How to grow the apple in a biological way
To begin the organic cultivation of the apple tree (Malus domestica Borkh., 1803) We must know that it is a plant of which there are many varieties coming from interspecific interspecific intersections. Moreover cultivation with the organic method can lead to smaller sized apples and some defects. The advantages are in taste and, clearly, in the absence of pesticide residues. As for the climate, the apple tree is a plant that prefers cold temperate ones; can tolerate temperatures up to – 25 ° C (which allows it to grow well even up to over 1000 meters). It is therefore a plant that has a high requirement in the cold, even if some varieties are distinguished by a lower requirement. So if we are in the south we can have a good success if cultivated I love some varieties (like the Annurca) and at a certain altitude. The apple tree has a good adaptability to various types of soil (also because it has worked a lot on rootstocks to adapt them to different soil characteristics) provided that the limestone content is not high but the exchange rate is available (it is good to make a analysis with the report of an agronomist before the plant).
For the plant a hole of about 70 x 70 x 70 cm should be dug, in which to put absolutely well-mature manure or compost, and make sure that the plant has the grafting point about 15-20 cm above the surface of the ground. Immediately after the planting and the slight constipation of the earth, an abundant irrigation must be carried out. The best time for the plant goes from October to March, also in terms of latitude and altitude. For rootstocks it is better not to improvise; when buying from a specialized nurseryman, give the indications of your soil type to get the most suitable rootstock. Given the self-incompatibility of the apple tree, at least two varieties must be planted at the time of contemporary flowering. Being then entomophilous pollination it is good to have hives or hedges and plants that bloom at the same time to attract the pollinators. The implant distance (for production plants) is then linked if the rootstock is nano or not; however, it is never appropriate (for phytosanitary problems) to tighten too much; therefore minimum 3 x 3 in plants with small trees up to 5 x 5 for normal varieties.
The irrigation of the apple tree is necessary above all in the first years and then always during the summer, avoiding for the ripening varieties in this period, to irrigate near the harvest. Good technique is that of mulching that contributes to enrichment in organic matter, to the reduction of soil processing and water requirements.
Although in the specialized meliculture you can use forms of fusion farming for the abiological or for family use it is good to grow the plant according to its natural predisposition, but taking care to clean the plant from dry branches and excessive internal vegetation. The fruit thinning operation is important to avoid the alternation of production and allows a better size of the same. This is done when the small fruits have about 10-15 cm of diameter, leaving only the central fruit of each group or at most two. The operation must be performed with a pair of scissors.
The harvesting of the fruit should be done not completely ripe but a few days before for a better shelf life.
As far as diseases are concerned, the main ones consist of scab and oidium with regard to fungal ones that can be kept at bay with greater aeration of the crown and products based on horsetail and dandelion: only in extreme cases is the use of calcium polysulphide or copper for scab and sulfur for oidium (sodium or potassium bicarbonate in solution can also be used). Among the insects we remember the Carpocapsa pomonella which is a moth that lays eggs on leaves and fruits with which you can act with organic Trap Trap traps, with protein bait. Finally aphids and mealybugs on which we must act on the first appearances with Marseille soap.