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Talkback: Apple harvest

I tried growing three varieties of Minarettes this year from Ken Muir, but must say that I wasn't thrilled with the success. You mentioned that your young tree only produced two this normal for their first year in the ground? I had the graft fail on one minarette (happens, I know) and only one apple on another, but the third 'Greensleeves' seems to have done remarkably well which perplexed me further. I assumed that all three would produce gloriously given the number of blooms in spring. All three same pollination group.Is the mild success normal for first year production? Thanks for help and advice.


  • Our apple crop has been poor this year but luckily a friend has had a bumper crop and has let us pick lots from his garden. But we have had an amazing crop of quince vranja and I'm going to have a busy time making quince jelly and membrillo.
  • Reply to Nathan ... do be patient. Young trees often don't fruit well, despite carrying flowers.My new apple tree behaved in exactly the same way. I would expect fruiting to improve as the tree established and gets stronger.

    Also remember that just because a fruit tree produces flowers these may not set any fruit. Bees need to be active for pollination to take place, and bee populations have declined in many areas.

    As always in gardening, there's always next year, so I'm hoping for a better crop, like you. The one thing I'd recommend is sprinkling some sulphate of potash plant feed round the base of all fruit trees and bushes in Feb/March to support better flowering and fruiting.

  • Last week as well as showing us your slatted wooden box for storing apples you also said that we could store them in plastic bags, Would you please repeat this advice as we have just picked 90 Coxes to put by for the next few months and plastic bags seem to be a better bet than wooden boxes we do not have.
  • Reply to Rondad ... If you watched Gardeners' World last Friday 3rd then you would have seen Toby Buckland storing apples in clear polythene sandwich bags (the programme is still available to view on iplayer for a few more days).

    Basically, only store firm, sound and undamaged fruits. Place batches of 4-8 or so apples in each polythene bag. Seal the top, but make a few small pin-prick holes in each bag to allow gases to pass through. Store in a cool place, and check regularly for signs of rot.

    Keeping apples in bags like this prevents them losing moisture and turning soft.

    However, remember than not all apples have a long storage life. Some must be eaten fresh, and won't store, while others will keep under the right conditions for several months.Check your variety to see if yours will keep or not.

  • I'm glad to hear your spartans fruited well, we have several apple trees and all were laden with fruit this year, but spartan was the poorest, and it too is my favourite apple. The blackbirds ate our cherries too and the pigeons the blossom on the plum tree
  • Please could you tell me why I this year had a few rottern apples on my Sparten tree. My tree is small but I had a very good crop. Thanks.
  • Reply to Terry: The very wet weather during August and September probably caused rotting to start. Brown rot is quite common on apples, and often starts when apples get damaged due to insects or bird activity. Some fruits may rot on the tree, but damaged fruits often start rotting once picked and stored so check fruits in store regularly to remove any showing signs of rot before it spreads.
  • I had the identical problems with plums.
    Virtually none
    Someone said it may be down to the heavy snowfall the country received for 24hrs ,if one recalls .
    But my Braeburns,and Beauty Of Baths thrived.
  • We have two huge apple trees which without any care give us an enormous crop every year. Unfortunately they are too high to harvest and the squirrels and birds spend hours biting through the stalks so that they drop and bruise. These apples are then eaten by the local foxes. Pity we never get an apple pie out of it!
  • I live with people who have a tree with what they call 'ornamental crab apples' on it - yellow - hundreds of them. They say they can't be used for jelly as they are ornamental, not for consuming...... is this true?
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