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Harvesting apples and pears at RHS Garden Wisley - Jim Arbury

Posted by Sara Draycott on 02 Oct 2013 at 04:33 PM

We are now in the middle of harvest for apples and pears. Harvest is about 10 days later than in recent years due to later than average spring. It is an excellent harvest with fruit trees cropping well in orchards and gardens and the roadside seedling trees all appear to be cropping heavily. Roadside trees are often growing by bus stops or sections of road where there are often traffic jams and cores have been thrown from car windows.


I have been busy with fruit identification on certain days at Wisley and also at Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor. On Sunday 6th I will be fruit naming at Rosemoor apple day. If you have any apples or pears that you would like to know the name of bring along three good specimens and I another member of the panel will try and identify it for you. Many that I receive are quite common but some more unusual including a Stubbard received in Devon and a Scotch Bridget and a Golden Spire received in Yorkshire. The quality of fruit is good with good colour and flavour. This has been due to good light levels and temperatures. The colour is enhanced by cool nights with a dew and sunny days.


At the moment second early apples and mid-season apples are tasting good including Saint Edmunds Pippin (an early russet), Ellison’s Orange (this has a taste of aniseed), Lord Lambourne and King of the Pippins. We are just starting to pick apples which need to be stored for a while to develop flavour and lose acidity. At Wisley with have a small cold store set at 4 C. If you are storing them at home a cool dark frost free (and mouse free) shed or garage is best. If it is in the shade this is good as there will be less temperature fluctuation. Only store sound fruit using damaged fruit first. This a wonderful but busy time in an orchard and the end of the fruiting year.

Before long my thoughts will turn to pruning, planting and preparations for the next year... In the meantime, come and enjoy the orchard (maybe take part in our Pick-your-Own on Fridays) and look out for special events around out Taste of Autumn Festival 16 - 20 October 2013.


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