Sunday, 7 August 2011

Apple fumble

Oh yes, this year I'll be getting my mits on a bumper crop, provided they don't all fall off the tree first and rot on the ground.

When I was young we had a cooking apple tree, and there was no worse task for pocket money than picking up the rotting diseased apples from the garden. The mouldy brown ones with white speckles that would disintegrate in your hands. We couldn't use gloves either so you had to pick them up by the stalk.

Yet I would devour apples as a child. Possibly the only fruit I would eat. I even ate Granny Smiths, getting a buzz from the moment the bittersweet, almost sherbet like fizz made the inside of your mouth shrivel up until it dissipated and you were left with the satisfying flesh and crisp skin.

Apples capture the imagination. We had a book called 'Apple Pigs' in which there were so many apples, the family had to find creative ways to use them all. Our version was well thumbed. It now goes on Amazon at hardback, used for £99.

But, with the exception of specialists, I wonder if most of us take them for granted? Have you ever eaten a nutty Russet ? Or do you buy Braeburns from the supermarket every week? Braeburns, the sneaky Kiwi fruit;  the grey squirrel of the apple world.

In my back garden I have a mature apple tree. So mature I thought it had given up fruiting last year. I only had two apples from the whole tree. Back in February I got busy and read up on how to reinvigorate this  fruit bearing beauty. I watched YouTube videos on pruning and gave it a healthy dose of zoo poo, which they love apparently.

I got up on the ladder with secateurs and a pruning saw, removed crossing branches, dead wood and got some light into the middle. I assiduously fed the soil, and woohoo, look! My tree has come alive:

And then, last week I was told "trees only fruit every other year"


Jon said...

Excellent! It couldn't be any better apple weather - sun- rain -sun - humidity - sun - more rain. Good luck.

Hapless gardener said...

THank you Jon, I'm quickly realising that much greater influences than a humble gardener are responsible for such a promising crop!!

RobD said...

Don't know who told you that, but my apple trees fruit every year as do almost all the other apple trees I know. I think your work rejuvenating them is responsible and you should have an even better crop next year.

They're an easy thing to grow but they do so much better with a bit of TLC.

linniew said...

You worked miracles Tom! And I agree with RobD, apples tend to come well every year, at least they do here, if the tree is healthy. (Pears too here.) I loved the photos of the fruit coming. Yippee! Apples are awesome!

Hapless gardener said...

Thank you guys, you've restored my faith and confidence in a snap! Can't wait till they're ripe now!

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.