Monday, 22 October 2007

Yesterday was Apple Day

I didn't celebrate it other than reading my Apple Source book and patting my fabulous home-made tree labels, but just knowing it was a festival in honour of the glorious fruit gave a glow to the day. This year the orchard is justifiably in hibernation mode. It is taking care of itself, regenerating after a year of goodly pruning and planting and identifying and cidermaking and apple juicing and crab apple jelly making. It was introduced to sheep and geese, had guards stamped around each tree and was generally poked about and played with. It deserves its time of rest after all this intrusion and the amazing fruit glut of 2006.
There is just one thing I want to do with the few fruit that have doggedly grown and ripened. I want to experiment with dried apple rings, dehydrated in the bottom oven of the Aga. I promise not to bother the trees too much. I'll remove a few samples, walk quietly away, and they won't be the wiser.
The hedgebanks round the orchard will be laid and restored this winter and so let more light in which will benefit the young plantings. By the time blossom arrives, the hedgelaying will be complete, and the banks will be fenced. Yes, the sheep love lying on top of the banks but their sharp feet erodes them terribly and this in turn kills off the plant life. Instead, they will have to lie under the trees and scratch their arses against the guards.

PS: the apple is an unknown dessert/culinary type; the pomologist was unable to identify it.


GeraniumCat said...

What joy to have an orchard! Mine is still embryonic - 6 trees in pots, so far, waiting to be planted. Home-made apple rings, mmm, delicious. Your labels look great, too.

KAZ said...

How do you find the time ..are you superwoman?

gastropunk said...

I have a small apple tree in my back yard which needs pruning - I'm never sure which time of year is best to do this. This year I did it in early spring and had a bumper crop. What's your advice on this, mopsa?

Mopsa said...

GCat - moving from Warwickshire was particularly sad as it meant leaving behind the most amazing damson and apple orchard - small (about a dozen or so trees)and wild but a joy for people, hens, ducks and geese. We can exchange encouragement on our embryonic trees - 30 new babies to join the ancients.

Kaz - life is too short to stuff a mushroom, or so I've been told, but I do like to indulge in little grey squirrel activities til the larder groans! But superwoman - definitely not.

Gastropunk - you can do it various times of year apparently: so when you prune during winter (while the tree is dormant), this will invigorate the tree, causing it to grow more during the following season. If you prune during summer this will cause the tree to grow less during that growing season. Spring pruning has an effect somewhere between winter and summer pruning. I think you need to do the big stuff on older trees during dormancy to avoid killing the whole thing! But I am just learning myself.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Mopsa, despite the awful weather this year, we've got grapes. Not big enough to eat as dessert grapes, we did that last year, but it seems a shame to waste them.

Any ideas? Although maybe the birds and squirrels will get to them first.

Big Chip Dale said...

Mmmmmmm... French Golden Delicious.

(Now takes cover...)

mutterings and meanderings said...

I would love an orchard. I have a thing for fruit trees.

Mopsa said...

Swearing Mum - If I had grapes I'd be making wine, or eating them just as they are in the autumn sun.

Chip, you know those things are bad for you!

M&M - I can't recall where, but i've seen a mini orchard with trees of various varieties all no more than 2 or 3 feet tall, bearing fab looking fruit. And if you grow them in pots you can take them with you when you move.