December 31, 2015, I planted seeds from a Braeburn apple. I not only hope some of these seedlings survive and fruit, but also produce a good cider apple.
Braeburn has unknown parentage, it was a seedling escapee from an orchard with both Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton apples. It has a robust flavor with a spicy hint. I have no idea what apple fertilized the Braeburn, but most commercial orchards use crabapples.
I am pleased to have five seedlings, because they will each have a different expression of the family traits, just like any 5 children of two human parents. Still, a sharp, a sweet, and a [bittersharp] combination is likely to produce a good cider apple that will add depth to my hard cider experiments.
I am pleased that they came up in just over a month.
These trees will be planted uphill at the edge of an oak hedge to protect them from mule deer depredation. When there are not enough acorns for winter dormancy, bears like apples second. I am pleased with apple trees up the hill for bear, deer, and other wildlife to eat. Depending on the flavor combination, I may also have an apple that is useful to me. A complex flavor that enriches hard cider would be appreciated.
This, obviously is a long term project. I will be pleased if I get a nice apple out of it. I have a dwarf Granny Smith and dwarf Honeycrisp that will have apples in a year or three. I have a list of others to add as well. But long term, an apple on its own rootstock will have much better drought tolerance because of its deep taproot and larger root system. It is also more wind tolerant, a must have here.
My two dwarf trees will go into my raised flower beds for coddling. They, too might cross and produce something that might look like a sweet sharp. or a crabapple might get them both!
When everything gets older, I might try a hand pollination. In my free time of course. Perhaps these trees might become landrace apple trees for my food forest and join my circular economy.