September is the start of autumn – if you are guided by the meteorological calendar as opposed to the astronomical one. So we are now in full harvest mode both in the Kitchen Garden and with the apples. Courgettes are turning into marrows the minute I turn my back and the beans, greens and beetroot are all huge. We have a lovely range of tomatoes coming out of the Salad House; my favourite being Citrina a lemon-yellow tomato shaped rather charmingly like a lemon!
But it is the apples that are taking most of our attention as there are so many of them. It has been a bumper crop in a bumper year. Amazingly when the trees were in blossom there was no frost so the trees became laden with fruit. The very hot summer led to a massive June drop as the trees realised they couldn’t hang on to so many fruit in such a dry season.
But still they are laden and we are propping up branches all over the Garden to stop them from breaking under the weight of fruit. We are harvesting them constantly for juicing and for sale. So if you fancy trying something different come and buy some apples from us.
We have over a hundred trees here and nearly as many varieties ranging from New Bess Pool to Lane’s Prince Albert: Catshead to Dogsnout and Worcester Pearmain to Laxton’s Superb. They all taste and look different. I grew up when the choice in the supermarket was Golden Delicious or Granny Smith. I had no idea that apples could be anything from palest yellow to deepest burgundy with pretty much every variation between and as many different flavours and textures, Egremont Russet anyone? Did you know that the Bramley apple is so popular because it is a heavy cropper with big fruit that cooks and stores well. But there are dozens of other good cookers you don’t see in the supermarket because they don’t keep as well or bruise easily or any number of other reasons that don’t make them viable for commercial growers. There is so much choice in Britain when it comes to apples so it is understandable but a real shame.
However, you can see and try some of them here at the Garden on Saturday 20th October when we will be celebrating all things apple at our annual Apple Day. As well as opportunities to taste apples, we will be running juicing demonstrations with tasting running alongside. There will be apple fact and apple quiz trails for children as well as apple bobbing. If you are inspired to have an apple tree in your garden you can also look at the different ways to grow and train a tree here. From espalier to step over, from free growing to cordon you can see that however small your space you can train an apple to fit it. Enjoy the fruits of the season and hopefully we’ll see you soon.
Tricia Harris September 2018