[NAFEX] Apple Bagging Update

Jim Fruth jfruth at uslink.net
Sun Sep 18 09:47:16 EDT 2005

    Hats of to whomever invented apple bagging; you have my gratitude.  It
is the only reliable method of growing apples organically that I know of.
My farmers' market customers thank you too because mine are their first
opportunity for buying truely organic apples that are not wormy.
    Of my fourteen varieties, about 20% of the Harlsons and only a few of
the Parklands had moisture build-up cracking damage.  I used Zip Lock bags
with both bottom corners snipped off.  All apples gained some of their red
blush and, in all cases, were somewhat less than unbagged controls but still
gained enough blush to be recognized as true to type.
    Though all bags were zipped tightly against the stem, Fly-Speck and
Blotch fungi did manage to gain access but infected fruit was in
insignificant numbers and most  of those were still sellable.  Some bags
were loosely stapled around the stem using a chisel stapler to ensure a
tight fit but some of these fruits were also infected with fungi.  No
stapling will be used in the future.  Zero insect infections are/were
    The time spent bagging apples was approximately the same, or less, than
the time spent spraying in any one past year.  The cost of Zip Lock bags
(purchased in bulk from Sam's Club) was significantly less than the cost of
spray that was used in any one year.
    When sprays were used in the past, there were always some apples with
insect and/or fungi infections.  The number of these in any one year
exceeded the the number of infections when bagging was used.  Also, the
number of apples from any one previous year that were unsellable exceeded
the number of unsellable apples when bags were used.  While only one year of
bagging apples is being compared to many years of spraying, the results
obtained from bagging indicate that the trash man will be picking up my
spraying equipment upon his next visit.

Jim Fruth
Brambleberry Farm
Pequot Lakes, MN


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