[NAFEX] Advocates envision free fruit and nuts for Madison parks

William C. Garthright billg at inebraska.com
Mon Feb 8 13:28:03 EST 2010

> "Everyone is just delighted that they can walk up and just take the fruit. It’s really cool."

You know, that was very similar to my mindset when I first decided to 
plant fruit trees in my backyard, just a few years ago. Hey, it's 
simple, right? You just plant a tree and then pick the fruit when it 
gets ripe. You don't even have to plant it every year. How could you 
beat that? It was the perfect thing for a guy like me, who didn't even 
mow his own lawn back then.


It hasn't turned out to be quite that carefree. Or anywhere NEAR that 
carefree, in fact. Actually, it's been a LOT of work, spring, summer, 
and fall. OK, maybe if I hadn't crowded everything together, it would be 
easier. But not THAT simple.

> Eschewing apples because of the trees’ susceptibility to a variety of pests, Madison Fruit and Nut organizers would focus initially, if selected, on pears, plums and peaches.

OK, my apples are certainly susceptible to, well,... pretty much 
everything, it seems, but I can't say that my pears, plums, and peaches 
are much better. Or ANY better, really. Between fungal diseases and 
insect pests, my peaches are certainly a lot of work. My plums aren't 
quite so bad, I guess, and I don't have any European pears which are old 
enough to fruit. But my Asian pears are really attractive to codling 
moth! Even with spraying, they were almost all infested this year.

But that's not the tough part. With all of these fruit, I'm engaged in a 
never-ending struggle to keep the birds and squirrels away. Frankly, 
growing my own fruit has made me wonder why fruit is so cheap in my 
neighborhood grocery store. On a city street, it's hard to imagine that 
human beings would get any fruit at all. But maybe Madison is different? 
(Maybe I should move there!)

On the other hand, I remember finding wild apple trees when I was a kid, 
and just picking some of the fruit to eat (green, admittedly). Why 
didn't the squirrels carry them all off by the time they got to 
golf-ball size, like they do to my unprotected trees? Why weren't they 
completely inedible, due to codling moth larvae and other insect pests? 
I don't know.

Lincoln, NE (zone 5)

It's about time we manned up. If our forebears can cope with risk and 
danger, and still be free, why can't we? One in a hundred million are 
harmed by terrorist attacks, and we do exactly what the terrorists would 
like, and retreat from the modernism of free society and religious and 
political and economic choice across the board. - John Wilkins

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