Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Mow vegetation short around the base of fruit trees and bushes to reduce winter habitat for rodents.

Apples of North America—Book Review

Book Review


Apples of North America

A sure bet to sat­is­fy­ing your inner Johhny Appleseed

Title: Apples of North America

Author: Ton Burford

Strong points: This is a fab­u­lous com­pendium of note­wor­thy apples from an expert who truly knows his apple vari­eties up close and per­sonal! Many pre­vi­ous books on fruit vari­eties were often mainly ency­clo­pe­dias of dry characteristics—color, shape, ripen­ing season—rather than the real meat you need to select vari­eties for grow­ing in your gar­den: dis­ease sus­cep­ti­bil­ity, tree growth char­ac­ter­is­tics, best uses and stor­age life. Tom Bur­ford man­ages to cover all of this suc­cinctly with a lit­tle his­tory and apple lore thrown in to boot!

Weak­nesses: A minor quirk, the vari­eties included in this book were selected from the 2011 and 20012 crop years because some were bien­nial bear­ing and not avail­able for pho­tograph­ing. Alas,  so it is with mother nature. I guess I might drop a vari­ety from my favorites list for this unfor­tu­nate char­ac­ter­is­tic. Although I might still be tempted to over­look this if the apple had many other truly excep­tional qual­i­ties and taste. For­tu­nately there are sooo many great choices included here, you will be a long time in taste-testing and growing.

Green thumbs rating: 

Book Rat­ing:  

Whether you are a “foodie” look­ing to explore all the taste sen­sa­tions that apples have to offer, a home gar­dener try­ing to choose the best fit for your home orchard, or a larger grower look­ing to cater to the next gen­er­a­tion in the throws of dis­cov­er­ing apples’ many nuanced fla­vors; you will thor­oughly enjoy this book! Just read­ing it is an adven­ture. Join­ing the trea­sure hunt of local mar­kets and orchards where you can find these gems will surely lead you on a jour­ney to the nurs­eries that will pro­vide you trees of your own to grow.

Not only will you find many vari­eties to inspire your inner Johnny Apple­seed in Apples of North Amer­ica, you find a short primer on how to get started grow­ing them. One of the best parts of this primer are the exten­sive pho­tos and easy to fol­low direc­tions on prop­a­ga­tion. Once you’ve been bit­ten by the heir­loom apple bug, this often seems to be the next step: swap­ping scionwood and graft­ing and grow­ing harder to find vari­eties. Tom Bur­ford and I would both hardily encour­age you to do so!

ISBN: 978–1-60–469-5 (Hard cover)
# of pages: 300 pgs.
Pho­tos: Yes
Illus­tra­tions: No
Appen­dix: Mainly a bib­li­og­ra­phy of select anti­quar­ian apple grow­ing books pri­mar­ily focus­ing on vari­ety descrip­tions.
Index: Yes
Pub­lisher: Tim­ber Press
Pub­li­ca­tion Date: 2013
Price: $29.95