Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's time to bag apples.

Cunning plan?  Maybe.  The idea of bagging apples with paper or plastic bags to protect them from fungus and pests, to help them to develop a bigger size and a sweeter taste sounds foolish but it's not.  In fact, some Asian countries have used this concept to raise high quality blemish-free fruit for the last 200 years.  In the USA, Washington state apple growers bag approximately 15 million apples a year.  On second thought, in Asia, they also have a bug named  Halyomorpha halys  aka brown marmorated stink bug.


The concept is simple - wrap and attach a plastic bag around the stem of a very young apple.  The bag needs to be big enough to have room for the apple to grow.   




It's not sexy but it works.

 
Using this method is up front labor cost only but, in our case, the bags are free (with a paid subscription to the local newspapers).   Commercially, there exists a product that does the same exact thing with the same result and takes less time, but it costs money and needs to be applied regularly: kaolin clay, aka Surround.

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