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Planting apple trees with the children

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 01 Mar 2010 at 02:45 PM

I got very excited about some sticks this weekend.  Admittedly these sticks have roots and I'm faithfully promised they will, one day, produce fruit, but they also seem to look remarkably like... sticks.

If I seemed a little unconvinced, the children were downright incredulous.  It didn't help that the nine fruit trees were delivered in one single, slim and very long parcel that, if we were playing the 'guess what's in there' game would have been pegged as a fishing rod or even stilts but never nine fruit trees.

This is because we have bought maiden whips, which sounds like something used in Cynthia Payne's establishment, but basically means a one year old tree with no side shoots.  Still, if the 'sticks' lacked a certain 'wow' factor, at least the names conjured up more excitement.  The roll call for our mini orchard goes as follows:

Rosemary Russet

Peasgood Nonsuch


Adams Pearmain

Beauty of Bath


Tom Putt

Majorie Seedling


The first seven are apples, the last two plums and choosing them was one of the most pathetic exercises in indecisiveness I've ever undertaken.  I spent evening after evening reading about all the different varieties, working out how I could get the longest season of fruit, choosing some for their early arrivals, others for their storage ability, ensuring I had a cooker (Monarch) as well as desert apples and then, of course, making certain I had enough overlap that the trees would cross-pollinate.  In fact, by the time I got my order in to Adam's Apples, it was January 2009, they had sold out and so I've only just taken delivery of the trees, 13 months later.

The kids had no such problems in choosing which were to grace their gardens. They wanted apples rather than plums because "you can't eat plums" (I know, I know, I am trying to educate them...).  Ava chose Beauty of Bath because "it sounds pretty and it's pink", Oscar went for Peasgood Nonsuch - or Peasgood Nonsense as he's renamed it - and although I'm not sure on the reasons for his choice,  I've learnt that sometimes it's best not to ask.

So we planted our 'sticks' and I have also been around and pruned them.  This sounds a very grand term for what is essentially lopping off the tops about 80cm from the ground, but this sends a signal to the tree to produce side shoots which I'm all in favour of - makes them look less stick-like for starters.

The only trouble is, we now have to wait two to three years for the first fruit and about five years for them to produce a full crop. I told Oscar he would probably be seven before he tasted his first apple from the tree. 


He walked off in disgust undoubtedly thinking that stilts or a fishing rod would have been a whole lot more use.


EvaInNL said:

Dawn keep up the good work with involving  the children in the gardening! I love your creative ideas, keep 'em coming please! But I'm with Oscar, 3 years is way too long! :o)

on 03 Mar 2010 at 08:07 AM

Dawn Isaac said:

I think I'm even with Oscar on that one - I think I may have even less patience than my children!

on 03 Mar 2010 at 11:21 AM

Miranda Hodgson said:

What a lovely selection of fruit trees. You'll be more than ready by the time they fruit - hope they thrive for you!

on 03 Mar 2010 at 04:12 PM

Dawn Isaac said:

Thanks Miranda!

on 03 Mar 2010 at 05:29 PM

Jen said:

Hope all goes well, im sure it will be one of those moments they remember as they grow up along with the trees. How wonderful.

on 04 Mar 2010 at 05:49 PM

Dawn Isaac said:

Yes Jen, I'm hoping they'll remember this momemnt more than they remember me yelling at them to tidy their rooms!

on 05 Mar 2010 at 11:30 AM