Doc’s Blog

Apple Wisdom

     We use the word “apple” in a variety of contexts in our language. 

     We designate New York City as the “Big Apple.”    We speak of an  “apple for the teacher” as a way to curry favor in the classroom.   We “polish the apple” to enhance the appearance of an object or a situation.

     To illustrate that certain traits persist from one generation to another,  we opine, “An apple never falls far from the tree.”  It’s another way of saying  “like father, like son.”

     Even health advice is covered, —  “An apple a day  keeps the Doctor away.”   The original phrase, from Wales in the 1860s, read, ‘‘Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”  Apples are a tasty snack and do contain vitamin C and other good things to maintain health.

     On a slightly negative note, if you put a good apple into a   barrel  of rotten apples the good one does not make the bad ones any better and will probably be corrupted by the rotten ones.   Conversely, one rotten apple added to a barrel of good one can infect the whole bunch.

     I think there is a lesson here about peer group pressure.  It is not uncommon for some young women to date a “bad Apple” because it is dangerously thrilling and exciting.  These gullible girls, being good apples,  think they can make the bad one better, which is not impossible but usually not probably.   The broader lesson here is we become like those we associate with.  

     I really like this one. “You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.”   The ultimate potential in apple seeds, and people, is vast and unknown.  We do not know how many apples could  result from planting a few apple seeds.  Nor do we know the ultimate beneficial effect of planting a few seeds of love, gratitude,  appreciation, or encouragement in the people with whom we associate..  

     One final thought,  as apples age some just get rotten while the good ones grow sweeter even if they have a few more wrinkles.   Ruth, my wife of 63 years, is a good apple. Like all  good apples she has a few more wrinkles,  but has become sweeter as she ages.  She is a joy and a comfort to all those around her.   I love her dearly — she is a pearl of great price and the “Apple of my eye.  

Carbon Sequestration


     I recently had a phone  conversation with my Idaho daughter — a Master Gardener with a BS in Horticulture from BYU.  She was telling me about her current gardening project. She and her husband had mowed down some heavy vegetation on one of her garden plot and were now planning to till the residue into the soil.  She said she was “building soil organic matter”, and I agreed.  Jokingly though, I told her it wasn’t called that anymore and was now known as “engaging in carbon sequestration.” She was impressed. 

     Years ago, when I first encountered what  we now call organic production the emphasis was on building the OM in the soil  so you would not need the chemical amendments.  This is a far cry from the emphasis today where the regulations are based on ‘don’ts’  rather than ‘do’s’.  My concern has always been that we do not spend enough time and effort building soil organic matter.

     Thus, I was gratified to see an item about soil organic matter in the recent MOSES online newsletter.  Researchers at Northeastern University and The Organic Center analyzed over a thousand soil samples from across the country. They found soils on organic farms had larger amounts of soil organic matter (SOM) and carbon than conventionally farmed soils. The research also found that organic soil has 44% higher levels of humic acids than conventional soil. 

     To me, high SOM is more important than some slight infraction of NOSB standards.  After all, the NOSB appears to be more interested in the continued certification of hydroponically grown (without soil) vegetables than they are about levels of SOM in organic fields.