Sunday, 22 September 2013
'What Katy Did' And Other Stories
The first autumn storm of the year was responsible for a disturbing nightmare, in which the allotment apple trees were stripped bare of their fruit, providing a veritable feast for the occupants of the wasp nest lurking nearby. Yes I was away from home so was greatly concerned about their welfare. The crop on our three year old trees had been looking promising so it was with some trepidation that I ventured to my plot on Monday afternoon. Here much to my relief there was the sum total of one apple on the ground. Cupping and gentle tugging of those fruits still on the trees did not produce much, as the majority of the fruit was still clinging to the branches, so a decision was made to leave them be although more unpleasant weather was forecast. I returned to the allotment on Friday when in the space of just a few days apples were coming away easily. Rosy red 'Katy' is still wearing a few fruits but the 'James Grieve' crop has now all been removed.
'Katy' or 'Katya' as she is originally called coming from Sweden should have been ready to pick in late August but was late. Of the three apples varieties we planted she is my least favourite taste wise and does not have a long keeping period. Although she looks great and has had a few compliments on her appearance I now wish that I had chosen another variety.
'James Grieve' is a much older variety (1893) originating from Scotland. The fruits are quite large and will keep for a couple of months. This is a dual purpose apple but I think that this year's crop will form the basis of apple crumbles. This has produced the smallest yield of the three trees but the fruits are much bigger so I suppose it's a case of less is more.
Finally still to yield its fruit is my favourite 'Sunset', which was introduced in 1918. If you enjoy the taste of 'Cox's Orange Pippins' this should appeal to you. It is thought that 'Sunset' may be a seedling of 'Cox's Orange Pippin'. This year it is bearing a lot of fruit although the apples are on the small side. I should have been more ruthless with the thinning out in June instead of being so greedy. I'm hoping that these will soon be ready to pick. I must try to remember to do a head count this year.
There are plans to try and fit in a couple more fruit trees on the plot. No definite conclusions yet but here might be at least one other apple variety in the mix. It will have to be dwarf rootstock as large trees are not allowed. I would like to grow a local variety and will be consulting 'The Apple Source Book' for ideas. Whether I can get a local variety in a dwarf rootstock remains to be seen. Although our three little trees will certainly never provide us with all the apples we use, they provide us with much enjoyment and are most rewarding to grow. If you are thinking of adding any apples trees to your plot of earth this autumn, the Orange Pippin site is a most informative resource with detailed descriptions of some six hundred varieties. Not sure which variety to go for no problem as the site allows you to short list varieties, then see an on screen comparison. Do you grow apples and if so what variety or varieties tickle your tastebuds?