritage varieties werent bred for extensive food forest systems. they yiled highly under open highly managed systems
    the way we make our food forests is not like orchards of yore..
    its like the original apple and apricot forests of afghanistan!
    so we need to pull those hardy genes back out. we need bug , humidity and shade tolerant apples
    and apricots with deep deep taproots, unlike the fibrous feeder roots suited to intensive irrigated horticulture
     
  16. seed savers

    seed savers Junior Member

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    We recommend routinely to our Local Seed Network people to experiment with everything and anything, NOT to take NO for an answer and take notes of the results and do it again. Way to learn!

    If you have just a balcony then buy a multi-grafted citrus in a large tub, be conserative don't take risks, as you cant waste space obviously, but if you have a large backyard or acres why not start by seed plant to experiment and select when the trees come to fruition. This is long term work.
    .
    Time for lunch i am called at the table guys (mostly men on the internet while girls do the cooking?). We cook from scratch here as busy as we may be. Today a curry from garden saved-seeds of coriander, fennel, chillies and japanese mustard seeds. Delish.
     
  17. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Some root-stocks are better in tropical climes some are better in cooler areas.
    Unfortunately you rarely get told at a local nursery what root-stock your fruit tree is on.

    Some where here, there is a link to an article by the Qld presenter of ABC Gardening Australia on which root-stocks are best for which areas.

    Growing fruit from seed is fun (and cheap) if you have the room and time. You could always get something good-- like how the granny smith arrived. You could also win lotto!
    At worse you have a root-stock to graft to if the fruit is a dud.
    With climate change, I just think growing a few more fruit trees from seed might be a good idea so as to capitalize on possible epigenetic changes that may be happening as the temperature and CO 2 levels rise.

    It would be a fun thing to do, with kids, for a school playground. There are so many plants they could grow from their kitchens or lunch-box.

    Also, in my area, most people are too poor to pay $40-$100 for a fruit tree; so i grow a few to give away, at least its a tree, maybe an adequate one, maybe a really good one. I only save the seed of fruit I like, so a bit of selection has already started.
    I am not planting 100 acre orchard and relying on the trees for my livelihood. Then you would want to be very precise about what you are growing.


    PS
    I have collected some fresh Macadamia seed from a neighbor's tree.
    Any hints on speeding up germination?
    Do the nuts need to be scarified with a industrial strength file?
     
  18. seed savers

    seed savers Junior Member

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    We chuck them macca nuts on top of a wet hessian bag and cover them with good humic fungussy leaf mulch (not grass clippings) and they will start moving their little whilte germs... any other moist conditions would do i guess?? under the tree mulch itself also seems natural enougth?!Michel
     
  19. Tropical food forest

    Tropical food forest Junior Member

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    yeah ive seen the price of fruit trees go from standard to stupid in the last few years
    i can believe it

    in reality nothings really changed
    wages havent gon up much
    planst still grow as fast
    no idea why unless its simple profiteering

    if you have to buy grafted trees
    get a group together and go see a whole sale nursery
    you can buy the minimum order and get good quality stock at discount rates

    I use Jeff Nugents technique or modified for nuts and palms

    soak 24 to 48 hours in water
    then put in a shopping bag full of damp coir and hand on a hook
    when the radicle emerges, pot them up

    though to make it a 1 step process i now soak, then fill a polysterne box from the green grocers with a mix of riversand and coir

    i planst the nuts and cover to twice depth
    then i just leave them out under a nursrey bench or under a tree till they do their thing

    this tecchnique works very very well for shop bought

    Macadamias
    Pecan
    Gingko
    chestnuts

    similarly ive had minor success with almonds. many are stillalive if you preesoak them
    or you can used almonds in the shell

    no luck with walnuts, i think they may be dead already - gassed or heated ? i fi could get fresh aussie walnuts im sure itd work and be far far cheaperthan $50+ for a grafted tree!

    Palm seeds like Butia and date take a long time, and heat, but they will come up
    a 2000 year old date seed from an arcaheological dig in Palestine is now a growing plant

    For kiwi fruit i used true peat and sand
    and left it over winter under a nursery bench where it got quite cold and also stayed quite damp
    in spring they came up like a lawn
    for fruit i like to letthem get so ripe they are sloppy starting to go rotten
    then i pulped the whole thing and spread it over the surface
    good for passionfruits
    Kiwi (Green, gold, Purple, Arguta berry)

    seedling grapes are standard procedure, just put them in a pot and forget
    ive had some really tasty seedling grapes, planted by humans
    and also found wild grape vines planted by birds in SW WA - very tasty! and free!
     
  20. Tropical food forest

    Tropical food forest Junior Member

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    a good tek to germinate cherries and apricots i would very much appreciated

    just how much chilling do they need to germinate?
     

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