Tuesday Trees – Apfeln

Or Apples for you non-German speakers.   Twenty five years ago Mi Esposo got orders to Stuttgart, Germany and we moved there with two small boys right before winter set in.   I remember eating fresh, crisp apples at our twice-a-week outdoor market while the kids ate their hot, soft pretzels – good times!   This time of year always takes me back to those great years and simpler times.

So, to get back to our Tuesday Trees, I am excited to say that I am harvesting apples now from my Fuji tree.   I was in the garden yesterday morning and ate an apple right off the tree.  The shine comes from a little buffing on my t-shirt.  It was so juicy I was not a very neat eater!

You, too, can grow apples, even on the coast.  Coastal areas have 100-300 chill hours so it’s very important to make sure to choose a variety that is low-chill or you’ll never get fruit.   If I were to do it again, I would probably plant all Fujis.  The taste and crispness are perfect for me.  I don’t have a lot of room on my property so I planted my tree on the fence and am keeping it  trimmed to espalier.  At least that’s what I’m trying to do, but I’m not doing a very tidy job of it.   Despite my learning curve, the tree is thriving and I’m getting apples so all is not lost.

The  apple (Malus domestica) is a member of Rosaceae, the rose family.  January through March is the ideal time to plant apples in their bare-root stage.   Plant where they will get good good drainage and full sun.  Nitrogen and zinc are two of the most important nutrients to supply apple trees. Fertilizing twice per year, once in the spring and again in the fall, will keep your apple tree vigorous.  Glückliche Gartenarbeit!

 

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Thin It Out – Part II

I sat down to leaf through my gardening magazines and came across an article in the June/July 2010 issue of ‘Organic Gardening’ magazine about fruit thinning that shed more light on my rather vague post of a few days ago.

The article talks about apple tree thinning in particular. The natural fruit drops that occurs as an apple tree sheds excess fruit as a natural thinning process that is normal for apple trees. The more fruit a tree brings to fully ripe and ready to be picked, the more energy the tree is expending on developing the fruit and keeping the tree healthy. If a tree has a particularly heavy crop one year, it is less likely to bear so much fruit the next. Even with the natural fruit drop it is usually helpful to do more selective thinning of little apples (the article says the size of a dime) to promote a better crop.

So, how to thin…. The article says to start with diseased or deformed apples first, then identify the largest apple in the cluster and remove the other apples around it. The rule of them is to have the apples spaced approximately six inches apart along the limb.

I was glad to find this information and, in retrospect, it makes total sense.

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