Friday, 16 October 2009

Apple Day

Julia trying to identify an apple using one of our books.
Right now I am trying to stress down after much too busy a day in too busy a month in too busy a year, and prepare myself mentally for our Apple Day tomorow. Julia's Mum has come doewn from Essex for a few days and is helping Julia make some apple cakes. I think I am going to ignore the fact that my diet has gone to pot after some considerable success this year and go pour a pint of new season's cider.
Hope to see some of you at Durley Memorial Hall tomorrow between 10.30 (note later start, we cannot get the hall ready by 10.00) and 15.00. We are allowed to sell cider there is a licence and I have got some cloudy but fresh and good new season cider, a full 3 weeks before the Beaujolais Nouveau and probably better tasting. I will be there with my books and will attempt to identifty apples. I don't charge for this as I am so bad at it! Well, we only grow 60 or so apple varieties, there are another 2,000 or so known in England, and despite the advice of myself and others who know something, people will continue to grow apples from pips.
Sowing pips from selected apples to try to raise new disease resistant or otherwise worthy new varieties as aprt of a research programme is a very good thing, but sowing a pip in your garden or a pot to try to raise an apple from seed is a TERRIBLE idea. It will almost never give you a new apple worth having, and by the time you realise you have raised a sour, boring, green apple which doesn't crop well and grows too small or too big to be practical, you will have invested 5 years or so of hope and care and just won't want to believe the harsh truth that your new apple variety is worthless. And then you move house, and someone finds the apple in your garden and tries to get it identified and of course nobody can put a name to it as its a nameless new variety. Don't do it, it's MUCH better to spend a few pounds at a nursery and help keep a tried and tested worthy old variety going.
Happy Apple Day (it's actually 21st October but mostly people celebrate it on any Saturday from mid September to mid November). And ours is tomorrow. Well, it is if you read this in the next few hours, otherwise it'll be the day before yesterday or whatever. Another event this weekend is at Burley (not to be confused with Durley) where there is a cider event at New Forest Cider, you can find them easily enough on Google. I might possibly be there on Sunday afternoon, my mate Jez and a few others from the cider workshop will be there tomorrow.


  1. In case you want a back up .

    I'm glad I found your blog

  2. What a lovely photo of a thankless task. I was chatting to a customer recently - he owns an orchard of about 50 apple trees where almost every tree is different - 2 of each kind at most. He would occasionally boast that he could always tell the fruit apart - no great feat, perhaps, since he would tend them all year and pick them himself. Last year, he slipped a disk in his back and was wheelchair and bed bound for several months. His daughter took over orchard duties for the season and for the fun of it, they agreed to test his knowledge of his trees.
    Before tasting, he got well under half of them right. With tasting, it was about even - as one would expect from a pure guess!

    As you well know, the apples on the sunny side of a tree can be quite different from those on the shady side - not to mention the difference from one year to the next is the weather is out of sorts. Trying to name an apple tree from a book is, as my grandmother would say "one way to pass the time, dear."

    Did you find out what it was? ;)

  3. Hi,

    I liked your videos of how to graft apple trees, I have taken plunge and bought some root stock and am having a go.

    The reason for this is as follows:

    When we moved to our new house we brought a plant in a pot with us. We didn't know what the plant was as my daughter who was about 9 years old at the time had planted various pips in the pot. I was all for throwing the plant away but my daughter insisted we take it and plant it in our new garden. To please my daughter I planted it just anywhere.

    It was in fact an apple tree and it has just started to produce apples. They look like a russet and have the same consistency as a Russet. The flavour is something between a Russet and a Coxes orange pippin. They are fairly ugly and have very regular 'bumps' all over them. They are delicious and very sweet. The ripen towards the end of August and I kepy one in the fridge for 4-5 weeks without deterioration.

    I hope the grafts take as the new root stock is in a favourable part of the garden.

    I still have some cuttings of last year's new wood in a fridge.

    I live in Essex.

    My email address is

    All the best with your orchard, you inspired me to do some grafting.

    BTW I am a Christian too - I go to Chelmsford Cathedral


Welcome to the Fruitwise Heritage Apples blog. Feel free to leave a comment, I will try to respond where appropriate but FAQs may have been already addressed in my YouTube videos or the site. Remember, I am not a professional fruit grower, only an enthusiastic experienced amateur. Any and all advice is offered freely and with sincere good faith, but remember I might be mistaken, and my preferences,
soil and climate may be different from yours which would diminish the relevance of my advice, so check other sources before acting. In any event, I am not responsible for any outcomes!

Kind regards to all.