Is it true that an apple a day may help keep the doctor away? Yes, it certainly is true. There are many health benefits from eating apples.
Apples are a good source of fiber. Pectin a source of soluble fiber helps to prevent cholesterol build up in blood vessel walls. The insoluble fiber is like a cleanser for your intestinal tract holding water and moving food through the digestive system. Insoluble fiber can be found in the skin so don’t cut it off.
Apples have always had an anecdotal healthy reputation and that reputation has and continues to be confirmed by past and ongoing medical research. The bottom line is that eating apples are good for you and the health benefits of apples are numerous and include anything from lowering bad cholesterol to reducing the risk of contracting cancer. An orchard is a lovely way to grow this tasty and healthy fruit but it will take planning and time before you’re harvesting.
Reasons to Eat Apples
- Apples are a perfect portable snack food
- Apples are fat and cholesterol free
- Apples are sodium free
- Apples contain antioxidants which may help fight off diseases
- Apples are a great source of dietary fiber
- Apples can strengthen lung function
- Apples contain many vitamins and minerals
- Apples come in hundreds of varieties
- Apples are low in calories
- Apples have no artificial colors or flavors
Picking the site
Apple orchards, once successfully established, can last for decades and you really do not want to be faced with the prospect of starting again if your selection of the orchard site does not work out for one reason or another. First of all, consider where an apple orchard might work in terms of the topography of your land. Apple trees cannot tolerate standing in water, therefore discount any low lying areas that have or may be subject to flooding or likely to retain water from run off. Even if you have a low lying area that does not flood or hold water it may well be a frost pocket where cold air settles. These areas can kill the apple blossom and the developing fruit. Once you have selected an area that might be suitable, check out the soil. Ideally, the soil should be rich, loamy, and well drained; apple trees will also grow in sandy or clay soil as a second best. Having identified your best likely spot, you should be looking to test your soil’s PH. Aim for a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 as an ideal but a PH between 5.5 and 8.0 is tolerable too.
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Apple trees come in numerous varieties and growth patterns. Some varieties will be more suitable to your area than others. However, bear in mind that for pollination to work you will require at least two varieties of apple tree in your orchard. In order to maximize fruiting, you should also be looking for apple trees that blossom around the same time, that could be early, mid-season, or late season, your local nursery should be able to advise you of the right varieties that will work for you, especially as some varieties are simply not compatible with each other as their blossom is sterile. Now it is up to you to select the best trees that both suit your needs and your site. Some apple trees, called standards, can grow 25 feet high or more and can live more than fifty years. However, you will be waiting five or six years for apples from these trees and the height of the tree may be a deterrent for you as the trees will need pruning at some time. Smaller varieties such as semi-dwarfs and dwarfs however, could be producing within two to three years but are not as strong or as long lived. In terms of production, standard trees should be producing around eight bushels of apples each, semi-dwarf’s five bushels each, and dwarf’s one to two bushels each. Again, talk to your local nursery man and establish what will best work for you.
Ideally, you will want to buy apple trees that are around 3 months old and stand about one feet high. If you think the roots are dry when you get them home soak the root ball in water for 24 hours. When you are ready to plant you will need to dig a hole that is approximately double the width of the tree’s root system and about two feet deeper than the roots; allowing the root system to spread out when you back fill part of the hole with loose soil. Gently spread the tree’s roots out when you plant the tree, firm the soil around the roots, and backfill so that the place where the tree’s roots meet the trunk is up to two inches above the ground. Pack the soil down and water the tree well; no fertilizer is required at the planting stage. After planting your trees remove a circle of grass or ground cover to a radius of three feet, taking the tree as the center of the circle, and add a layer of mulch, which will deter weeds and keep your tree well supplied with water and nutrients. In terms of spacing, dwarf apple trees will need staking and should be planted between eight to 12 feet apart, semi-dwarf apple trees are hardier and should not require staking and can be planted ten to 15 feet apart, while standard trees should be planted 17 to 20 feet apart; proper spacing should ensure the effective pollination of your orchard. Your orchard is established now all you have to do is look after it.
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Plums are excellent fresh but also make a wonderful jam or jelly. Plums require full sun and well-drained, sandy soil to thrive. They prefer a soil with a pH that ranges from 5.5 to 6.5. It is always a good idea to have your soil tested before planting any fruit tree to be sure that they pH is appropriate. You should also work the appropriate amendments into your soil before planting. Their overall size may also need to be considered. Most plum trees will reach 16 feet at maturity or 14 feet if they are a dwarf variety.
Plums have quite high moisture demands, so they are best planted on good clay or loamy soils. But sites also need to be well drained as plums, and gages in particular, hate waterlogged soils. Add bulky organic matter to sandy or shallow chalky soils prior to planting.
Plant plum trees in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun. Avoid planting in low areas where frost may settle, as the frost will damage your trees. If possible, find a sheltered position, such as a south- or west-facing spot out of the wind. This will help the plum tree set fruit. For grafted trees, keep the graft union 1 inch above the soil line when planting. Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Set the tree on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Be sure to spread the roots away from the trunk without excessively bending them. Space standard-size trees 20 to 25 feet apart. Space dwarf trees 15 to 20 feet apart.
Plums develop their best flavor if left to ripen on the tree. If they feel soft when gently squeezed, they are ripe. Trees will generally need picking over several times. Harvest fruits carefully so as not to bruise them, then eat fresh, destone and freeze, or make the fruits into preserves.
Tamarillo best known by the name tree-tomatoes in Kenya is a fast-growing tree that grows up to 5 meters. Peak production is reached after 1-3 years, and the life expectancy is about 12 years. The tree usually forms a single upright trunk with lateral branches. They produce 1 to 6 fruits per cluster. Plants can set fruit without cross-pollination, but the flowers are fragrant and attract insects. Cross-pollination seems to improve fruit set.
The Tree-Tomato prefers subtropical climate, they grow in many parts of kenya with rainfall between 600 and 4000 millimeters and annual temperatures between 15 and 20 °C. It is intolerant to frost (below -2 °C) and drought stress. It is assumed that fruit set is affected by night temperatures. Areas where citrus are cultivated provide good conditions for Tree-Tomatos. Tree-Tomato plants grow best in light, deep, fertile soils, although they are not very demanding. However, soils must be permeable since the plants are not tolerant to water-logging. They grow naturally on soils with a pH of 5 to 8.5. They are as well planted by irrigation as they also do well.
we graft our seedling with "muthakwa" to ensure our tees are resistant to nematodes, they are drought resistant, mature fast in 9 months compared to other that mature in more than a year. Due to good feeding our fruits are bigger than normal.
A tree is usually kept to 3-6 trunks for fruit production. They tend to sucker around the base. These need to be removed, though they can be used as cuttings for propagation if you chose not to discard them.
Pomegranate is especially well adapted to the environments with cool winters and hot summers, but can be grown in the humid tropics or subtropics, and the plant will survive very well in Kenya. Commercial production is concentrated in dry summer climates, and pomegranate is extremely drought tolerant once established, but crops much better with more generous moisture. Pomegranate thrives on a wide variety of soils and has a high resistance to salinity.
Mango is one of the most important fruit crops in the tropical and subtropical lowlands. The mango industry in Kenya has expanded considerably over recent years, not only in size but also in the geographical location of commercial and homestead plantings. No longer is commercial mango cultivation restricted to the Coast region, as significant plantings of improved cultivars now also exist in the Makueni county, Meru County, Murang’a County, Nairobi County, Nakuru County, Siaya County, Taita Taveta County, Tana River County, Tharaka Nithi County, Bungoma County, Kitui County, Embu County, Machakos County, Kiambu County among other regions. But the generally arid eastern region produces 61 per cent of all mangoes, followed by Rift Valley at 30 per cent and Coast, which produces 28 per cent.
Main characteristics that differentiate varieties are the fruit shape, size, aroma, sweetness, color, fiber
content, taste, seed size and resistance to diseases. Proper selection of a mango cultivar for production must consider the following criteria:
• good adaptation to the local conditions (e.g. rainfall and dry periods)
• alternation of flowering and fruiting
• tolerance to pest and disease infections
• designated use and market requirements
The mango is best adapted to a warm tropical monsoon climate with a pronounced dry season (>3 months) followed by rains. However, information from other countries indicates that crops cultivated for a long time over an extended area show a high degree of diversity due to varied environmental influences.
Varieties include; Apple mango, kent, Haden, Tommy atkins,Van dyke etc
Mangoes are the most popular and full of nutritional and unique taste. its rich in vitamin A,C,E,and K
Peach trees grow best in full sun, where they can bask for at least six hours in the natural light. They prefer slightly acidic soils ranging from 6.0 soil pH to 6.5. Anything slightly under or over and the tree will still grow, but its yield and health may be adversely affected. The trees love sandy loam soil and demand good drainage. If soil drainage is poor, tilling in compost, sand or peat moss helps increase drainage capabilities.
Peach trees require the most water when they're young -- their first year in the ground -- with watering once weekly or, twice weekly. Peach trees may produce fruit during drought-like conditions if not watered, but the tree will become stressed and the fruit will lack size. To maintain soil moisture, add mulch around the tree but not touching the trunk itself.
Peaches can survive in cold winters where temperatures regularly reach zero degrees Fahrenheit, but the next harvest will be small or nonexistent. They thrive in climates where temperatures during winter reach 150C -30 0C degrees.
Peach trees that are expected to grow to a mature height of about 25 feet grow best when they have 20 feet of space between them. Dwarf peach trees thrive when planted about 6 feet apart. Planting trees too close together reduces air circulation and may prohibit growth and result in root damage.