Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Work continues on web site rebuild

Our Apple Day event is past, I have pressed most of the cider I am going to press this year, and I am finding a little time to slowly rebuild the http://www.fruitwise.net/ web site. The new Yahoo web builder is reasonably easy to use. I am concentrating on putting back up most of the old informative content with little editing, not least to help folks who are thinking about planting trees this coming planting season. I have just put up sections on varieties, pest and diseases, and brief notes on grafting. These, and my notes on pruning, have been largely superceded by my YouTube http://www.youtube.com/stephenhayesuk videos, which have now received over 420,000 views. Its now of course much easier to blend all these elements all but seamlessly. I'll work on it, and also add as many related links as I can.
As I have said before, I share from the heart and mind but I'm still only an enthusiastic amateur and my word isn't Gospel-check out what I've written, and check out whatever else you can find before deciding what to plant.
If you are after planting West Country style cider apples, and a lot of people are this year, Dabinett is the 'nobody got fired for buying' favourite, a regular cropper and compact tree which has a fairly strong bitter sweet juice, as does its cousin Harry Master's Jersey, and these 2 must be the first choices for the beginner who wants to make some 'proper zider'. I advise beginenrs to avoid the famously delectable but very fickle growing cider apple Kingston Black, for the same reason I would avoid Cox's Orange Pippin as a dessert apple-great quality, but very difficult to grow and crop reliably. But do consider other apples such as the lovely Yarlington Mill. It doesn't crop every single year, but see the picture of the back of my mate Jez's car taken in the orchard yesterday (he ran out of boxes!). That is about half the crop from ONE TREE. Admittedly a 20 year old big spreading tree, and it didn't crop at all last year, but WHAT A GENEROUS TREE! Great medium bittersweet cider variety which will enhance any cider.


  1. I agree with the last paragraph wholeheartedly: I work in a tree nursery and some of our customers from a few years back have come back to us and shared their troubles with Kingston Black. You've reminded me to update our page on it (when I can get access to the ruddy thing!)

    I would have thought that Yarlington Mill's biennial tendency could be smoothed a bit by a good thinning in a bumper year: does your friend Jez have experience of that?

  2. Found your video summer pruning, very, very helpful - gave confidence to do what seemed obviously needed but not what I'd perceived to be allowed. many thanks for the effort you put into the teaching.

  3. Happy New Year all! you folks have been an inspiration for me. I am establishing an orchard in southern Maine US, and although we dont share a lot of types of apples the approachs that you show; grafting, pruning, planting etc. have been extremely helpful. I have been mixing it up with the types of fruit and have about 8 types that will broaden the harvest. Here we have a very cold zone with poor quality soils, so we do are best. Maybe I have missed but do you keep bees? We had a killer late frost and knocked down most bees while trees were in bloom. A tough year. I am thinmking of bringing some hives to keep the bees more local.

    The Wassail looks like a great party and I am going to try to bring it over here in some form. Maybe a Fall Fstival? Lobster, cider, venison and such. Thanks again and keep up the great work! Chris Z.


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 http://www.fruitwise.net 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.