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?

21 comments:

  1. It's a shame that you'd prefer something different to Katy as she certainly looks a beauty. I bought two apple trees on dwarf rootstock last year, but have kept them in containers on the patio. They haven't provided any fruit as yet but I'm really looking forward to the time when they do.

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    1. Katy is lovely to look at Jo but sadly the texture and taste are disappointing - not unpleasant but could be much better :) Good luck with your little apple trees. I hope that they do well for you.

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  2. They do look very beautiful. When we were deciding which apples to grow we went to Gloucestershire in October to see and taste some varieties. As well as visiting a few apple days, at the farmers market in Stroud we bought various apples, and ranked them according to flavour. Our favourites were Ingrid Marie, Spartan and Kidds Orange Red. We have the last two, and also a Beauty of Bath for early apples, and hope to add Ingrid Marie to the garden this year. I do like the tangy Ashmead's Kernel too; its rough skin hiding delicious sharp flesh, but it was too acidic for my husband.

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    1. Now that sounds like a good idea Sara and there will be some apple days coming up soon. Maybe an opportune time for some tastings. My plot neighbour grows 'Katy' too so I had tasted before I bought the tree! Will investigate the varieties that you grow.

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  3. We have an unknown apple variety in our garden and have recently harvested a good quantity of cookers. Unfortunately they don't seem to keep well at all, so have already put the effort into stewing them all down and into the freezer. Last autumn we also planted 3 new trees - Ashmeads Kernel, Red Devil and Bardsey. Looking forward to the large range of apples we'll hopefully be getting in a couple of years time :)

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    1. Great to inherit a tree Jenny but a shame that they are not good keepers. Have not long returned from a couple of days visiting my mum where in her garden two 30 year old plus apple trees are dripping with fruit. Needless to say I spent some considerable time peeling and stewing. Not familiar with the last two varieties you mention so will have to find out more forthwith :)

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  4. We inherited a huge Bramley cooking apple, which keeps us in crumble through the winter. There was also an eating apple tree of unknown variety, which produces lots of apples, but they taste dreadful!

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  5. What a shame that Katy doesn't really 'do' as she is very pretty, but if a fruit doesn't taste nice there is not a lot of point growing it, if it is very decorative. Sometimes a lot of choice is worse as it makes the decision even more difficult, but taste tasting like Sara has done at apple days seems a good idea
    as you will have the trees for a long time. Like Pauline our unknown eating apple does not taste brilliant, but our cooker (presumably Bramley) always does well.

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    1. Katy's days may well be numbered Cathy :) Funnily enough I did taste her before buying the tree as my plot neighbour also grows her. It's not just the taste though but the texture as well - too mushy for me. Should have done more research, more contemplation and more tasting before buying but luckily there's room for another tree or two .....

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    2. Katy's days may well be numbered Cathy :) Funnily enough I did taste her before buying the tree as my plot neighbour also grows her. It's not just the taste though but the texture as well - too mushy for me. Should have done more research, more contemplation and more tasting before buying but luckily there's room for another tree or two .....

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  6. An apple tree near our house on deserted land bore fruit for the first time since we've been here, so I've been picking the odd ones and we were given two huge bucketfuls by a neighbour too. All need eating quickly so we've had cake, strudel, muffins, crumble etc... and apple sauce with everything else!
    Perhaps Katy would taste better made into a spicy compote? ;-)

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    1. Oh now that's a most positive turn of events Cathy. My mouth is watering at the thought of strudel. Yes I think that you could be right and that a touch of heat and spice might be what Katy needs :)

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  7. Hi Anna, Katy certainly is a beauty! Sorry about the storm, what did you do with the windfall apples then? We have a few apple trees in the orchard of which we do not know the names; one, we guess is Cox Orange. The jays make life or apple harvest a challenge as they pick most apples, very annoying. Happens quite a lot that the beauties turn out disappointing when it comes to taste. I think they're often bred for looks and how they keep than for flavour. Pity really

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    1. Luck was on my side Annette as amazingly only one apple fell off :) Despite the calendar they were obviously not yet ready. Oh what a shame about the jays beating you to the fruit!

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  8. My favourites? Spartan, Kidd's Orange Red, Falstaff, Scrumptious, Hereford Russet, Red Windsor, Princesse.

    I can recommend Adam's Apples in Devon (aka Talaton plants) - lots of different varieties to choose from (>100), different rootstocks, very well priced and someone very happy to discuss options for your location, soil, aspect etc before you buy. Also has recommendations for organic growing.

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    1. Thanks for the Adam's Apples suggestion VP. What an excellent name :) Will investigate further.

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  9. I am still umming a ahhing about apples. There is a local (well, on the mainland) nursery that sells Welsh fruit trees, but I am tending towards gowing pears and plums, as I only have room for three trees, and apples are cheaper to buy, though never as delicious as growing the more rare varieties. Happy apple picking - and eating!

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    1. A dilemma isn't it Janet? Would like to fit another apple in at the allotment but then there are plums, pears, damsons, medlars etc all shouting out "pick me!" - decisions, decisions :)

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  10. I love your photo! Looks like you're enjoying your tray too! So am I. I've worked out that my apples are Pink Lady. I adore them, they're just so sweet. I don't quite know why it's taken me 9 years to work out what variety they are. I guess I never thought about it before I started blogging. I just ate them and thought of them as 'better apples than the ones you get in shops', which is still very, very true! :)

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    1. Thanks Anna. I was enjoying my tray at the time but that's another story. Blogging is responsible for all sorts of discoveries. Glad that you are enjoying your apples although they would no doubt have tasted as sweet when you did not know their name :)

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.