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Bobbing for home grown apples

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Oct 16, 2015
With Halloween just around the corner thoughts will be turning to witches and ghouls and of course to apples

With Halloween just around the corner thoughts will be turning to witches and ghouls and of course to apples. Some of my best memories of Halloween revolve around apples be it bobbing for them in basins of water or munching into toffee or chocolate coated apples.

As any gardener who grows their own apples will tell you, the flavour of an apple picked from your own garden can never compare to a shop bought one. Luckily for gardeners who do not have their own apple trees yet now is the perfect time to plant some.

At the moment in CountryLife we have a great selection of Irish grown apples trees to choose from. Keen bakers or just keen dessert lovers can never go wrong with a bramley apple tree in their garden. The deep green apples are some of the best for cooking with be it in a sweet treat or savoury chutney.

My own personal favourite has to be Cox’s Orange apple. In the grand scheme of apples these are a lovely small crisp apple that is full of sweetness. My own personal favourite has to be Cox’s Orange apple. In the grand scheme of apples these are a lovely small crisp apple that is full of sweetness. I think these are a great apple for children because of their size. They seem to be just the right size for kids and don’t leave you having to dispose of a half-eaten apple when they get feed up with it.

Just as you can get early and late flowering plants in the garden, you can get early and late ripening apples. One of the best early ripening apples in my eyes is Discovery. This is one of the first apples to be ready to pick in early September. Discovery has an interesting colour pattern with the side facing the sun turning rosy red and the underside maintaining a tinge of green, even when ripe.

Discovery is one apple however that does not store well and should be eaten nearly as soon as it is picked to enjoy it at its best. For many other apples though you can pick them and store them for a number of weeks to enjoy your bounty well into winter. The best way to store them is to wash and dry them carefully and then wrap each apple individually in newspaper and storing in a cool dry space.

In Spring we will look more closely at apple tree care but in terms of planting there are a few things to keep in mind. Apple trees have very shallow roots and because of this they will need to be staked for their lifespan. When you are planting the tree it is a good idea to work in some well-rotted manure to give the tree a good start. It is best to plant apple trees in full sun but in a slightly sheltered area where they will not be battered by direct winds.

Written by Malachy

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Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

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