One of my neighbours in the countryside has a super apple tree. We noticed that it grows lots and lots of small and tough red apples - it's both beautiful in autumn and useful as these apples are so strong and healthy that now in February we still have a few kilos left and they look as they have just been picked from the tree yesterday. Moreover, they don't need any chemicals to grow and stay on the tree and I can give them to my 1-year-old son without being scared of any pesticides.
We wanted details and we found out the following: the apple tree was planted about 50 years ago by our neighbour's father, the variety seems to be Jonathan (ionatan in Romanian), it is not grafted and that is why the apples are small. We wanted one as it is sturdy, the apples don't fall from the tree as it happens with newer varieties and the apples are robust and stay healthy if kept in a cold place up to March-April. They are great for juice (they produce a pink juice), pie and can be also eaten fresh as they have a great aroma.
Here's what they look like (picture was taken today - mid-February):
We asked for a baby apple tree to plant in our garden but unfortunately there was none. Our neighbour told us that the tree produced only 2 baby apple trees during a few years, they were moved to the garden, but none of them survived.
So we got stubborn and started doing some research. We asked a horticulture specialist and found out that growing a new apple tree from seeds is the only possibility. We started eating apples, making pie and then eating some more, picking the best of them to gather seeds. We started the process mid-December and planted more than 50 seeds since when finally a week ago we got 2 small baby apple trees. 2 plants out of more than 50 seeds is not such an efficient number, but it worked! This is why horticulture engineers took old apple varieties and started modifying them - to produce more trees and more apples. They are not healthier as they need plenty of pesticides to grow, but they satisfy the large consumer needs.
However, we didn't need large quantities full of chemicals, but small healthy apples to give to our son. If a worm doesn't eat an apple, why should we?
Now, we are waiting for the new baby apple trees to grow. We are confident and we plan to keep moving them to larger and larget pots and then finally in the garden.
Wish us luck. We will keep you posted.