It’s Apple Day here in the UK, a day when we stop to celebrate our orchards. I recorded a podcast episode on Apple Day a few years ago, so I won’t repeat myself here, but I have been enjoying apples from my tree back home this week.
Although it is generally considered to have been a rotten year for apples (with everything from late frosts, a lack of pollination and water supplied at exactly the wrong time to contend with), my tree has produced a bumper crop. It’s a Saturn, and was originally a Minarette, although my pruning technique means no one would recognise it as such anymore ;)
I chose Saturn as a variety because it has good disease resistance, which is an important factor when you garden organically. It produces large apples, the skin of which turns a glorious red colour where it’s exposed to the sun. Where it isn’t, it stays green. Snow White would be wary, but the fruits are delicious when harvested at the right moment.
It has an apple friend in the garden – a crab apple “John Downie” which is pretty and fruitful and helps with cross-pollination. The poor thing is still in a container (although it’s a big one) and would dearly love to be planted out as it suffers in dry weather. It fruits in later summer/ early autumn, and I gave the apples to my dad to make jam/ jelly.
Of the four Minarette fruit trees I originally bought so many years ago, only two remain. The apple is productive and my favourite fruit. The cherry only fed birds and blackfly; the plum didn’t fruit and became a magnet for wasps. They have both been removed. And although the pear has fruited a couple of times, I don’t like pears, so it is next for the chop. It’s a good job I’m not writing this on All Fruits Eve ;)
If your orchard could do with a few more trees, check out my Apple Day offers.