An Apple A Day?

It has been a poor year for apples and the few baubles that adorn our young trees are scarce and small.

Beauty of Bath apple

This is the first year that we have seen any fruit on our young Beauty of Bath espalier. While we have three fruits, one is tiny and the other two would be more in keeping for plums than apples, barely a couple of inches across. This should be one of the earliest apples to fruit, reputedly from the end of July in a good year, though we have stepped into October and still the fruits cling on stubbornly. We will have to chance it, and pick them soon, while there is still a hope that their flesh may be crisp rather than woolly.

Spartan apple

There is only one fruit on our small Spartan tree, and while we were not paying attention, something else has made inroads into this.

Kidds Orange Red apple

On a happier note, the Kidds Orange Red espalier which lost two tiers to a neighbour’s flying trampoline in the spring still managed to produce one perfectly formed apple, and this fell into my hand this week as I gently cupped and twisted it speculatively. This apple at least seems to be ‘on schedule’, reaching a decent size and ripening in October: not much of a harvest, perhaps, but in such a topsy-turvy year, we shall enjoy it all the more.

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12 thoughts on “An Apple A Day?

  1. Hi,

    It’s been a shocking year for fruit, hasn’t it?!! I have one Tomato beginning to ripen now, at last. I’m doubtful the rest will manage it before they’re killed by frosts. Perhaps it’s time I brought them indoors to ripen artificially.

    • Terrible for many fruits indeed; not a single pear from our cordons this year, and blight got into our greenhouse to stop our tomatoes in their tracks.

  2. I do think that fruit growing is much more difficult than vegetables. All that can be said is better luck next year! You will go from hardly any to such a glut you’ll be sick of dealing with them. Christina

  3. All the apples and stone fruits in our area were devastated in the spring. First the early warmth brought on early blooms then BAM a hard frost and all the flowers killed. Very sad.

    • Really sad. We had lots of blossom on our pear cordons, but all the setting fruits were destroyed by strong winds and heavy rain, so not a single fruit escaped.

    • Yes, we really enjoyed our lone Kidd’s Orange Red, sliced and shared between us, with far more reverence than if we were just tucking into baskets of fruit.

  4. How I wish I could grow apples in my garden-and I’m sure the local squirrels would love it too if I tried…Instead I bought some locally grown apples from Usk farmer’s market this weekend-Millers Seedling-absolutely delicious-sweet and crisp. Better luck next year with your apple crop!

    • They sound lovely, I haven’t tried that variety. Our Kidds Orange Red was delicious too, sweet and tangy with crisp flesh. Great to be able to pick up different varieties from farmers’ markets.

  5. A precious harvest, given how many people are having problems getting fruit from mature trees. Am looking forward to planting apples, but I think it is going to have to wait until next Autumn, we just aren’t going to be sure about where to plant and how to grow them. I like the idea of a garden screen formed from cordon fruit, but am very nervous about whether I will be up to keeping on top of the pruning required.

    BTW, if planning means the neighbouring field has to stay in agricultural use, would that mean that if you grew edibles, even if for your own use rather than to sell, you would be OK? Surely an orchard would qualify?!

    • Cordons should be fairly straightforward to prune, just a summer chop to influence their fruit-forming, and a once-over in winter if anything looks out of place…
      (I tried that exact argument on the planners, but they are very strict on the definition of agricultural – or the one we saw was. Perhaps things will change, I’ll certainly enquire again some time, and we’ve never yet broached it with the farmer, but it will be a few years anyway before we’re able to pursue the thought with any real intent as our focus is on finishing the house off to get the building regs approved).

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